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Job frustration- should I quit or stick it out?

(7 Posts)
knittingmama Fri 25-Jul-08 03:34:15

I work for a small education-related charity whose mission I personally believe in- but ever since returning from maternity leave I have just been at the end of my tether with the place.

The management structure has changed several times, and since returning in February I have been managed by someone I can't stand. The ironic thing is, she used to be at my level and we were quite good friends. Now, having been promoted, her personality and style of management is incredibly hard to tolerate. My role in the organisation is unclear (and has been since I returned), and no matter how many meetings I ask to have to discuss things- nothing changes. (And there have been several!) I've spoken to higher-ups about it, but no one seems to have any answers. We come from very different professional backgrounds, and she constantly uses management jargon that makes me feel alienated.

I am only two days a week, and really enjoy the time I spend with my 18 month old daughter. I don't think I could be a SAHM but am finding it nearly impossible to find something in my field that is part time. Anyone have any words of wisdom? I keep getting the urge to write my resignation letter! Thanks mumsnetters... x

llareggub Fri 25-Jul-08 07:48:42

You have my sympathies.

I think you have to develop some strategies for managing her. There are plenty of books on this but you are best placed to think of the ways in which you could manage her behaviour.

Have you spoken directly to her about her management style? Has she managed people previously? In my experience people new to leadership roles tend to be overly directive with their teams, even where their teams are perfectly capable, experienced and comptetent. Perhaps you need to help her?

gillydaffodil Fri 25-Jul-08 08:12:37

Message withdrawn

flowerybeanbag Fri 25-Jul-08 09:00:23

knittingmama what a tricky situation.

I agree with llareggub. People new to management often find it difficult and try to overcompensate for their insecurities. This is particularly the case where they are managing people who used to be on the same level.

She is probably feeling insecure in her new role and is feeling she has to 'prove' that she has a right to be there. She is doing this by probably being overly directive as llareggub says, and also in her use of jargon. This is to reassure herself that she should be in the new position she's in and in an attempt to make herself and you feel that she is now superior to you.

If you come from different backgrounds then you have different things to offer, which can make this situation easier. Part of being a good manager I think is being comfortable and confident in the fact that your team may have greater expertise in some areas of work than you. As a manager you don't have to be brilliant at everything.

However she is probably thinking at the moment that she does have to prove that she is better at everything than you.

Don't feel you can't directly challenge her about her management style, while at the same time offering her your complete support in her new role, and in achieving your team's objective. Hopefully that might make her feel a bit more secure and less as though she has to act the way she has been.

Have an honest look at your own behaviour. Is there anything there that could be contributing to her treatment of you? There usually is. If you are giving off any kind of impression that you don't think she 'deserves' to have been promoted ahead of you, that might not be helping the situation. If you can demonstrate that there is no resentment there and you are on the same team, it might help.

In terms of clarity of your role, you need to be speaking to your manager about it, not going over her head. Be firm with her about defining what your role should be, don't be fobbed off, get a timescale agreed for actions needed to sort this. If there are discussions needed with higher up people, she should be having them on your behalf or at least participate in them.

Longer term, it might be an idea to do as gilly says, and consider moving on, explore the marketplace and see what's out there, while trying to improve things where you are.

flowerybeanbag Fri 25-Jul-08 09:02:13

Oh, and just to add, when you fully believe in a charity and it's aims and ideals, there can be a tendency to hang on too long wishing things to get better.

I do think you should consider trying to improve things, but if it's really not going to work, don't become a martyr to the cause you believe in.

I've worked in and with a few charities and seen it happen.

NorthernLurker Fri 25-Jul-08 09:07:37

knittingmama - just wanted to say I have great fellow-feeling with you. My position is exactly the same on returning from maternity leave. I got next to no handover and my new manager is someone I used to manage! I'm looking for another job as however great the temptation is to tell them to stick their job I know that financially it would be better for us to go from job to job not from job to nothing. When things are really tough I mentally draft my resignation letter!

knittingmama Fri 25-Jul-08 14:23:49

Wow, these are great replies. Thank you so much. Flowerybeanbag, you are right, it's easy to hang on too long where I work- it's in the culture to put up with things. Lots of martyrs in the office!

I never thought about the insecurity side of things. Llareggub (by the way, love the name) and flowerybeanbag, yes, I think she is insecure in her new role. She is definitely overcompensating in many ways- working a full week on only three paid days, constantly using the jargon, etc.

Thanks for the replies- I am going to hang in while we try for baby no. 2! Not the greatest maternity benefits but at least I'd get SMP... But I might post again if I have a bad day!!


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