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To hate my job and the way it makes me feel like I'm invisible

(20 Posts)
PumpkinPatty Tue 14-Oct-08 11:02:08

I've been back at work since MArch after taking 9 months mat leave. And I'm getting increasingly angry about how I'm being treated since I got back

When I returned I literally had no work to do - my workload was handed over to someone else when I went off, and it wasn't returned to me on my return. So I had nothing to do, and despite me constantly asking my line manager for work this didn't improve until I made a proper complaint to the head of my department.

I went back to work part time, 5 afternoons a week. I felt this was best for DD as I was still breastfeeding and I didn't want her to spend long hours in nursery at such a young age. Work told me they were fine with me doing these hours.

However, I received quite a few nasty comments from people in work about my part time hours - in fact most of these comments were from people senior to me. THey weren't obvious insults, but quite sneaky digs, but digs all the same.

Eventually I changed my hours - I now work three days a week.

The final thing that has really annoyed me is that I'm being totally overlooked for promotion. An opportunity for promotion came up recently and I expressed an interest in it but was told I wouldn't be considered because I only work part time, even though they can't discriminate against someone for that (the manager even admitted this to me). The person who got the post started her job when I was on mat leave and has significantly less experience than me. In fact most people who have been there the same amount of time as me or even less time have been promoted now

I consider myself to be good at my job, I'm well qualified and have been in this job for 6 years so have loads of experience. I feel like I'm invisible and that no one takes me seriously.

Am I right to feel annoyed by all this?

Witchka Tue 14-Oct-08 11:06:21

Too right you are right to feel annoyed. YANBU!

asicsgirl Tue 14-Oct-08 11:09:49

YANBU. are you in the union? if you left yr job because of this it could be seen as constructive dismissal.

Rindercella Tue 14-Oct-08 11:38:14

YANBU. It sounds like a horrible and frustrating environment to be working in. If I were you, I would repost this in the employment topic to see if there are some connstructive things you can do to improve the situation. Good luck

mayorquimby Tue 14-Oct-08 13:14:05

i know i'll get flamed for this but i do think yabu about certain aspects, you certainly ANBU about the sly digs/nasty comments. you have made your choices as to what are your priorities and that is fair enough but you can't expect the company to bend over backwards to cater to you. when you were on maternity leave your work load had to be reassigned due to your absence.to just immediately hand it straight back to you would have probably been a bad business move as the people it had been reassigned to would be now more up to date and involved in the work especially if it involved on going relationships with clients.so i think you will have to be patient and realistic about the importance of the jobs and amount of work that will be assigned to you now that you are working 3 days a week as compared to when you were working full time.

i think the only mistake they made with the prmotion was being so honest so if i was you i would take that up with your union or whatever relevant discipline body as if they are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of you being pt then they should be taken to task for that. if i had been them i would have let you apply etc but honestly if you were running a business who would you view as the ideal candidate for promotion.someone who works part time or someone who is committed to the company full-time? but don't let that affect your rights,they discriminated so take it all the way.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 13:21:46

Well I won't flame you mayorquimby - I think you make a fair point.

the sly and nasty comments are definitely out of order - and shouldn't be happening.

The promotion issue is more complex... yes, on the one hand they shouldn't discriminate about you being part time, but if the promotion is actually more suited to a full time post, then they have every right to make that choice. the fact that the other candidate has less experience is irrelevant - she may be what they want. They definitely messed up if they gave the impression that the promotion could have been done just as effectively on a part time basis and that they discriminated against you.

Ultimately, if you choose to reduce your hours, then you are making a statement about a shift in your priorities - that's not a judgement, it's simply a fact. You don't want to work full time, so you have to accept the fact that this might mean your new job isnt exactly how you want it to be.

porkypoo Tue 14-Oct-08 13:26:37

mayorquimby we can still be a committed part-time employees. I work part time until 3pm everyday and I am as committed, if not more committed than full timers. I think that you are being treated unfairly PumkinPatty. Unfortunately the more you create about this situation the more backs you will put up. So I would get your head down for a while and try for promotion again once you are settled and have proved your worth. Its such a shame that companies cannot see the benefit in employing/promoting part time people. Good luck

blueshoes Tue 14-Oct-08 13:28:12

mayorgrumpy, I would not put it as harshly as you. The only thing I would agree is that from an employer's point of view, a pt worker is not the first choice for a promotion and rightly or wrongly career stalling often comes with the territory.

But so long as your employer accepted your application to work pt (whether it be all afternoons or 3 days a week), they have to have satisfied themselves that you will have a job for those hours. That means handing part of your workload back - 9 months is more than enough for a decent phasing out and handover. It happens all the time at much shorter notice so business inconvenience is no excuse.

If you are not being properly utilised during your working hours, that is terribly demoralising. Do discuss with an employment lawyer whether there can be a case for constructive dismissal or sexual discrimination, though it would mean a battle in the employment tribunal.

Before you get there, you have to exhaust all grievance procedures within your company in any case. Pumpkin, do you have an HR department you can discuss this with, seeing your line manager is not taking you seriously and probably has the flimsiest knowledge of employment law at best.

CapricaSix Tue 14-Oct-08 13:31:47

I work 3 days a week and wasn't considered for a (kind of) promotion, and tbh I fully accepted it - the role involved needed to be full time. Wouldn't like to go into details here. However, I do have other extra responsibilities/roles that I can do here so I didn't see it as discrimination, just a practical matter.

The digs are something else though! Never get any of those, other than perhaps a little envy from some full-timers!

blueshoes Tue 14-Oct-08 13:31:48

But porkypoo, it doesn't sound like pumpkin is even being given work at all, much less prove herself. Along with the snidey remarks from senior managers, that is very damaging and not a case for keeping her her head down.

mayorquimby Tue 14-Oct-08 13:35:03

"mayorquimby we can still be a committed part-time employees. I work part time until 3pm everyday and I am as committed, if not more committed than full timers"

no i accept that and didn't mean to imply that pt workers weren't committed or didn't care.and without more knowledge of the job/role in the company we are all working based on our own assumptions.i didn't mean committed in a work ethic sense i was just talking in the sense of presence in the office/hours work they had made a commitment to be there more not that their attitude to the work was more committed. And if the promotion is a role that is more suited to full-time hours then i think pt workers have to be realistic.similar with the amout of work load they expect. i know in my job if i went pt then the data imput side of my job would probably remain largely the same as it is not often on a strict deadline but my involvment with clients and taking the lead role on individual cases or projects would pretty much dry up and i would be back in a supporting role rather than a leading role simply by virtue of the fact that clients expect to be able to contact the person who is dealing with their file during regular business hours and getting things done as quickly as possible is an absolute imperative that i would simply physically not be able to do as well as someone full-time by virtue of being in a pt role.

sorry that went on for ages.i was just trying to illustrate my point that without knowing the type of work involved it is impossible to make a fully informed judgment

blueshoes Tue 14-Oct-08 13:43:31

mayorquimby, agree that certain roles don't tend to lend themselves to flexible working, ie client-facing roles you described and certain management roles. I went pt and changed roles at the same time to get out of client-facing work. To grant pumpkin's flexible working application, her employer must have made the decision that her role in some shape or form CAN be done during the hours she is working. So it is no justification for freezing her out cold completely (not that you said her employers are justified). As regards promotion however, a ft time employee will in most cases have the upper hand.

Pumpkin, the next time someone makes a dig at your hours, note the day, time and who said it and in what context. Maybe even ask nicely what they mean and record the response. All that is good grist for the litigation mill - and could prompt a change in attitude, a quick settlement or a good day in court for you, once your situation gets exposed to scrutiny.

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 13:44:17

I think you explained it very eloquently mayor!

I would never suggest that because someone is part time, they are less committed. Commitment to the job is more about an attitude of mind, it doesn't have to equate to a number of hours worked. You can do job brilliantly on 3 days a week - and equally, someone who isn't that great at their job might do it not very well for 5 days a week!

But all other things being equal, if someone who is good at their job is there full time, and someone equally good is there part time, there are likely to be situations where the full timer is more able to fulfil certain aspects of the job. And the reality can be that these are the more interesting aspects of the job - such as direct contact with clients, or managing a team. I worked part time when my children were tiny - and tbh my job wasn't as fulfilling, because I wasn't able to do the management aspect of it. That needed to be done by a full timer. Once my children were in school, I went back full time, mainly to get the benefits of the more interesting aspects of the job.

MrsMattie Tue 14-Oct-08 13:47:23

YANBU. The law backs you up. Start writing everything down - detailed notes if possible - of what happens to make you feel bad (no matter how insignificant). Schedule in a chat with someone from your HR dept. Talk to your Union rep.

porkypoo Tue 14-Oct-08 13:50:02

mayorquimby i think i may have misinterpretted what you were trying to say. In my opinion it is all very dependant on the type of employer you have. We have account managers that work part-time. Customers are aware of when the Account manager is contactable. It all depends on whether they WANT to employ part time people or if it is too much hassle. I am a great beleiver in the saying where theres a will theres way!
Pumpkinpatty I wish you luck from one part timer to another! smile

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 14:01:10

As someone who has responsibility for employing people, porky, I'd say that most employers want the best person for the job. Why would we shoot ourselves in the foot by employing someone inferior just because they can work full time?

It all depends on the job, and the exact details of it, of course. But the reality is that some aspects of a job cannot be done as effectively by someone who is working reduced hours. (And in many jobs the 'contactable' bit is irrelevant - the whole point of someone cutting back their hours is so that they don't have to be available full time).

I'm all for people working part time if it suits the employer, but the reality is that many of the more challenging and interesting aspects of some jobs are better done by full timers.

PumpkinPatty Tue 14-Oct-08 20:13:14

Thanks for your replies everyone, I've only just had chance to get back online.

mayorquimby I understand what you are saying, however I would have to say I don't agree with everything you say.

I work in a large department in Local Government. I've worked there for 6 years and was full time for most of this and will eventually go back to working full time when my DD is older. My department have spent a lot of money training me and I have a lot of experience working in my role. I WAS happy working in this department was intending to say here long term.

However, the way things are going at the moment I am tempted to get another job asap. The department will lose an experienced and commited member of staff, and of course if they treat other people like this they will lose them too. That doesn't make much business sense to me.

I don't think complaining to the union (which I'm not part of anyway) or to HR will be useful - I think it will just annoy my managers and create a bad environment at work.

I don't really feel there is very much I can do about it right now. If anyone has any other advice or has been in a similar situation I'd be grateful to hear it...

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 20:21:22

I would join a Union and seek advice - and also go to HR as well. As long as you go through the processes professionally, there shouldn't be any bad feeling.

If you are feeling really hacked off about it, then moving may be your best bet.

As someone with responsibility for employing people, the only thing I would say (and please don't take this as patronising) is that when you are the employer you do see things that as an employee you just don't. You do see the bigger picture. I've had people who work part time and really don't understand why they can't fulfil certain roles. They want them, they want to do particular jobs, but on a part time basis, and sometimes that conflicts with what the company wants. Believe me, most employers want the best person for the job - they are not going to want to make decisions which aren't good business sense, and in many cases they are happy to employ part timers because if a job CAN be done part time, you'd be mad to pay a full timer to do it!

scaryteacher Tue 14-Oct-08 21:40:17

I went back on a job share to a busy local govt dept after mat leave in the 90s, and to my dismay found that the stuff on my desk was the same as when I'd gone on mat leave six months earlier!

Hang in there - take advantage of the part time and enjoy the time with your dd, and decide what you really want to do. I did the job share for 4.5 years, until I decided that I didn't see myself staying in Local Government Finance until I was 60 without losing my sanity, so I left to retrain as a teacher when ds was 5.

Look at it this way; the salary is presumably OK; the pension (if not in an Icelandic bank) should be secure; you have time with dd; you have time to decide what your next move is; and as she gets older you can do what I did, which was to change from 3 days working, 2 days not; to doing my hours over 5 days a week and building up flexi to take time off when needed. In fact, I think my job sharer got promoted to my grade f/t, not just for 2 days a week, and so my hours were upped to 30 a week, over 5 days and I could work longer if I wanted and could achieve a f/t job on p/t hours (standard week 37.5). This also fitted in with school days, so I didn't have to pay after care fees. Bargain!

findtheriver Tue 14-Oct-08 21:56:19

That's good advice from Scaryteacher. Make it work for you! Presumably you don't want to work full time, so accept the fact that you're part time, yes it's less money but that's because you're doing part time! So take your time off - don't end up doing a full time job on part time pay - i've seen people make that mistake before! And if and when you feel able to cope with something more challenging, look around for it. If it means moving so be it. It's a shame when you feel you've been with an organisation for a while, and it's tempting to feel that they 'owe' you something, but tbh, the world of work doesn't operate like that.

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