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Colleague after my job

(14 Posts)
runningpram Thu 18-Jul-19 21:52:22

I'm lucky enough to have a job I love and excel at. It's quite niche and I'm told there were lots of applicants for it. I've done well in the job and had excellent performance reviews so far.
A younger colleague who is on the grade directly below me in a slightly different bit of the business is keen to get into the same line of work but blatently asks me when I'm leaving! I've only been in the role just under a year, recently passed probation with flying colours and have no immediate plans to do so.
She asked if she could do a fortnight in our area to get experience. Both our managers agreed to this on the understanding that I would swap position with her temporarily.
Although colleague's role is slightly less senior and I don't really want a career in that area I agreed to this. I was keen to get a better understanding of her area as it is related to my work and it is a very challenging and interesting role - especially for someone with no direct experience in that area.
However while my colleague has been given a stretch task to do in her placement I have only been given basic admin style jobs. Colleague's job is v quiet at present.
I've asked to do more and help out in other areas but told nothing is required. Her manager, who is to be fair v busy, hasn't spoken to me during my time there.
Other people in the office are now asking if I've been demoted or lost my job as they've seen me doing these basic tasks!
I feel upset and have been quite worried by this as I've worked hard for my job, am very good at it. In fact I recently won an award.
However I am a little quiet and not the best at self promotion. I suffer from imposter syndrome at the best of times and this is really feeding into those feelings.
Although I work full-time I have young dc and while I often do long hours there are times when I inevitably have to WFH or leave early to do pick ups
Meanwhile colleague is asking to do another placement in my area.
I just feel a little as though my job is being snatched away from under my nose.
Colleague is good but no better than me. I'm of course looking for a stretch placement of my own in an area I'm really interested in.
But how do I deal with this situation and can my job be given away if my boss decides he just prefers her?
I've been feeling really very down about it and it doesn't feel quite right but I can't quite my finger on why. I don't want to appear needy or insecure.

daisychain01 Fri 19-Jul-19 05:48:54

It sounds a strange set up. i don't understand why you needed to do a job swap to find out about this colleague's area of the business, you could have asked to be given an overview of it by shadowing her and agreed a reciprocal arrangement for her to do similar. You did not need to relinquish your job.

Did you agree a timeframe for this job swap or is it open ended? If none of this 'arrangement' has been formalised, I'd have a meeting with your manager pdq and find out the official situation as you could find yourself frozen out.

daisychain01 Fri 19-Jul-19 05:52:25

I've done well in the job and had excellent performance reviews so far

This doesn't stack up with the situation as you've described it. Why would you be effectively demoted and deposed from your role if everything you did was excellent? A business wouldn't make that kind of illogical decision unless they had a reason. It will be in your best interests to find out the truth.

KatherineJaneway Fri 19-Jul-19 06:04:23

Talk to your manager. You need to establish why this other person was given your role albeit temporarily. It doesn't stack up to how well you say you are doing.

chocolatebumby Fri 19-Jul-19 06:10:07


It's for a fortnight. She's not been demoted.

Just ride it out - you'll be back in your job in no time, then everyone a will realise it was just a swap and that you were being nice letting her have a go.

ittooshallpass Fri 19-Jul-19 06:37:51

I am puzzled as to why a business would even suggest such a swap. Surely you are way too busy to just hand over your workload to someone else? I've never heard of anything like this.

It's too late now, but don't ever agree to an arrangement of this kind again.

Speak to your line manager now, tell them it isn't working for you. You will surely be behind in your work at the end of 2 weeks; what impact will this have on the business?

A business cannot just 'give' your job to someone else. You have a contract to work in a specific role. If your line manager isn't listening, go to HR.

The fact you have small children and need to leave early sometimes is neither here nor there. As long as your work is done and deadlines are met, what time you do it is irrelevant. So don't let your 'guilt' about this eat you up.

You're good at your job. You have proof of this from feedback from your manager. Stand your ground, get back into your role and just keep repeating that the 'work experience' is over.

If this girl keeps pushing and your managers are letting her, suggest she can help you with workload, but don't ever let her actually do your job again.

runningpram Fri 19-Jul-19 07:10:14

Thanks all
I feel better about it all this morning and am going to tell them I'm going back to my old job today. Some extra work has come in so I have a good excuse. I'm v happy to help other people in the workplace and especially other women and I also want to demonstrate that I am willing to challenge myself and learn new skills. However I don't feel I've been given a lot of opportunity to learn much in this other position while my colleague has benefitted from being seen to do a more senior job.
I think it's the blatantly demanding my job with a sense that she is entitled to it that has been most difficult. I'm under pressure in lots of other parts of my life and work seemed to be going well.
It was something I'd worked really hard for - so the demotion remarks really bothered me. I was a bit upset people would naturally assume this rather than I was learning. I also don't want to be pushed into moving before I'm ready and on top of everything else I don't want to be forced to fight for my job

Damia Fri 19-Jul-19 07:50:06

Just tell everyone you are doing colleague a favour covering for her (and I'd be making comments about how easy their job is). When you go back to your role tell your manager you found the swap too basic and that it didnt stretch you at all and you wouldn't want to swap again unless you gained relevant experience and they could offer you something specific to do.

Loopytiles Fri 19-Jul-19 07:55:05

If the specific work you do is busy / growing it’s fair enough if your employer want to have more people doing it. Also fair enough if they want to help your colleague develop her skills / career.

But it wasn’t a good idea of your managers to suggest a two week “job swop” given that your colleague’s role is more junior. I would let your manager know that it wasn’t useful for you.

Your colleague was v rude to ask when you’d be leaving.

daisychain01 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:26:01

It's for a fortnight. She's not been demoted.

That's not how the OP describes the situation in their post, they said they were being given menial tasks and felt they were having their job snatched from them. Surely if the reality was just a brief period of experiencing each other's roles the OP wouldn't be feeling vulnerable.

Hence I do feel that they need to regain control, plus lesson learned for next time, never agree to such an imbalanced arrangement where they are relinquishing their higher status role for something more mundane. It should be possible for the employer to arrange a knowledge swap without it potentially impinging on their contract of employment/role spec.

daisychain01 Fri 19-Jul-19 09:29:22

Anything like this needs to be formalised in writing. There is no way of knowing that a fortnight wouldn't be engineered into a longer timespan with the manager claiming "oh, but runningpram agreed to this...."

....but then again I'm cynical about organisational stitch-ups.

BrienneofTarthILoveYou Fri 19-Jul-19 09:33:33

Speak to your manager and tell them you're going back to your own job today as this isn't working for you. Then take your work back from your colleague - do not allow yourself to be walked over in these (or any) circumstances! Good luck Op as it's horrible when you're going about your own business and someone comes along to try to take things from you!

redexpat Fri 19-Jul-19 11:44:23

She wont get your job but if something similar opens up she may well be a shoein. Dont take it personally. I think her asking when you are leaving is a bit crude but otherwise she sounds as if she is a woman working proactively towards a career goal.

RiotAndAlarum Wed 24-Jul-19 21:05:31

Ohh, there was an Ask a Manager about a swap like this, in with the OP risked being even more disadvantaged than in your position. Hold firm!

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