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AIBU?

To not want to swallow my pride!

82 replies

Mrslewski · 15/06/2017 10:10

I made my personal assistant of 15 years redundant back in July.

It wasn't a decision that was taken lightly but we couldn't afford her position anymore. Cuts had to be made and I felt I could manage my job without a personal assistant.

We already have a team of admin staff and it was decided the PA's work would be separated between them and one extra admin assistant brought in. We offered her the opportunity to be the admin assistant but she refused.

She has been very happy working for us and made sure to let us know she understood the decision and love working for us.

Fast forward a year and we have realised we made a massive mistake. We never appreciated how hard she worked, her 'can do' attitude, her ability to know what needed to be done without being told, how she completed tasks to such a high standard and and more. She never needed to be told what needed to be done. She just knew.


Yes this experience meant she had a salary of 30k but it was worth it.

We've had a string of people since that didn't even come close. Our reviews online have gone from over 90% to 60% with delays and poor service now commonplace.

We're not falling apart but my days are spend having to tell the assistants what to do and this slows down processes and means delays and poor customer service. I'm doing twice the work by having to spell out what needs to be done all the time.

The admin assistants are not poor workers. They just don't work closely with me so can't know to the same standard what needs to be done. I also think my old PA had particularly good initiative.


We're going to make an assistant manager position and offer it to my old PA. she will get a salary of 45k.

We don't know if she will accept this but she is currently on 26k so I think she will.

I was planning to explain that while we couldn't afford her as a PA, we have realised an assistant manager position was necessary and we felt she would be a very good choice for the position.

My Manager says he doesn't want to run the risk of her declining and so he feels I should explain that we've realised we made an error of judgement and we do in fact need her services at the company. For this reason we'd like to offer her a position higher than what she had before and would love to welcome her back at the company if she accepted the offer.

But, I don't want to admit we were wrong. I accept it in myself but I don't want to have to work with her day in day out knowing we couldn't cope without her and having to swallow my pride. It will be even worse if she doesn't accept!

AIBU to word it like I want not my other manager? I don't want to swallow my pride!

OP posts:
nina2b · 15/06/2017 10:12

Are you asking a parenting forum to help you make a "business" decision. Hmm

alltouchedout · 15/06/2017 10:14

But, I don't want to admit we were wrong. I accept it in myself but I don't want to have to work with her day in day out knowing we couldn't cope without her and having to swallow my pride

What matters more, the business or your 'pride'?

FruBayerischOla · 15/06/2017 10:14

Um, I think you are going to have to swallow your pride! A good PA is worth their weight in gold. I think the only chance you have of enticing her back is to admit you made a bad mistake and that you know she is more than up to the more senior position.

shinyredbus · 15/06/2017 10:16

You made a mistake - just tell her! Why would you not want her to feel good, she is brilliant - you said so yourself. You need her - just swallow your pride, and get her back on board! Smile

minisoksmakehardwork · 15/06/2017 10:18

Swallow your pride! In the job I used to work in, PA was much, much higher than AA so I'm not surprised she declined that offer.

There is no harm in admitting that your position does not require a PA anymore but actually her experience means she would be idea for the managerial position within the wider administrative office.

NellieFiveBellies · 15/06/2017 10:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SinglePringle · 15/06/2017 10:18

Swallow your pride. I wouldn't accept the job - regardless of the increased salary - unless I knew I was working for a boss who was prepared to accept they made mistakes.

BewtySkoolDropowt · 15/06/2017 10:19

Just say 'a position for an assistant manager has come up. We really valued the work you did while you were here and would like to know if you would be interested. It would involve blah and comes with a salary of blah'.

That way you aren't offering the post, you are just sounding her out, and also letting her know how much you valued her at the same time.

StormTreader · 15/06/2017 10:20

Pride in what? Isnt it more a source of pride to be able to admit you made a mistake?
Youre asking her to swallow her pride in coming back to a workplace that has already said once "we didnt value what you did and thought you werent worth the money", you realise if you are not apologetic about how she was treated she wouldnt be unreasonable in turning you down?

livefornaps · 15/06/2017 10:21

Why can't you apologise? She was gracious about losing her job after working flat out for you - why can't you also show a bit of humility? She put a brave face on things but can you not imagine how devastating it must have been to have shown nothing but 100% commitment to something and then be let go? If you don't apologise and own up that it was a mistake that meant you realise just how much of an asset she is then you would be a fool.

FakePlasticTeaLeaves · 15/06/2017 10:23

Are you asking a parenting forum to help you make a "business" decision. Why can't she ask us? We a bit thick?

I would swallow your pride. It will be extremely motivational for her to hear. You could always balance it by saying this position has come up, and because on reflection you now fully appreciate the value she inputed, she is the number one choice for the role. I am really pleased for her to be getting the recognition she deserves.

Mrslewski · 15/06/2017 10:24

bewty that's exactly what I was going to write.

Other manager thinks we need to make very clear we made a mistake and for that reason want her back.

OP posts:
BitOutOfPractice · 15/06/2017 10:27

Has it crossed your mind that she has pride to swallow too, if she comes back?

I think it's a real sign of strength and leadership to admit you made a mistake. And she will respect you all the more for saying it.

I'd have a jokey conversation with her on her first day back and say "right, you can say 'I told you so!' once" and then it's back to business" or something like that and it'll all be grand.

Good luck. I hope she accepts.

Mylittlestsunshine · 15/06/2017 10:29

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparechange · 15/06/2017 10:29

I think it would be good to tell her you made a mistake in letting her go, but you don't want her to think she has got you over a barrel and can name her price and terms, or you'll end up paying her a lot more than £45k!

LooksBetterWithAFilter · 15/06/2017 10:30

I think it takes a big person to admit they were wrong and I'd have far more respect for someone who did. Why do you feel it's an issue of pride? Why do you think you shouldn't admit the mistake?

CaptainHarville · 15/06/2017 10:31

If she comes back surely the office chat will mean she'll find out pretty quickly that she was missed. She's obviously not stupid and if her job as pa and manager overlap she'll know you did need her after all. She's going to have more respect for you and probably feel more certain about taking the job if you admit that you were wrong to let her go.

YouWouldntLetItLie · 15/06/2017 10:35

Completely agree with those saying it's a sign of strength to admit you were wrong but isn't this a bit apples and oranges? You might have been wrong to underestimate her contribution but you still needed to make budget cuts and were doing what you thought was the right thing at the time - making the PA position redundant. Now the situation has changed and you're able to offer her a different job, at a better salary - not her old job back, but one which reflects her abilities, which the company now realises were well beyond an admin assistant's remit to begin with.

implantsandaDyson · 15/06/2017 10:42

How is it affecting your pride? You made quite a big error in judgement, you're trying to fix it. She mightn't want to come back, regardless of the salary. Her new post although not as well paid, might be working out better for her. I didn't go back to a previous job under slightly similar circumstances (although not as much money as you're talking about) - I didn't feel secure enough in the position on the second go, so I just declined. It sounds a bit like you're taking this all a bit personally.

PinkPeppers · 15/06/2017 10:42

And you think that the old PA will swallow that?
I mean within days of being back in her old job, she will see what is going wrong. The miscommunications, issues with clients that weren't there when she was here etc....

I would tell her that yu really missed her and her skills. Because it's true. And because you want to her to know that she is really appreciated. And because form now on, instead of taking her for granted and assume that what she is doing is easy, you will actually make a point of appreciating the high level that f skills she is bringing (which could star by changing the titled from PA to manager in xxx because you are expecting that level of indépendance from her)

TiggyD · 15/06/2017 10:44

You were wrong to get rid of her and you're wrong not to admit it. If I were in her position I might turn you down if you didn't say you were wrong. I would certainly respect you less.

PinkPeppers · 15/06/2017 10:47

I also agree that you actually have shoot yourself in the foot there.
you have a business that has been heavily relying on ONE person that you have never quite appreciated for what they were actually doing.
Now that person is gone, you are suffering (and so are the ratings for your company).
But somehow you think that a bit more money will be enough to convince her to come back. But wo ever acknowledging that you were wrong, that you didn't truly appreciate her and that you were taking her for granted. and more importantly that, as you have seen the errors of your way, you will NOT do that again

At her place, I would run the opposite way. Because being paid well is one thing but being appreciated and valued within the company is sometimes even more important.

SleepFreeZone · 15/06/2017 10:48

I know where you are coming from because I suspect you are concerned that she will suddenly have all the bargaining power and you don't want her back for 6 months and wanting a pay rise.

If you are sure she is on a 26k salary, why do you think she wouldn't jump at the chance of a 45k even? Did you leave on bad terms?

ToastDemon · 15/06/2017 10:48

Just admit you made a mistake. It's a great sign of character being able to admit you were in the wrong and say sorry. And it will probably mean a lot to her and hopefully get your new working relationship off to a great start.

Crunchymum · 15/06/2017 10:50

Quite frankly you need to pull your knickers up, be honest and tell her you made a mistake and you have a new position / better benefits to show her your appreciation of all she brings to your business.

I hope she accepts, although not sure I would. Being made redundant is fucking horrible.

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