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Work troubles - any advice welcome (or just a shoulder to cry on)

(7 Posts)
queribus Mon 06-Jun-11 19:04:45

I'll try to keep this short.

Since I returned to work from maternity leave in 2009 I feel I have been undermined and side-lined to such an extent that I have nothing to do at work. I have told my manager on several occasions, but other than a few sympathetic noises, nothing has been done.

My confidence is shot to pieces and I spend a lot of time in tears (at home, not work). However, today I broke down in the HR officer's office after reading an email from my manager. Basically, he's undermined what little work I have left to very senior management and implied that my part-time status is negatively affecting the rest of the team.

I am stressed, tearful and unable to sleep a lot of the time. I dread going to work and all this is now affecting my home life. I spend most of my time worrying about work and trying to find ways to get through each day.

I emailed him earlier today and explained why I'm upset about the impression he's given to senior managers and asked to discuss tomorrow. I'm afraid I will cry which cannot be allowed to happen. During discussions with HR today I admitted to feeling very stressed and upset and that I was struggling to get into work. To be honest, she wasn't too helpful and just advised me to either speak to the next manager up or take out a grievance.

I feel so defeated by it all - I used to enjoy my job and where I worked. I just want to go to work, do something meaningful and be able to enjoy it. I feel such a mess.

Any advice?

coffeewhitenosugar Mon 06-Jun-11 20:24:54

Hi, you poor thing, it sounds a bit like where I used to work - do you have a union? If so I would contact the rep straight away, otherwise try the Citizens Advice Bureau - they should know who you could speak to - you need to know your legal rights. Sorry I cant be more help and I hope this turns out well for you.

queribus Mon 06-Jun-11 20:41:45

Thanks for replying smile

I'm not in the union, but think I'm going to join asap.

Sin30 Mon 06-Jun-11 23:07:01

Sorry to hear you are so (understandably) stressed by the horrible work situation.

Do you think there could be a discrimination element? Looks that way (to my untrained eye). Might be a good idea to start keeping a diary of anything you percieve to be undermining or causing a detriment. This could include being set unreasonable tasks (set up to fail) or having meaningful work taken away without good cause. Write the date, details of any incidents and name of anyone who might be around to see/hear, how it made you feel etc. You could also log anything that has already happened (as an aide memoire). Keep copies of any emails etc that you send in reference to your opening post and any responses recieved. Having a word hasn't gotten you anywhere, sadly, so perhaps best to make any future requests by email, so you will have a paper trail, showing you have been making an effort to work but are being held back/side lined.

It beggars belief that you got no support from HR, you expressly informed them that you are under stress and that the work(place) is the cause. You are owed a duty of care under the relevant Health & Safety legislation - it is now (or should be anyway) up to the company to help you manage your stress, now that they are aware. This is something you might also want to put in an email.

I know what it's like, having that heavy feeling of dread, knowing you're going into an environment like that. Stress is so damaging!

bluejeans Mon 06-Jun-11 23:18:01

I had a similar thing happen to me when I returned from mat leave (several years ago!) It was assumed by my boss that I would want no responsibility, so instead of returning to a role similar to my pre-maternity one, I had little to do and was constantly patronised by my boss. It was like a different job.

It's extreme but a year later I ended up moving to a different company where I was greeted with open arms as an experienced professional and never once treated as a mum with a little part time job.

Realise this may not be an option for you but it was definitely the right thing for me.

Not sure this post is helpful if this would not be an option for you but wanted you to know that you're not alone and I know how you feel. Hope it works out and good luck.

queribus Tue 07-Jun-11 17:25:48

Thanks for replying.

I spoke, at length, with my manager today (without crying!) and explained how I felt and that I would like in invoke the organisation's stress management policy i.e. they have to do something.

I think he was really shocked which is pretty poor in itself. Anyway, I can only wait to see if things get better, but at least there is a policy to follow so I know what should be happening now.

I would move if I could but jobs are very scarce at the moment and I work very flexibly (part-time, term-time) - but I think this is part of the issue. I really think lots of managers resent my working arrangements and I know I wasn't expected to return from maternity leave.

I have kept records of most conversations over the past couple of years (I have a thick file!!) and do put most stuff in writing so I've got proof of requests, but it's all so exhausting.

Thanks for the advice.

BerylStreep Tue 07-Jun-11 17:43:24

OP, well done for speaking with your manager. Perhaps a follow up e-mail stating that you would welcome more responsibility, and could you perhaps have a further conversation to agree on areas of work / projects, specific targets?

I think something like this would make you sound more assertive (sorry, no offence, but I know things like this can grind you down), and keen to explore solutions positively.

As a pt worker in a predominantly male organisation, I know how you feel. I am given the impression that I am not pulling my weight, excluded from meetings, not advised of important developments etc. I have become so cynical I don't really give a toss now, although it pissed me off a lot more in the past.

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