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Have I just committed a huge wrongdoing?

(21 Posts)
hobbgoblin Wed 14-Oct-09 18:26:06

I am on Mat. Leave from a job I love for employers I detest who are the pettiest individuals going. I nearly decided not to go back as I cannot stand the attitude from my manager but that's another issue.

Anyway, I have today emailed my line manager asking if we could meet to discuss what the Team have been doing in my absence. I had hoped in so doing to a) get things off on a better footing, kind of show an interest (that sounds bad but hope ykwim) and b) get my mind focused in terms of the changes that have taken place in my absence so i could start thinking about how i will fit in on my return (January some time).

Anyway, I mailed line manager but cc'd the Head to avoid being criticised for not telling him every tiny detail of every single thing as would have been likely.

Just had reply saying 'As I'm your manager you need to discuss your return to work with me'. I have replied politely stating that I would be doing so but that this was merely a more informal request to meet my line manager for a 'catch up' in advance of my back to work planning meetings which he would obviously be dealingn with.

Have I gone about this totally in the wrong fashion? Please be honest.

I feel a bit kicked in the teeth. I dislike the pair of them on a personal level but was attempting to take a positive, work focussed approach to my return instead of thinking "oh God, back to the daily criticism of everything including where I buy my lunch and what my underwear looks like".

hobbgoblin Wed 14-Oct-09 19:02:44


HeidiT Wed 14-Oct-09 19:18:10

I think you have done the correct thing by cc in the other person. Sounds like maybe you have had times in the past when you have had ticking off for not keeping everyone in the loop. I think you were good to be interested in what has been going on since you left.

Dont worry about it and enjoy the rest of your time off!

flowerybeanbag Wed 14-Oct-09 19:49:13

Not sure I follow. You emailed your line manager requesting a catch up and copied in the Head of Department (or whatever job title it is) for his/her information. Who was it who replied saying you need to discuss your return to work with him/her, your manager or the HoD?

hobbgoblin Wed 14-Oct-09 20:05:04

Sorry, yes.

I emailed my line manager and copied in the Headteacher (who oversees all of us including her) asking to meet with her for a catch up, essentially.

I know that Head (post in a school) doesn't like to not know EVERYTHING so cc him too.

I also said that I was due to make final decision on my return, i.e. definite date and whether I request part time hours (discussed before I had baby) in next few days and that I'd contact the Head about this shortly but that having a catch up on what was going on with project would be helpful in this respect.

flowerybeanbag Wed 14-Oct-09 20:11:50

So your line manager is the one who replied and is stroppy because you copied in the Head?

Sounds like she has issues about the Head being (in her view) too involved in the management of her staff.

If you said you'd be discussing return to work dates and possible flexible working request with the Head rather than your own line manager you can see where she is coming from in a way. I'm assuming that is the procedure where you are so nothing wrong in what you've done, but if your own manager is feeling a bit defensive anyway about Head involvement then that's probably where it all came from.

hobbgoblin Wed 14-Oct-09 20:13:24

Oh gosh I'm so sorry. After this, it was the HEAD who replied back to me - nothing from line manger as yet.

The head is a he line manager a she!

bad explanation there from me blush

hobbgoblin Wed 14-Oct-09 20:14:46

so it was the Head who became all uppity at me emailing my line manager asking for a catch up meeting.

flowerybeanbag Wed 14-Oct-09 20:18:07

<<head spins>> grin

Sounds like the Head is the one with issues then, and not enough to do! If he's the one who said that he also seems to think he's your line manager; one of those control-freaky types who can't seem to relinquish responsibility to the appropriate person.

You have done nothing wrong, seems you're caught in the middle of other people's issues and are trying your best to balance everyone's preferences and keep everyone happy.

I just re-read your first sentence. Yes it seems they are all petty I agree!

BubbaAndBump Wed 14-Oct-09 20:20:20

As far as I'm aware, as a teacher you only have to give one month's notice as to when you return. There are useful letter templates from the TES website if you're requesting part time work (if your line manager and head are being @rses, it may be worth going down that official route).

I wouldn't bother going in for a meeting if they're going to be like that, but just reiterate that you'd like to know what's gone on during your maternity leave, so you'll be able to hit the ground running, so to speak, on your return. Maybe ask for the departmental evaluation form or target plans (or whatever your school calls them) from the past X months.

Don't think you've gone about it the wrong way, just think your manager is probably feeling a bit under pressure to prove his work to you.

Good luck!

Besom Wed 14-Oct-09 20:21:21

What you have requested is both appropriate and good practice I would have thought. In my job you can come in for paid 'catch up' days and this is quite seperate from the formal 'now I'm coming back to work' meeting which you have with a higher up manager. He sounds like a bit of a dick.

hobbgoblin Wed 14-Oct-09 21:35:34

not sure if i feel better or worse then! one i'm not in the wrong but two i have to work for a 'dick' lol.

fluffles Wed 14-Oct-09 21:38:54

tell him it's called a 'keeping in touch' day and considered best practice and tell him to fob off.

actually don't tell him the second bit, but do tell him the first bit.

Speckledeggy Thu 15-Oct-09 08:04:54

You can't win with some people in my opinion!

It sounds as if you are stuck with these two so you have to make a decision whether to put up with their ridiculous behaviour or leave. There's no point in putting up with crap if they make your life a misery. Another job will come along which fit on a personal and professional level. You just have to be brave. You'll wonder then why on earth you were hesitating!

hobbgoblin Thu 15-Oct-09 09:31:05

Message withdrawn

flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 09:36:54

What an idiot! How bizarre to say you shouldn't discuss your return to work with the person who is your line manager!

Firstly, your return to work date isn't anything you need to 'discuss' with anyone. It's up to you to decide and notify them.

If you want to make a flexible working request I'm sure there is a policy/procedure for doing so, and I can't imagine for one minute the policy says 'don't discuss it with your line manager', because that would be plain daft!

bigstripeytiger Thu 15-Oct-09 09:37:46

They sound really annoying.
What is the thing about a 'protocol' for returning to work? It is your job to go back to as it was before you went on leave. It sounds a bit like they think they will be doing you a favour by letting you go back!

hobbgoblin Thu 15-Oct-09 09:39:49

So, it's not just me then that finds the attitude of my bosses frustratingly ridiculous?!

I honestly cannot win no matter what I do in this school and it really was getting me down before I left on Maternity Leave.

Is my reply to facetious do you think?

Appreciate your input, btw.

hobbgoblin Thu 15-Oct-09 09:41:19


flowerybeanbag Thu 15-Oct-09 09:42:54

I don't think your reply is too facetious no, in your position I'd probably have been tempted to go a stage further tbh as it's all so petty and pathetic.

dollyparting Thu 15-Oct-09 14:14:37

Maybe the head teacher is worried that the line manager does not know the details of employment law, and may agree with you, in an informal meeting, things which have a wider implication.

It does sound like crap and petty behaviour, but it would also be crap, if you thought you had an agreement about returning to work on a part-time basis, then found out that were problems because it hadn't been agreed with the right person. This happened recently in my dp's work.

You sounds like you have done all the right things - copying in the head, and stating that you'd contact the head about part-time working, but if they have had a bad experience of this before, then they may just be over-reacting. Still crap though.

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