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Silly work comments.......Retorts

(34 Posts)
lightsandshapes Sat 18-Jun-11 08:09:26

I chaired a high powered board meeting today. I am 21 weeks pregnant. At the end of the meeting an out of town colleague announced to the entire board 'so, I hear that you're about to display a lack of commitment. What cover has been arranged?' not necessary!!! Then later on, 'so how long are you taking off?' to which I replied 'a year'. To which he responded 'and just popping back to pick up your pension?' surely there are laws against those kind of comments.

Another clueless colleague tried to convince me that as my cover is 0.4, my boss was trying to see if the job could be done in half the time. I politely reminded him thats what employment tribunals are for!

Another said, 'makes sure u use all your keep in touch day's.' like I'm gonna give a shit once I'm on leave!!!

Grumpla Sat 18-Jun-11 08:17:20

Charming. I'd make a formal grievance now. If these kinds of comments are being bandied about to your face I'd be seriously worried about leaving them a year to plot behind your back.

Does he have kids? If he was 'only joking' then some witty retorts along the lines of you having a civic duty to breed in order to balance out the gene pool might be in order...

Makey Sat 18-Jun-11 08:30:08

I'd raise a grievance and report him, eith that or punch his lights out haha.
Ignorant sod!

ajandjjmum Sat 18-Jun-11 08:31:34

Those comments are disgraceful, as is your 'like I'm gonna give a shit once I'm on leave'.

figgygal Sat 18-Jun-11 09:57:38

My boss told me not to talk about it the other day as details of me getting fat and bring scared of giving birth apparently is graphic and makes people on team (who are all women) who have chosen not to have kids uncomfortable also I need to be mindful not to upset 1 lady who has had 2 MCs. I couldn't even be arsed responding to her as I hardly even mention it unless someone asks and she's been in the office once in 3 weeks so doesn't know what I've been saying. Some people are just idiots but in your case I would raise it with your boss as that is completely innaproproate and I can't believe company wouldn't want to nip it in bud as they will be liable if it continues not the individuals concerned.

Jill72 Sat 18-Jun-11 10:02:01

My headteacher, who has no kids herself, suggested that I could use my maternity to re-plan my subject curriculum, syllabus and research and prepare for new exam boards!!!!! She clearly thinks I am going to be sitting around twiddling my thumbs!!

However the way you were spoken to is out of order and I would look at complaining

allegrageller Sat 18-Jun-11 10:08:54

'so, I hear that you're about to display a lack of commitment. What cover has been arranged?

WOAH. If that is the way that pregnancy is seen in the work world...we've got problems girls. What a WANKER. But really someone else on the board should have pulled him up on that.

eurochick Sat 18-Jun-11 10:10:24

Those comments were out of order, but given your comment about being on leave, maybe they had a point about lack of commitment??? They still should not have said it though.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Sat 18-Jun-11 10:16:22

I would ensure they had been minutes and raise it further completly unprofessional and could easily have enquired about cover without the horrible comments.

Jill72 Sat 18-Jun-11 10:30:12

Back of girls!!! Are you really having a dig for lightsandshapes of the cuff comment about being off on leave!!! I wouldn't feel like giving a shit for a company willing to treat me like that and could easily see myself making a similar emotive comment - in fact I have and my own HT response to my leave makes me feel pissed off that she is obviously not willing to support a woman bringing a new life into the world. Life is about give and take and if that is the attitude of her colleagues why should she give a shit!!!

inspireme Sat 18-Jun-11 10:39:08

agree with Jill72 it was a throw away comment as the OP is obviously pissed off- typical of a lot of people on here to zone in on that one comment- I would imagine you would all feel the same in her position!!

jenna13 Sat 18-Jun-11 10:46:29

I can't believe anyone would say that you lightsandshapes, thats really awful. I suddenly feel really lucky that everyone where i work has been brilliant. I'd definately make an offical complaint and start keeping a record of any other comments anyone says.

MrsNJDrury Sat 18-Jun-11 10:48:18

I would deffinately not stand for any comments like this at work, even if he was joking, his 'jokes' are not funny and a pregnant woman is not the one to try them on!! angry

I agree with Jill72 and inspireme how can anyone comment on the fact that she said she wont give a shit once she has left for maternity leave, would you care about a company who clearly doesnt care about you? I know I wouldnt. Enjoy your time off with your beautiful new baby or worry about work I know what I will be doing. smile

icravecheese Sat 18-Jun-11 10:52:51

I am assuming it was a man / men making these comments? Unfortunately I encountered similar 'witty' comments like this from the men on my team when preg with DS1 5 yrs ago... I worked in quite a male dominated team & came to realise that they just didn't realise they were being totally insensitive, inappropriate & darn right rude. I had to endure comments on my weight, bust size etc. Some men just don't realise when they've crossed the line, they actually think its funny banter.

Easy to say, difficult to do, but just try to ignore....I doubt they mean any harm from their comments, they're trying to be funny (in a bad way!) & I expect their wives / girlfriends would be horrified if they discovered they'd spoken to a pregnant woman in that way.

If you can, try and think of some acid, witty remarks back - I had a few up my sleeve after the first few comments thrown at me.... they silenced the culprits pretty quickly & made them look like total arses in front of everyone else. They shut up pretty soon after that!

MainlyMaynie Sat 18-Jun-11 11:17:27

I'd try not to take it too seriously, the only way to deal with 'banter' like this without being seen as an hysterical woman is to give as good as you get. I'd have responded with something like, 'at least I'll have the baby as an excuse, what's yours?' And the colleague re the keep in touch days, did they mean it badly or were they just encouraging you to make sure you got the ten days extra pay?

People made loads of jokes to me about my funny SPD walking and then crutches, but in fact were really good about looking after me. We had an ongoing joke about them bringing me issues and saying something like 'now this is about something happening after May, can you be arsed to show an interest?' and me saying things like, 'I'll make an effort to fake it, but talk quickly'. It's easy to get over-sensitive about stuff when you're pregnant, but people generally don't mean things badly.

ajandjjmum Sat 18-Jun-11 11:43:11

So it's not OK for a colleague to make an off the cuff comment as a joke but it is OK for the op to make an off the cuff comment and expect it to be treated as a joke.

I do think sometimes women are their own worst enemies - MainlyMaynie - I think you method of dealing with it is spot on.

lightsandshapes Sat 18-Jun-11 12:59:05

Thank you for these comments everyone, yes I think he thought he was being witty, but got it so wrong....

ajandmum - do you expect me to be worrying about my company when I am not there and have a lovely new baby to play with? The world will not cave in if I am following my own path and doing what I want to do thank you very much!

Jill72 Sat 18-Jun-11 13:03:55


BuffyFan Sat 18-Jun-11 13:34:07

My trainee thinks it's hysterical when I get annoyed at him for talking about another lady who's off on mat leave as being on holiday angry He seems to think it's OK to talk about her "holiday note" to anybody else, but then looks at me and says "I keep forgetting you're pregnant".

It's not annoying because I'm pregnant, it's annoying because he's being a git!

kelli10 Sat 18-Jun-11 14:13:50

ajandjjmum - perhaps you are intellectually able to comprehend the difference between making a comment on a forum designed to support mums to be in the difficulties faced during pregnancy, or perhaps not!

lightsandshapes - feel free to vent all and any comments on here, perhaps not while at work. Sounds like you have grounds for a grievance against whoever felt it appropriate to make these comments. Not acceptable in the workplace!

lightsandshapes Sat 18-Jun-11 14:48:11

thank you kelli10 smile

He was actually from another company and was there as a kind of 'invited speaker' so don't think I can't take a grievance out on him in that case....

Jilly72 - can't believe your headteacher! These people really don't think!

mainly, icrave and others, I like the idea of having some one-liners up your sleave and 'giving as good as you get'... and counting down the days.... to August when holiday starts (with maternity straight after)!

Mum2be79 Sat 18-Jun-11 15:07:22

When I got back to work, I was hauled into the office by my boss (mother of a 7 and 4 year old) and told off for telling MY FRIENDS (who happen to be colleagues) before I informed my employer (i.e. her!). I walked out and burst into tears. She knew she upset me and I was called into the office again almost a week later to which I informed her that I told my FRIENDS via HOME COMMUNICATIONS. Not sure whether she understood or just gave up! At the bottom of it, I think she felt a bit left out.

I've calmed down now though. Generally, she's a really nice person. I think she operated mouth before engaging brain. Either that or she's completely unaware that I don't HAVE to inform my employer until 15 weeks before the EDD.

ajandjjmum Sat 18-Jun-11 15:20:01

OP - there's a difference between worrying and not giving a shit. Of course you shouldn't be worrying, you should be enjoying your baby.

kelli - absolutely I can - and I also appreciate that MN is a great place to vent. Just think it's pretty sad that the vent includes what is tantamount to 'couldn't give a shit about my company and my colleagues'.

OP - you chaired a high-powered meeting, you're obviously senior and well thought of in your organisation. I'm sure you've dealt with prattish comments from men and women during your career - this is just another one for you to handle.

lightsandshapes Sat 18-Jun-11 15:37:20

ajandjjmum, Of course I give a shit about my company and colleauges. That's not what I said. When I'm away I won't care because I know they will have excellent cover in place and systems which have been running for years before I started. It is a university employing 2000 plus people, many of whom going off on maternity leave and things do not grind to a halt. I'm not really sure what you are suggesting, other than being annoying. Don't worry, I don't expect you to understand since you're not in my shoes.

Mum2, that's crazy of your boss too. I think sometimes people let their egos get out of control. I think the best thing in these situations is to parrot out the legal governmental guidelines on these things - as you say you don't HAVE to inform an employer until 15 weeks before the EDD

kelli10 Sat 18-Jun-11 16:12:01

ajandjjmum - perhaps a forum which is more censored would be more preferable for you. I suggest you find one and keep your judgements to yourself.

This is a safe space for supportive comments. If not, perhaps I'm the one who is confused and need to find a space where I and other mums like me can say whatever we like without fear of ignorant comebacks from people who clearly take themselves too seriously.

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