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AIBU to expect a little bit of support from colleagues who I have regarded as friends for many years?

(7 Posts)
SummerBayDreamer Thu 06-Nov-14 11:37:12

I'm a half term back in work after a year off on maternity leave. I've returned to my management post, working part time. I've been at my school a long time, as have the people in my department who I would consider not just to be work colleagues but also friends as we have socialised a lot out of school over the years, our families know each other, we've seen each other's kids grow up, supported each other through personal problems... You get the picture.

I'm finding however, since returning from mat leave that the dynamic in the department has changed somewhat and people who I once considered fairly easy to work with are being very demanding, at times impatient and unnecessarily abrupt.

On my first day back I was met with a barrage of questions and demands I couldn't answer as they were about decisions and policies that were made while I was off and I really feel that since day one, they have not allowed me time to get back into things. Yes I'm their team leader but they've all had kids so know what it's like to come back to work after a year off and having the demands of a baby to deal with at home. I'm trying my best to do a good job, I share resources much more than other colleagues do, I do my best to support my colleagues and always make time to listen to them and help them with any problems they have. Yet not one of them have asked how I'm getting on, whether I'm coping, whether I need any support. They're very quick to remind me when I've not done something, quick to bend my ear ranting about what has annoyed them and quick to make demands of my time when actually I only get one more free lesson per working week than them to complete my management role.

I'm starting to feel a bit resentful. They don't thank me for the lesson plans and resources I've produced that they use, when I do something that they ask me to do (can't give specific examples as worried this would out me) they don't say thank you. When I fight their corner with senior management or pupils on specific issues, they don't acknowledge it. Ok you might say that's my job and I get paid to do it but does that cancel out any need to thank someone when they do something for you? I'm getting a bit sick of being made to feel inadequate by people I'd previously considered to be friends, who I would have thought would have been more supportive. I know it's a high pressured job and the school is really feeling it at the moment but I'm just disappointed as I didn't think my return would be like this. I'm half tempted to give my management responsibility up and just concentrate on teaching my classes, as they do (which galls me a bit because we're all on UPS but from what I can see, it's only TLR holders that are doing anything for the greater good of the dept).

I'm sorry for the rant, I don't really know what responses I'll get here. It just feels good to get how I'm feeling off my chest! Thank you if you managed to get to the end of this!!

junkfoodaddict Thu 06-Nov-14 16:19:35

Nothing to add except I know how you feel. I am on sick leave and only a handful of staff have wished me well or even bothered with me - a simple text of 'hi, how you doing? Hope to see you back soon' would suffice.
I am on FB and 23 member od staff have never bothered to contact me via private messaging etc. I know they don't have to but it says a lot when they go weeks without so much as a hello .....

echt Fri 07-Nov-14 10:27:21

OK, here goes.

1. If you've been met with a barrage of questions and demands, then this would indicate to me that your absence has possibly not been well-handled.
Make formal notes and take them up with your manager.

2. I hope you put your name on all your resources.

3. You need copies of all decisions, policies made in your absence. Your manager should be able to provide this.

4. Do not expect to be thanked. It's nice when it happens. This is why you need your name on materials, etc.

5. Put the complainers on the spot. Say "what would be the best outcome for you with this problem?" <head tilt>. Write down their response. I assure you they will STFU because no-one likes to propose solutions. Most like to piss and moan.

6. Follow up with emails about what they wanted and what you've done.

7. Sorry, forget the stuff about all having had babies. This is work.I don't mean you are being a wuss, but really, expect nothing.

8. Check with senior managers about input from non-TLR postholders who are UPS. There should be a bottom line of expectation/ requirement.

Happy36 Mon 10-Nov-14 11:21:00

Good advice from echt. Your own manager must take some responsibility for the apparent mess you have walked back into.

VenusRising Mon 10-Nov-14 11:24:45

Also think echt's advice is spot on.

They obviously missed you!

SummerBayDreamer Mon 10-Nov-14 11:36:25

Wise words Echt, thank you. Reading back over my OP, I do sound a bit 'woe is me' but I had just received yet another crappy, abrupt email demanding something of me on my day off, I wasn't feeling well and I suppose a bit 'woe is me!'

You are quite right on every point. I'm going to adopt your response to the moaners. What I try to do is show my support by offering them solutions or trying to sort out the problems but this clearly isn't working. In general I'd like to think I'm the kind of person who would do anything to help anyone but this means that I sometimes feel that people take advantage.

I'm going to start putting my name on my resources. I haven't done previously as I've been happy to share but when I'm getting people texting me over the weekend asking if I've got a worksheet for this or a PowerPoint for that which they can use to save them doing the work themselves, it makes me feel a bit resentful, especially when I would do the work myself rather than expect others to email me stuff over the weekend.

I think I've just got to toughen up a bit. I've obviously invested emotionally more in the friendship side of the relationships with my colleagues than they have, maybe it's time for a bit of friendly professional distance. I will check with my managers about the points Echt has made above re policies and UPS.

Junkfoodaddict - sorry to hear about your situation. I think some people feel awkward getting in contact when someone is off ill but surely a text or FB message just saying "hello, I'm thinking about you" is unobtrusive enough? They're not friends and I'd take them off Facebook for a start! I hope you start to feel better soon!

Thank you for everyone's responses.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Nov-14 23:21:36

If demanding emails on your day off piss you off, then don't open them. It's your day off!

People texting you over the weekend basically asking you to do their planning for you is beyond cheeky. It's not your job. You need to stop being their first port of call. Be busy over the weekend. 'Sorry, didn't pick up your text, you know how it is with young children'. 'Have you tried TES resources?'. You have to prioritise your free time with your baby now over your colleagues.

Oh, and don't expect any support over coming back from maternity leave. A week back after mine I had 'can X from Y school observe your lesson for ideas on creative teaching?'. You have to hit the ground running, you've been away for a year and they've had to shoulder the burden of your absence. They've been waiting a year to have these moans at you!

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