Could I have handled this better?

(12 Posts)
TomTomKitten Fri 12-Feb-16 00:50:57

Sorry, this is a long one...

Last summer I started a job to cover someone on long term sick leave. After four months, the lady in question came back to work. There had been a bit of a question mark over her performance and when I took the job I was told there was a possibility that it may go permanent. Before I started she had been on sick leave (on and off) from February. She had only been in the job since October and had been on almost permanent sick leave from Feb to Aug.

When she finally came back it was very unclear what the plan was. It was also a very difficult situation as I was doing her job and they were very reluctant for me to hand over work as she was on a phased return and they were paranoid that she would go off sick again. My/her boss decided that he was no longer talking to her which made it even more difficult! I kept asking where this left me and kept getting the answer that the situation was difficult. They wanted to get rid of her but were working on a plan (which I knew would necessitate me leaving albeit temporarily). After three to four weeks of overlap, and still no news, I gave them a week's notice.

I found another contract very quickly and, over the course of the next three months, they put the team into consultation then made her redundant. They paid her an agreeable amount and got her to sign a compromise agreement (so no come back for them).

Shortly after she went, they asked me to go back as, needless to say, they had so much work they couldn't possibly keep up. I went back at the start of December and when I finished just before Christmas they offered me a permanent job. They offered me the same salary as my contract but instead of 35 hours (as per my contract) I was told the hours would be 37.5 hours (pro rata for the four days I had requested and they had agreed). As I was also paid hourly on contract, I was earning overtime on anything over 35 hours. i felt a bit miffed as they were effectively offering me a pay cut and, as it was the same salary as I was earning in 2008, I asked if they could up the money to at least what i was earning on contract. It went backwards and forwards between me, the agency and the company. I had quite a few difficult conversations including the guy at the agency telling me that I was just being greedy (thanks for that one!). We didn't manage to resolve the situation and agreed to talk after Christmas.

After Christmas, I met with my boss and we discussed the salary. I put forward my case and he said there would be no movement. i went away, discussed it with my husband and the next morning emailed my boss to say, much as I wanted to stay, I was declining the offer. I suggested we discuss the plan for going forward at our next catch up. He didn't acknowledge my email but forwarded it to the Board and basically told them it was back to the drawing board. Over the course of the next week, he ignored me. My lovely (and more senior colleague) had been involved in the salary negotiations and decided to intervene after a few days. She asked me what salary I was after and I just said the same amount as my contract which was approx. £2k (£1.6k for the four days). She totally agreed with my argument and said she couldn't see the problem. They'd had quite a few people through the door for this role (6 in about 4.5 years) and i was told I had been the best fit/most experienced out of everyone so it made sense to try and keep me/avoid further recruitment costs and upheaval for the rest of the team.

It was discussed at the Board Meeting two weeks later. The Board agreed that they wouldn't pay me the extra and would start from scratch. Nobody told me and, as I was oblivious that it had been discussed, just kept plodding on. Four weeks later, and still no news, I did a bit of digging and managed to find the outcome. Needless to stay, I was very angry that no one had bothered to tell me. We had a big conference at the end of Jan and I can only assume that they kept me dangling so I was available for that. When asked why no one had told me, my boss blamed my colleague and she blamed him.

In my last week, I seem to have gone from being star contractor to the office leper. It has been absolutely awful. I had it out with my boss the other day and he repeatedly said how wonderful I was and how great I fitted into the team, how well we worked together and how I would be a fool not to stay as there was every possibility I could end up in a shit job next. All this for the same money originally offered. I told him that was exactly the reason he should pay me the extra money as there were more shit PAs that shit PA jobs.

After a week of feeling very angry and confused I left. I have been getting it in the neck from my husband who kept asking me why I would accept a job for less money and to just milk it now while I was on contract. I've been there for a total of six months and I didn't even say goodbye to my boss or the MD when I left (because I was too angry and upset). I have nothing else lined up. They kept telling me they couldn't up the money but seem to regularly squander money (a run of the mill mid-week dinner for two directors having a catch up should not cost £300 IMO!).

Is it me or them? How could I have avoided this? I'm pretty assertive these days and I'm at a loss as to how i have come out worst in this situation. angry

VimFuego101 Fri 12-Feb-16 01:52:20

Your boss sounds very childish - not talking to your old colleague, not talking to you, not acknowledging your emails. I don't think you could have avoided that. You are out of a job, but I think you assessed the situation well and you were correct with your evaluation of how much you were worth. It's their loss and hopefully you'll find a job soon and will look back and realize you had a lucky escape!

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 12-Feb-16 05:13:12

You did the right thing.

They are being incredibly short-sighted and stubborn. I am sure they must have spent more on the role when employing you and the person on sick leave.

It sounds like you were perfect for the role, more fool them for not being willing to pay you a fair salary and keeping you. It sounds like they use agents, so they'd have been saving on that too.

Good luck with finding something else.

ChalkHearts Fri 12-Feb-16 05:30:20

I agree. Sounds like you did the right thing.

Sounds like the company has big problems and you're best off out of it.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 12-Feb-16 07:37:50

There are several things I can see firstly temporary contracts are often paid at a higher rate than permanent due to their temporary nature so maybe in asking for exactly the same you could have been slightly greedy. But when the boss stopped talking to the person you were replacing this would have rung massive alarm bells with me and I would have considered strongly whether I wanted to work there or not. Finally yes they were not sensible if they have had so much trouble recruiting to have not negotiated with you to see if you could meet somewhere i the middle. Though it sounds like there were a tremendous amount of Chiefs involved and perhaps this a key problem with the business preventing effective decision making.

LaurieFairyCake Fri 12-Feb-16 07:52:08

The bottom line is that you were in an organisation that refused to act professionally.

They wanted to 'win' and dictate more than they wanted to keep you. They wanted to not talk to their previous employee (bullying) so they could get rid of her.

It's fundamentally a lack of respect and there's nothing you can do.

You cannot expect or demand others think and act reasonably.

You did nothing wrong thanks

And your dh is wrong

TomTomKitten Fri 12-Feb-16 08:35:57

Thanks everyone

Yes, not talking to the previous incumbent did raise alarm bells. She was young and had been a bit silly in terms of being off sick and I did wonder if part of it was stress/unhappiness in job. When i left the first time, i told the agency it was 50/50 bad behaviour from her/the company.

I realise that I cannot control others hence ultimately walked away. I'm also professional and honest which is the reason why I didn't want to stay and milk the situation (thanks for the great advice DH!).

I did think that their refusal to negotiate on the salary was a bit of a bullying technique to 'keep me in my box'. How 'dare' I ask for another £1.6k?! They did offer me the same salary but as the working week had changed from 35 to 37.5 hours it equated to less. All very petty really and very shortsighted on their part. You have to be a pretty robust character to work there and i think they expect someone to have those qualities and be at the top of their game for a fairly average salary.

This is a mid-size company by the way and a leader in their field! I do feel I've had a lucky escape and actually wish I'd cut my losses a couple of weeks ago.

AyeAmarok Fri 12-Feb-16 08:54:26

How disappointing for you. I agree with you that it sounds like they were trying to bully you into 'your place'.

These are the sort of employers that you just need to walk away from, unfortunately.

You did the right thing, I hope you find something else that is better very soon.

TomTomKitten Fri 12-Feb-16 09:09:33

It's good to know you all agree with me! It's been a very frustrating few weeks. I chatted with my friend about it the other week and she thought they sounded like a bunch of cowboys. She asked if I really wanted to stay there to which I replied no!

It's very interesting to see how companies deal with staff problems/salary negotiations. When I think back, they did show their colours very early on. With regard to the lady off sick, what really struck me was, what will happen to me if and when I have a problem? Will you treat me like that? No one is infallible.

NightWanderer Fri 12-Feb-16 09:09:35

ChalkHearts Fri 12-Feb-16 05:30:20

Sounds like the company has big problems and you're best off out of it.

I agree with this! I had a similiar-ish bad experience with a company. I initially did some substitute working for them to cover a guy who they fired and the pay was ok. Then when they offered me full-time, the pay was awful. I declined and they were shocked. In fact they refused to accept that I had declined for a while and it all went a bit tits up when they emailed me to say they were looking forward to me starting tomorrow and had arranged for me to meet my new clients. Obviously when I contacted them again to point out that I had declined the job they were really upset and tried to make me feel bad. It was such a weird experience and left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm working for a much better company now. The pay is better and the hours more flexible.

I really hope you find something good soon.

TomTomKitten Fri 12-Feb-16 09:29:27

Yes, it was very much, "We'd really love you to stay but we just can't stretch to the extra money --because we spent more than that on Jagermeister at the conference--" complete with pained expression. hmm

Also kept telling me that the salary was at the top of the band so no pay rises for the foreseeable future?!

wickedwaterwitch Fri 12-Feb-16 09:58:33

They've behaved weirdly and unprofessionally IMO

It's a negotiation, you're entitled to turn down their offer and all this not speaking to people sounds very childish.

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