Well it’s been another unpleasant week! I’ll give a quick update on the employment front, then will focus on the much more important pregnancy update (although there’s really nothing groundbreaking to report!).
I wrote last week about the latest employment battle I’m having. It’s pretty unbearable right now, I won’t lie.
This week started off with my weekly meeting with the Evil Female Partner. Back in March I tried to take two days off sick and was told I had to work one of them (as well as being told I may not be allowed to go to L’d funeral). I spoke to HR about this, who consequentially told Evil Female Partner that she couldn’t stop me taking sick leave, especially while I am pregnant. As a result of this, I was dragged into a meeting with Evil Male Partner and told that the partners in the team had questions about my “transparency”. Not a very nice accusation at the best of times, but especially when I have been nothing but transparent along the way and have bent over backwards to do everything (e.g. always letting them know about appointments, always letting them know where I am, telling them about my pregnancy early etc). As a result of this, I was told I needed to have weekly meetings with Evil Female Partner to “make sure that [I] am coping with workload” (but basically, to monitor me throughout the week). It is mortifying and I cannot begin to explain how much I loathe these meetings. She regularly comes out with comments such as “my problem is that I just care too much about people” (odd, because everyone in the team thinks she’s a manipulative, bullying, sociopath) and then proceeds to give me a list of all the things I have done wrong that week.
This week, the main thing I had done wrong was not tell another partner that I DEFINITELY couldn’t do her work. Which was odd, seeing as the other partner specifically told me to wait until after my meeting with Evil Female Partner.
Evil Female Partner then went on to discuss my email to Evil Male Partner the previous week in which I had reminded him that I had been advised by my GP to work no more than 9-5 given my pregnancy and commute (and the work-related anxiety I am suffering from, although obviously I did not mention this). She then had the audacity to casually mention that “if [I] genuinely need to work those sorts of hours [they] may need to put me on maternity leave early”. WTAF?
It turns out that in the UK your employer may put you on maternity leave early if you’re within 4 weeks of your EDD and you are off sick (as in, signed off sick for a period of time, not just the moment you take a sick day).
It is just outrageous to suggest that I should be put onto maternity leave NOW.
Throughout the week she has been a total nightmare and has criticised every single thing I do. In particular, she sent me an email criticising my attention to detail over a piece of work and how it was of a really poor standard. It turned out that she had read a previous version of the document I was working on, not the “final” version (in which I had amended and updated all the points she accused me of having missed). When I pointed this out to her, instead of apologising she just pointed out something else I had apparently got wrong.
Thankfully I had an appointment with my GP yesterday and spoke to her about everything that had been going on. She was brilliant and told me she was so angry on my behalf. She has given me a ‘fit to work’ note stating that I must not work more than 9-5 and have to work at least one day a week from home. The partners are going to be livid and they will almost certainly make my life hell as a result of it.
Part of me feels embarrassed for my own professional pride that this is what things have come to. More so, however, I just feel angry that they have pushed me to this point and yet all they will do from here is criticise me amongst themselves and within the wider team.
At the end of the day though, I feel I have nothing to gain by killing myself to do everything. I did that for years and it got me nowhere with them. I tried so hard for years and hoped to build some goodwill, and I have tried so hard whilst pregnant, but they are making it impossible for me to do my job and their constant aggression is making me ill.
Now I am finally pregnant, which is all I have wanted for years, I am not going to do anything to risk harming my baby.
I am trying to stay positive about the future and also about my career prospects. I feel like I am stuck in this job because I simply cannot afford to leave at this point (to explain – if I hand in my notice before I have been back for six months I lose my maternity pay, which we simply can’t afford). It is a horrible feeling to think that you are trapped somewhere so miserable, but that you do not really have the option to leave. I have however been looking regularly at other jobs and a few have come up closer to where I live and for a better salary. It’s something to explore while on maternity leave, but perhaps if I were able to get a better job with a better salary which is closer to home, we could then afford for me to stick two fingers up at my current employer sooner rather than later. Just the hope of being able to get out soon makes me start to feel much better!