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How to complain calmly without resorting to hysterics

(7 Posts)
BeanyGodkin Wed 26-Apr-17 21:58:58

Sorry for the essay:
Recently I have felt very disatisfied at work, and increasingly feel I have been discriminated against, although maybe I'm paranoid.

I work full time. I have a paid responsibility as an assistant middle leader. Recently the job of my line manager, the middle leader who I 'assist', came up. In my view and the view of many staff who have since spoken to me, I am/was the most qualified for the job, but I lost out to a younger man who had not had the same experience in this field as me. (I returned full time from maternity leave 7 months ago after my 4th child, so many of my colleagues conspired that it was discrimination due to a supposistion that my 16mo baby would be a distraction from the post)
I'm a positive person, and try not to assume this; I blame my interview effort!
However there are many issues I feel I need to raise with my line manager, regarding the lack of professional development opportunities I am given compared to the colleagues in my department as well as the fact that a couple of my colleagues from outside my department (including the man who just usurped me) have been muscling in on my responsibilities, taking over duties that are under my remit and then forwarding me emails as an 'FYI' of stuff that should be my own work.
I don't shy away from my job, work very hard and I know I'm good at it, but I feel paranoid that there is some weird conspiracy to undermine and de-skill me. We have a very male heavy management team.

I'd really like to complain (informally) to my line manager about this, but I'm worried that I'll get upset or emotional about it while talking to him. He's rarely in work due to his own promotion-seeking efforts and has had a lot of PD opportunities from management. I feel that his lack of presence, has been part of the reason others have muscled in.

I'm a confident professional woman who doesn't mix personal life and work life and I'm fully committed to my job. But how do I challenge discrepancies (not the fact I didn't get the job) without looking like an emotional wreck?!

Tips for keeping calm and challenging superiors in a confident and rational way?? Help!

StealthPolarBear Wed 26-Apr-17 22:01:38

How are they taking over your duties?

daisygirlmac Wed 26-Apr-17 22:08:25

I have never had to do this from your side but I am a manager and have dealt with people raising issues for me to look at. I like it when people email to request a meeting and set out what they would like to discuss. I think it's helpful for me to know a broad agenda before we sit down as it allows me to look into the issues raised and have some answers rather than being blindsided. It also helps us to stay on course if I feel people are going off on tangents and I absolutely won't get involved in petty he said she said ridiculousness.

Email also documents you raising the issues so helps protect you. I would say something along the lines of:

Dear manager

I would like to have an informal chat with you re x, y and z. As you are aware I was unsuccessful in my application for x job and I would appreciate some feedback and the opportunity to discuss my professional development and how I can make improvements.

I do have some concerns that x department seem to have a lot of crossover and input into (whatever it is). I would like to discuss your expectations of my role and I would appreciate some clarity on responsibilities and how I would start to take on more complex projects so I can continue to better my skills.

Looking forward to your thoughts


BeanyGodkin Wed 26-Apr-17 22:19:46

Stealth - I'm a pastoral leader in a secondary school working with upper school. They deal with lower school but recently have been dealing with students under my remit and even phoning parents etc etc without even making me aware of some very important issues. I'm not a remotely petty person, believe in teamwork entirely but this has been starting to really annoy me.

daisygirlmac - I love this! It is very sensible and would help me enormously. Thank you

daisygirlmac Wed 26-Apr-17 22:23:05

If you have a colleague trying to undermine you in any way call them out EVERY time. Oh I see you rang x's parents, was there a reason you didn't ask me to do it? Smile politely. Wait for them to dig their own holegrin

CotswoldStrife Wed 26-Apr-17 23:04:10

I like daisy's way of raising it - but why are the students/teachers dealing with the other people in the first place rather than coming to you? Did one of them cover your mat leave and they've got used to dealing with them or something? It seems strange if you are the lead for a particular section that they are not going straight to you IYSWIM.

BeanyGodkin Thu 27-Apr-17 06:16:42

Schools are big places. With thousands of students, hundreds of staff and lots of departments spread across a large area, it's easy for teachers to take on their own 'projects'. They shouldn't and that's why we have individual staff I/c of each year group.
None of these staff covered my mat leave, but one of them used to have my job but they moved departments; promotion, but never fully managed to let go of the pastoral job. They love the attention of sobbing girls at their classroom door, so often perpetuate the issue.
I'm determined to put my foot down about these matters because my managers need to be clearer about whose role does what, in the interests of pupils and consistency. I wish I could stop feeling paranoid and overly emotional about this.

Right....grits teeth and heads into work.

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