When I was due to go back to work after my maternity leave I was pretty much screwed by my previous employers. I didn’t write about it here at the time because for one I didn’t want to upset them, and two I didn’t realise just how much they screwed me until recently – or how much being a working mummy often means you get screwed over.
I had been with my previous company 6 years nearly. I fell pregnant at an awkward time for the company but that wasn’t my problem. A month or so after I told the management of my pregnancy they had to move me to a different office because of a change of teams, a commute away, but they were actually really good with everything to be honest, paying for my travel and ensure. I was moved back to my normal office two and a half month later because of a reshuffle and everything was peachy. I was in a senior type of role and I worked my ass off to make sure I was seen as irreplaceable while there; working late and through lunch to make sure everything was done.
The issues started just before I went on leave. They interviewed for my temporary replacement just a week before I was due to go… putting stress on me because I didn’t know what would happen to my role if I wasnt there to train my cover. I then was told that they weren’t replacing me and that the existing team would share my role out. This was going to cause a strain to the team but I let them do it because I knew it wouldn’t be long before they would see that it was almost impossible for them to do my own workload as well as their own.
So I went on leave. About a week after, when I was technically still on holiday rather than maternity leave as Spike still wasn’t due for another 2 weeks (and wouldn’t arrive for another 4) I was called, and told that the company was being taken over, nothing would change and there was nothing to worry about. I naively thought that was the case.
So 7 months into my maternity, I organised a meeting with my team leader and the general manager. I went in there with a full outline of what I wanted when I went back. I wanted to have more responsibility and I told them exactly what I wanted to do to help them achieve their goals if they gave me that responsibility. I wanted to focus more on certain aspects of my role and increase the company’s presence in the industry. I wanted to be awesome for them… and I wanted to do it with a little extra money and two days working from home.
They told me they needed to think about things and that I would have to wait for a response from them once they’d spoken to the new head office. Then I got called back in. The wage I requested wasn’t possible and my wage wouldn’t shift slightly, company policy. Also there was ‘no working from home policy’ and I couldn’t do that. Thirdly, they had employed two people while I was off and they were doing some parts of my job, so I would no longer be doing that but don’t worry because they had some new stuff (that they’d tried and failed to launch previously) that they wanted me to be in charge of. So what did I want to do?
I was fuming. I was basically being told to go back full time, but if I wanted part time it would be possible for a few months during a settling in period…. and that my job wasn’t mine any more. I also found out that the two people they’d brought in to do parts of my role… they were both on more than me and one of those roles; that I would have applied for while I was off had I known about it, was advertised at £7K a year more than what I was on…
I was so mad I accepted their ‘terms’ but started looking for something else. I found a part time job and left them just as I was due to go back. My leave had finished but I was due holidays so I took them and went. They paid me off to do this too. Gave me my leave, plus all the holidays I was due and pay for my ‘notice period.’
It wasn’t until I’d already gone that My dad said that they paid me what they did because they knew I could have probably screwed them over in a tribunal if I went back… But to be honest I didn’t want the hassle.
I started work part time in a web design company and was enjoying it. It was boring some of the time with few clients that actually needed copy writing but I was plodding along when disaster struck again. I hit my 3 month probation end and I was bored, there was no work on and the director was away. He came back a week and a half later and told me there would be a meeting the following week about my probation ending. I waited, and waited, and the meeting came and I was told that as there was no work my contract would be brought to an end. I have no idea if what he did was even legal as, at this point, my probation period was already over… but never mind. He kept me on ‘freelance’ cutting my hours and my hourly rate so that I was on around the same as maternity leave pay… whilst having to fork out for childcare both days I used to be in the office because the hours weren’t cut enough to save anything there either.
I’d thankfully already secured a second job, weekend/evening work that didn’t cost anything with childcare and was mostly during the hours Spike was asleep! so I had that to fall back on but I have spent the last 2 months living on barely anything, spending only on Spike when I have needed to because she can’t go without clothes or food.
I started looking for a new role immediately and discovered that there was little to no chance of getting another part time role. There was just nothing really about! I applied and applied and there was nothing coming through for me at all. Finally at the beginning of August I was called by 2 companies, interested in me and wanting me to come in for an interview. That somehow got the ball rolling and I got call after call. There was a week in August that I had one, if not two interviews a day.
I’ve been offered something that is exactly what I need and want. But it is full time. I am not really relishing the idea of being a full time working mummy but I know my Spike is settled at nursery now and loves it and there will be no problems there, and that it will be the best for me and the family. I’m hoping that this is my new start and its a good one for me and my little family unit, meaning we can finally start saving for our own house and be able to actually go out for fun family days out without having to worry so much about the cost! I see more and more trips to the zoo in our future and possibly holidays!!
Wish me luck with it all, I’m sure you’ll find out more about it once I’ve started!