Cannot deal with work situation any more

(3 Posts)
WoodliceCollection Fri 18-Aug-17 10:50:23

Hi, wanted to name-change for this but don't have time to work out how- please respect 'anonymity' if possible.

I am incredibly stressed by an ongoing situation at my work. I'm in a job I started 4 years ago, after some temping following my PhD. The job doesn't require a PhD but is in a research organisation and was advertised as a 'scientist' role. For the first 3 years I received positive appraisals and indeed a performance bonus. I then raised issues about a couple of things (H&S related and career progression related). Since then, from my perspective, the organisation appear to have done everything possible to try and make my life miserable. This was complicated by me developing a physical health issue during my 3rd year in post, which took a while to actually be diagnosed (6 months of various tests).

I am not sure how well I can summarise the situation briefly, but will try to do so. After I initially raised issues locally, I was met by a barrage of criticism about supposed issues with my 'ability to work with others' which had not been raised in any context prior to this. I asked for specific examples and none were forthcoming. My line management was changed and new line manager continued to provide 'sniping' type criticism at every meeting I had with her. I indicated that I was finding this difficult and largely unfounded, and eventually raised a formal grievance. The initial grievance investigation found there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that bullying had occurred (HR have interpreted this as 'it is not bullying' and decided I am the problem), but recommended mediation and accommodations for disability for myself. I was assessed by occupational health as I was signed off twice during this period due to anxiety/depression (GP wanted to put work related stress on the form but after discussion we decided this would be overly confrontational). I have a past diagnosis of ASD but this is mild and has not generally affected me in the workplace, although I am aware it can cause people to misinterpret my behaviour at times. However, I have also been seeing a psychotherapist privately who believes the diagnosis is in part due to childhood issues (abusive family) and may not be completely accurate. My other health issues were found by occupational health to amount to a disability in their own right and I reduced working hours temporarily as a result of this.

The ongoing problem is that issues appear to settle down for a while, then I will suddenly be contacted by line management (which has been changed yet again) and 'told off' about something relatively trivial in a manner which I find overbearing and disrespectful of my professional expertise. Most recently, I have been allocated work which I initially objected to but agreed to take on as a concession to conflict resolution (I stated this clearly when agreeing to do the work). It is not work which is formally within my job description but could be argued to be within the role more broadly, so having discussed with counsellor I decided it was not worth arguing over.

As a single sentence in an email about 3 weeks ago, line manager asked me to split time between this work (going to call it TASK1 for convenience) and another task (TASK2) which is more relevant to my career and past work. She acknowledged in this email that other matters may come up in the interrim period. Other matters then did arise, and I spent a lot of time sorting these out (things like supplier issues, equipment maintenance- these needed to be sorted out at the time and no other staff were available with the same specialism so it did fall to me to do this; I copied line manager in to emails on the subject(s) and she appeared to be aware that I was doing the immediately necessary work and indeed thanked me for doing some of it).

I am now on 2 weeks of annual leave. Just before I went on leave I received an email from line manager telling me she was 'very concerned' that I had 'made no progress' on TASK1 and telling me that as this task was due for completion in mid September, I would not be able to attend a (1 day) conference I had already booked on advice of manager on another project. I had not previously been told of any deadline for TASK1. I went back and reviewed the time needed to complete TASK1 and determined I would be able to complete the task as initially described by mid september even allowing for conference attendance. Line manager may or may not want additional work done as part of TASK1 which I was not initially told about. I first emailed line manager back saying I would attend conference on my own time but saw no issue with completing TASK1 anyway, but that it would be useful for them to have told me of the deadline beforehand. I received no reply before going on leave so sent another email asking for clarification and saying I would appreciate an apology for the first email since it failed to acknowledge all the other work I had been doing which LM was aware of, and was punitive in threatening me about attending the conference.

I'm not currently logging in to my work email as I am massively stressed about this and have to try and keep things together whilst doing childcare and having visiting relatives. Every single person I have discussed the situation with outside the organisation things they are behaving appallingly. I have already made plans to leave and re-train for something completely outside the area I currently work, but the course for this will not start until next September now. I am very tempted just to quit and pick up temp work in the meantime, but on the other hand I would like to complete a couple of projects I am working on in this job so at least I have something to show for it. I really do not understand why I am being treated like this, other than that employer wants to 'put their foot down' for some reason. I could also easily take sickness absence as my mental health has been suffering badly as a result of the behaviour towards me, but I don't really want to do this if I can avoid it as I am not sure it helps in the longer term. I have some degree of union support but the union I am a member of is not very effective tbh, and local rep is currently away. I just don't know what the best thing to do is and how I can make sure the outcome is as good as possible- I have already given up on staying with this employer long term anyway so not looking for resolution with them, just surviving the next year without losing my mind completely.

Any advice at all would be welcome (bearing in mind I am pretty anxious at the moment so ideally not being too aggressive towards me please!)

OP’s posts: |
WoodliceCollection Fri 18-Aug-17 11:03:09

Sorry, just realised that is vast!

OP’s posts: |
Weloveoptimus Fri 18-Aug-17 11:12:17

Yes I agree with you. From what you have said, I would also 'tie up loose ends' and finish the semi completed tasks ASAP and just go.
Your mental health is far more important than working for these awful colleagues.
You'll look back in some time and think wow so glad I'm out of there. You will be happy and feel free!
Good luck x

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