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paranoid i'm going to be managed out

(9 Posts)
otchayaniye Mon 08-Oct-12 16:49:39

i'm editorial staff for a listed company and have worked in a variety of roles for over ten years. i have just returned from maternity leave (second) and found morale in a terrible state as a good few colleagues are being managed out to avoid redundancy. there was a merger and two tranches of redundancy a few years ago. there won't be any more i'm told.

my new dept boss (arrived on the scene while on mat leave) met me on a Kit day and told me 'i'll be honest, i don't like part time workers' (i do 3 days). my new line manager (an old colleague) wanted to change the days i worked two weeks before i restarted, when i'd already teed up childcare with husband and his job share ages back. she warned me vaguely that this was an 'issue' that would keep coming back. she hadn't even asked my other colleague (3-dayer with much older children) if she could swap a day. other comments hither and yon about sorting rota and holidays for so many with children as 'a nightmare'.

basically i walked back in the door feeling persona non grata. oh, when on assignment abroad and went on mat leave they tried to fire me (local offce not clued up about rules for repatriation). uk hr got involved, were great actually and i was repatriated and found this current role.

in those few weeks i've been pulled up a few times about my work. i've made a couple a small errors (duplicate word, a missed comma) and i've had my line manager and boss redoing stuff, mentioning 'needing more polish' (too vague and subjective to really mean anything to me, and other colleagues make errors, it's the nature of our work). nothing officially sai to me, but this is what happened to my colleague (currently on perf review and on sick with depression) before he was tapped on the shoulder.

i was told by line manager that performance needs to be raised and objectives will be tougher. however i was fine for ten years and either met or exceeded expectations in that time. what could have happened since (apart from me having babies)?

i am jumping the gun, but i expect to be tapped on the shoulder and part of me wants to fight, the other just wants to resign so i don't suffer the war of attrition on my self esteem. i would rather continue to work there all things being equal.

everyone else is scared, but i feel under more scrutiny and feel as if i'm rubbish, and everyone is proper. i was a bit tearful after another story picked over and it's coming home with me. i'm keeping a diary and am an nuj member and am collecting examples of others' errors (sad to have to do this) in case this escalates.

anything else i should do?

MainlyMaynie Mon 08-Oct-12 16:58:32

What is the job market like for you? TBH, if they want to manange people out, I would be already thinking along the lines of a compromise agreement. It's going to be a miserable atmosphere, even if you manage to fight back and not be one of the people forced out. If you have a reasonable chance of finding another job, I would start a discussion about a compromise agreement to go.

otchayaniye Mon 08-Oct-12 17:07:05

well, not great in journalism. i also wouldn't expect to find part time work. if i left, i'd simply be a sahm for a few years (but i like the balance i get sharing it with dh) money would be tough but manageable.

nothing has been said. colleagues reckon they'd be mad to persecute a returning mother, what with them being a ftse company with much vaunted anti-discriminatory practices.

my husband is sad for me and would want me ti fight, not be a schmuck and just take it lying down, but can't see this leading to depression and sadness at home, too.

mamhaf Mon 08-Oct-12 17:23:04

Are you in a union? If not, suggest you join and get their advice... At least you'll then have backup in RL.

You may be over- thinking this, but perhaps not. A good idea to keep a diary, and make sure you also get an agreed record of any meetings - eg ask for specifics if told you have to improve your work.

StillSquiffy Mon 08-Oct-12 17:38:24

Boy, does your OP resonate with experiences I had with one of largest firms in the US (right down to repatriation nightmares).

From my own direct experience, and from what I have seen happen to colleagues in other firms, this kind of low level arm-twisting is not that uncommon, and I am sure they do want rid, because in their eyes your face no longer fits. What you do about it depends on your appetite for a battle and desire to stay. You already quite clearly see that the discrimination is too low level to sound toxic or be noticeable to others, but pretty obvious to you and also related to nothing else seemingly than having babies.

You can think about doing some/any of the following:-
1) take bull by horns, call a meeting, ask HR to attend, present your work to them and show how you are outperforming current objectives and doing just as well as previously, then ask them to explain specifically and with VERY clear examples - why you are now being challenged left, right and centre, whereas the only difference between now and the time when you were having your praises sung appears to have been the birth of your two children.
2) Keep a diary of all events, list witnesses (if any). Where someone says something obnoxious note it and then later in the day send them an email, documenting it (EG, "Just following on from this morning when you told me verbally that I'd not get anywhere in the firm now that I'm part time, I was wondering if you were aware that all of my objectives for the year incorporate expectations around the output of the work that I do rather than the number of hours I am present in the office, so I was hoping you could drop me aline expanding on your views on this"). These emails you send will be ignored, but what you write then becomes documented evidence against them. That alone might stop some of the rubbish.
3) Seek out a senior mentor in the firm, express your concerns and ask them how they think the ground lies.

TBH I do see a compromise of some sort coming down the pipes, so it is probably a question of preparing for it and having enough ducks lined up to get a really great compensation figure, rather than trying to fight it. But of course a lot does depend on your own views and attitude.

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Tue 09-Oct-12 16:13:01

Marking my place. I really feel for you. I am in a similar situation but have just turned down a voluntary redundancy package as I want to cling on to up my pension. But the stress levels and constant battling is getting me down and I can't sleep and have a permanently 'nervous stomach'.

In a previous job years ago I had just the same sort of thing - picking over stuff I had written and generally undermining me in small, subtle ways, so that when I was made redundant even when I was not the last one in, I no longer had the will to fight it.


NicknameTaken Wed 10-Oct-12 10:08:31

Ugh, you have my profound sympathies. I was managed out of a particular role 18 months ago. I was able to move internally to a lower-paid, part-time role, so from a practical point of view it was okay. The worst damage was to my morale. It's only now that I feel able to let go of the anger, and my confidence really suffered. I feel a weird mixture of arrogance at knowing I'm over-qualified for my current position and loss of faith in my abilities to do something more challenging.

I like Squiffy's strategies, but tbh I wouldn't have had the strength of will to implement them. Any attempt at fighting back resulted in so much criticism of my work that I found it devastating. Just as you mentioned, I couldn't take the war of attrition on my self-esteem.

As you're an NUJ member, I would definitely be having a conversation with them. If they can put your employer on notice that they're being watched, it's possible they might back off a bit. I'd also be keeping a look out for other positions, although I know you said the job market isn't great.

It's a horrible position to be in.

otchayaniye Wed 10-Oct-12 13:12:56

Thanks for your advice guys. I had a 'debrief' over one story and felt a bit more positive about it, like my line manager was being helpful pointing out how things have changed since I came back. Not sure how this leaves me but have been advised by others to dress nicely, keep my gob shut and get on with my work. I am speaking to our mother of chapel, too.

NicknameTaken Thu 11-Oct-12 09:19:53

Sounds positive - good luck with it!

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