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returning to work - job being taken over by an ambitious male colleague...

(7 Posts)
gaffatape Fri 01-Dec-17 22:31:26

My sister really needs some advice on how to deal with her current work situation.
She has a male colleague who replaced her when she took her second mat leave. He stayed on when she returned; she and he have the same job title, and her boss was insistent when she hired him that there was room for both of them. Although there is enough work for them both, in terms of management responsibility she feels totally sidelined by her boss and this male colleague. E.g. team members that she managed have been given to him as my sister works 4 days/week and has been told that this is problematic for managing staff. When her boss went on holiday she used to manage her work; now both she and her male colleague do it, although he tends to get ahead with this as she's only 4 days/week and has to rush off on time to do nursery pick up, and he's full time and can work all hours. There isn't room for her in the area of the office since he started so she now sits separately from her department so feels forgotten.
My sister has two toddlers that have had a run of illness, as has she, so she's had to take a few days off here and there, and her life is frantically busy. The male colleague is never off work, and has time to network in his free time so is getting ahead.
She feels like a rubbish employee in comparison to her male colleague and her confidence is at rock bottom.
So what would you do? She's torn between:
- trying to fight back - move her day off to try to somehow get more work done - try to reclaim her job back off him?
- just let him do this stuff and take the workload and responsibility on (she feels on the edge of a nervous breakdown as it is) and keep her head down?
- another solution?
She would really benefit from some suggestions from working parents who can relate to this situation. Thanks all.

user1470584717 Sat 02-Dec-17 20:20:38


I can relate but I also struggle because I have kids to rush off for pickup, no time in the evening to study etc. I think working full time could be an option if she feels working full time will make them value her more. I don't think keeping her head down will make her happy but if this is what she is going to do, I would look for another job at the same time. I think she needs to look at what her strength are and make sure it is being noticed at work. This is exactly what I was doing and it helped me to move forward.

goteam Thu 07-Dec-17 16:45:32

I would just keep my head down to be honest. It's really unfair but I wouldn't bust a gut keeping up with someone who has no responsibilities outside of work and is so ambitious.

I have similar but with an older child free female colleague. She's actually less experienced and qualified than me and I do more work but in fewer days but underpinning important work whereas she does lots of after work networking and is offered high profile but very easy projects. Just able to make herself more visible. I had to take a day off with a poorly toddler this week and missed a meeting with a potential new client which she is now taking forward. Again, something high profile but easy.

I can't get wound up about it. I know she will get promoted before me though is unfair and I'm much more qualified and able but count my blessings. Part time relatively enjoyable job plus two great kids.

Working parents will always get left behind if we are part time. Awful but requires a culture change.

gaffatape Thu 07-Dec-17 22:01:57

Thanks to you both for your replies, we appreciate it. It's really helped us to look at the situation afresh and she feels less like she's losing her mind. Thanks all x

CountFosco Thu 07-Dec-17 22:16:26

I have worked 4 days a week for years and have managed a team of 6-9 people. It really isn't a problem and it's a shit excuse to remove some of her responsibilities, what does HR say about it? If she and boy wonder are equal grade then the line management should be split and they should cover for each other.

In my experience it can be busy the morning after your day at home while your staff update you on the status of their work but otherwise most competent employees can survive for a day without their manager and if there are any issues there should be a clear line of accountability for escalation of urgent issues. It's not like she's out of the office for days at a time.

CountFosco Thu 07-Dec-17 22:18:28

But if they are being shit to her she should start looking for another job.

Beansprout30 Sat 16-Dec-17 20:52:39

Sounds like a very similar situation to what I returned to after maternity leave. It really knocked my confidence and I found it very hard for a good few months. Now 7 months into being back, I'm glad I've no longer got the full responsibility, I let my colleague crack on and deal with the stress and I enjoy my 4 day working week. In the meantime I've taken on a distance learning course and expecting another baby so I'm going to stick with my job while it suits me while my kids are young and demanding then when I feel the time is right, look to start again elsewhere

It is crap the way women are treated when returning to work

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