So my maternity leave finished and my work forgot all about me. Yip, what a way to start off this piece eh?. Lets take it back a bit and explain a little back story.
After our wee one died I was broken and couldn’t find a way back to the life I once had, the job I had, the places I went, some friends I had and even the business I ran. So around 3 months into my maternity leave last year I decided it was time to return to work and start the path to some what of a new normal life but the massive issue I had was I didn’t know who I was anymore. What did I enjoy or even did I enjoy anything anymore?. Would I ever enjoy anything again after our child died?. I felt this numbness surrounded by a big ball of fear. Everything was scary to me now. The once outgoing and somewhat confident person I had been was replaced by a broken, grief and anxiety ridden shell. One thing I knew for sure was I didn’t have it in me to continue with the stress and hustle of being self employed anymore. I also knew I didn’t want to return to my career in banking as that chapter had also closed so I decided to try something different. That’s what lead up to me starting employment with a very large well known television company . I figured that since it was such a large bustling place, I could just blend into the background while I tried to pull my shit together somehow while making enough money to pay the bills each month. I didn’t expect much from it and was so surprised to have even got the job as I had heard from people I knew that it was a tough interview process. As my confidence had taken a battering, I also didn’t know what qualities I could possibly provide to an employer anymore. I had also just found out I was pregnant with Leo so my emotions were so confused and I was worried i’d be “no use ” when I would be leaving to go off on maternity leave again. So I kept my hopes high and expectations low. What I wasn’t expecting thought to was to actually be quite good at the job and really like it. I had a great manager who couldn’t have been more supportive and always there if I needed someone to talk to even when I was forever rushing to triage to check Leo was OK and off to extra scans every week. Then when I was really struggling emotionally towards the end of my 2nd trimester and was signed off by the GP he even helped me to bring my maternity leave forward to ease the pressure of losing wages on top everything else I had going on. I was so grateful and don’t know If I ever really could thank him enough for the support shown.
I knew I would be returning part time after my maternity leave finished and was assured that the work would keep in regular contact with me, They would be in touch to chat about shifts and I would be introduced to my new manager before I returned too. I went off feeling positive that at least I could count on one part of my life being seamless over the next year or so and I put any work concerns away to the back of my mind.
Fast forward to May and I had a call from a stand in manager asking when I would be going in for my 10 keeping in touch days and could she just book me in to start it the week after. That call came as a shock and I panicked. I thought KIT days were optional not mandatory. Leo was only around 4 months old and I was still trying to find my feet being a mummy to a baby on earth and one in heaven. I was also struggling with some health issues that I didn’t really feel like going into with someone I had never met before so I declined the keeping in touch days. There were no niceties on the phone call ie How is your baby? How are you feeling ?just straight down to business which is fine I guess as its not a given that companies need to do that it was just such a shock as I was so used my old manager being the polar opposite of abruptness. So fast forward to July and I was starting to worry a bit about the original shifts I had chosen as a few things had came up where I wasn’t going to be able to get childcare for 5 nights a week nor did I feel emotionally strong enough to leave Leo for that length of time just yet. So I got in touch with the stand in manager who advised she wasn’t looking after my team anymore and would have my new manager call me tomorrow to discuss. That day came and went and that day turned into a week then a month and still no phone call from my work to discuss my return to work. The worry was making me ill and I was also dealing with our very stressful house move and what I know now to be Post Natal Depression on top of everything else so it was pretty crappy time. Not helped by being left in limbo and feeling pretty unimportant from an employer. My already rock bottom confidence was taking another battering.
Then one day I woke up with a fire in me. I WAS PISSED OFF! Pissed off that those last few weeks that should be spent soaking in every little bit of time with Leo was tainted by additional worry of not knowing the status of my job. I’m shocked that companies can make you feel so awful during a time when their support should be at one of their highest. I felt even more strongly about this as I was also signed off before my maternity leave with them knowing the full reasoning behind it and I thought that maybe even that reason alone could have triggered a phone call just to simply check in on me from a hunan nature aspect. So I made the very difficult decision that i was buggered if I was going to allow myself to work for a company with such low morals and Steven felt the same. I think everyone in my family did. I may not have a lot of confidence now but I still have a little bit of pride left in me.
So I was due to return on the 23rd August and I decided to wait and see how long it took someone to realise I wasn’t there. I thought i’d at least have a call by the end of the day but nope. Maybe the next day or day after that or day after that?. It was a full week before I had an email from a manager who had been notified I hadn’t been back to work. A WEEK! My anger grew. That manager had explained that the person I spoke to in July had been out of the business which is fair enough but would HR not have even stepped into check why I hadn’t been contacted. What kind of policies does this company abide by . So sadly to preserve what’s left of my own dwindling self worth I have resigned from that post and found myself having to pick myself up and start again.
Im hoping in the long run they’ve done me a favour I guess but at the moment its all just a bit overwhelming. I would love to hear from you if you or anyone you know has had similar experiences with employers? Please ping let me know in the comments or get in touch via my social media.
As Always For Francesca and For Leo.