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Toxic work environment but excellent conditions- HELP!

(13 Posts)
bettyboo1984 Thu 24-Sep-15 22:02:09

Hi all,

I am currently on maternity leave, going back to work in January. I work in a highly pressured role in local government and have done for ten years. Due to government cuts in recent years, the job has been getting more and more stressful- too much work, no training, being asked to work til 11pm, aggressive customers etc. I can generally handle this when the working environment is pleasant but what gets me most stressed is one particularly nasty colleague I work with and a completely useless boss who is best friends outside of work with the bully (as in, they literally go on holiday together).

This colleague is rude, verbally abusive about other colleagues, ostracises me and is passive aggressive in a way which is difficult to confront i.e. she will make sarcastic comments to my boss just in my earshot about being the only one in the office on certain days (I work part time), she will slam drawers and shout "for f** sake" if you send her an email she doesn't like. If you try to speak to her about it or try to pull her up on it, she will deny it is about you or will just shout you down. She is nice to some people and then blatantly picks on other people and for the past few years it has been me.

Everyone else she has done this to has lasted 6 months and then just quit.

I raised the issues with my manager and he said there was nothing he could do (unsurprising as he is best friends with her). He even promoted her just before I left to a job which I was much better qualified and experienced for. He is a terrible manager in many ways- he has no leadership skills, never stands up for his staff, shares too much personal information (and expects everyone else to do the same) and chip chip chips away at my self confidence by undermining everything I do. About 6 months before I got pregnant, I actually had a breakdown (due to problems at work and some things going on in my home life) and was signed off with stress for a few weeks.

SO my dilemma is this… the job is fairly well paid, a short commute and has the potential to be flexible enough to fit in with my new role as a mum (I haven't asked for this yet but am quite hopeful based on other mums who have negotiated flexible hours). The working conditions could potentially be perfect. I don't know if I could get such a good job part time elsewhere... But if I do stay I just don't know how to handle my toxic boss and my nasty colleague. Every time I think of going back I feel sick and worried, mainly because of them.

How would you deal with this situation? Would you look for another job? Would you just try to ignore the unpleasant working environment?

My partner says I should just suck it up and he doesn't care if his working environment is pleasant or not, but I've always got on well with colleagues before now and like to enjoy my job!

Appreciate any opinions! Thank you for reading.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sun 27-Sep-15 08:58:41

It sounds horrible. I would look for another job.

HappyAsASandboy Mon 28-Sep-15 15:00:08

Are there any other suitable jobs in the same workplace? Could you get your horrible boss to help you find a new role under the guise of development, since you missed out on the promotion?

Sallycinnamum Mon 28-Sep-15 15:10:48

As someone who is on almost the exact same position as you I'd say get out while you can.

The stress of my working environment is so bad I am on the verge of quitting with no job to go to. In my 20 year career I have never done this but the stress is now making me physically ill. There's only so much you can 'suck up' until it starts to take an effect.

museumum Mon 28-Sep-15 15:14:05

can you go back, get your flexible working request granted, then start looking for internal jobs to start with? if it really is as bad as you fear, then start looking elsewhere.. either way it's often easier to go back to a known job when you have a little one and are finding your feet as a working parent than it is to start somewhere new. Give yourself a year or so maximum if you really hate it.

jclm Sat 03-Oct-15 21:06:56

What museumum said - but have a plan to escape within 12 months Max. Can you do anything to boost your CV whilst on maternity leave eg become a trustee or do a course? Hugs x

RandomMess Sat 03-Oct-15 21:13:04

Change your mind set about it so that you can cope until you find another job.

They aren't your friends, just turn up do your job and leave each day. Your life is now about your dc and home life and let them fade into insignificance.

The dynamics could have changed whilst you are away enough to make it more bearable. I really would look for other work and if it's making you unhappy ultimately resigning is an option.

NeededANameChangeAnyway Thu 15-Oct-15 09:01:33

I agree with changing your mindset. A crappy work environment is draining but if you can rise above it, not engage or react and just get your job done and get out that will help enormously. If this isn't possible, what about raising a grievance with HR? Local government should be good at managing that sort of thing?

Also agree to keep looking for something else, redeploying within the work place to another team perhaps?

Tinfoiled Thu 15-Oct-15 09:05:41

Bloody hell. Life is far far too short to work in such horrendous conditions. Just get out. It will impinge on your time with your baby as you will dread the days you are working. I can't believe your dh is basically telling you to suck it up!

Oxfordblue Fri 23-Oct-15 13:35:42

If it's local government they must have a union ? They'll certainly have an HR department, so go & have a chat with them.

Getting something official down will help you focus & they will listen & advise best course of action.

I really feel did you, but please don't let them drive you out.

Btw slamming the drawer & saying fuck...she sounds like a complete idiot ! hmm

Personally, I would rather work a not-so-perfect job (longer commute, slightly awkward hours, that sort of thing) than work in a toxic environment. Especially in your case, having suffered with work-related stress in the past, I wouldn't think it was worth putting your health at risk to work there. Life is too short to make yourself miserable if you can possibly avoid it!

HorribleMotherCo Fri 23-Oct-15 14:06:26

I had a similar working environment in local government (council) hmm. Colleague reduced me to tears one day (never ever cried at work before or since) ranting at me because she didn't like having to do something that involved my boss even though it was within her remit and on my first day there, was shouting and swearing at her boyfriend on the phone in front of the whole office. No one batted an eyelid! That set the stage. Got to the point 18 months later, after blatant adversarial comments and lying, and after making a complaint which was ignored, where I drove in one day after being on leave and couldn't go in. So I left. That woman loved a row and everyone else was too scared of her to do anything about it!

I would not leave if I thought how I thought now. Why should you give up a job which suits you because some twat has been allowed free reign?

Could you make a complaint about workplace bullying and asked to be transferred elsewhere? Have you got the tenacity to see it through? I would, bullies should not be allowed to get away with it.

bettyboo1984 Mon 14-Dec-15 21:27:55

oh wow, thank you for all the replies! I really appreciate the viewpoints. I thought no one had replied so have just been enjoying my maternity leave these past couple of months and never checked back til tonight.

I went for a drink with some nice colleagues from work last week and they told me this colleague is still an absolute monster and that they are looking for other jobs because of her. I wish reporting the bullying would work but she does it in such a sneaky way I really don't think anything would change. I also work in a pretty niche profession so an internal transfer is not an option unfortunately. I think the only thing to do would be as a few of you have suggested... not exactly 'suck it up' but try to change my mindset to cope with it for a bit longer whilst looking for another job.

When I think about looking for work elsewhere, my heart lifts! smile

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