Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Working Moms Working Moms

Unequal treatment by boss

Posted by on Sep. 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM
  • 6 Replies

I am 34 weeks pregnant and this past week I had the most horrible cold ever.  It started last weekend and progressively got worse until Thursday I finally went to the doctors and got some medication (antibiotics and cough meds with codeine, yes, it was THAT bad). 

Anyway, I work in the communications department of a state government agency and on Wednesday we received a phone call from the Governor's Office wanting us to put out a press release regarding a rather high profile issue ASAP.  We are a team of three, my boss is the lead, then myself and another coworker (who is the same level as I am but has only been with the agency for about a month).  My boss asked me to pull it together because my coworker is "too slow" at writing and this was a tight turnaround.  She's right - I am a much faster writer than my co-worker and I've been dealing with the issue for six months so it made sense for me to do it.

On Thursday, I left work at lunchtime to go to the doctor's because I was just feeling crappy. The doctor told me I needed to stay home from work on Friday and get some rest.  I went home and took the cough meds with codeine and seriously, it knocked me out (which I really really really needed it!)  I slept for most of the afternoon and woke up at 7pm when my boss called my personal cell (rather than my work cell - this is our code for "it's an emergency!")   Without asking me how I was feeling, she went into a diatribe about a whole other issue and she needed to make sure I'd be in the next morning so I could write another press release (for which I could ONLY get the information I needed by attending a meeting in person).   This particular release wasn't needed until Monday morning.  I told her my doctor had told me to stay home the next day but I would come in just for the meeting and then go home.   I ended up staying the whole day.

Yes, part of this is my fault for not saying "no".  But I don't get is, the second release didn't have an "urgent" deadline, so why couldn't my co-worker do it?  I had to learn all of the ropes of the job by being thrown in the fire myself when the previous person who had my co-worker's job quit/walked out two weeks after I started.

This isn't the first time my boss has piled work on me instead of my coworker because she didn't "trust" her to do it.  Yet, she isn't giving my coworker the training she needs to do it.   I guess she's going to get the baptism by fire when I go on maternity leave in a few weeks.  (Which is a whole 'nother can of worms -- my boss is pushing for the six week maternity leave minimum because I'm not eligible for FMLA.  I'd like at least 8 weeks. Ugh!)

Thanks for letting me vent! 

by on Sep. 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-6):
deccaf
by Platinum Member on Sep. 22, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Oh I am so sorry you have to deal with this.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Babujai
by Bronze Member on Sep. 23, 2012 at 1:40 AM
Being a valuable asset at work can be a double-edged sword. Been there. Good luck getting all the maternity leave you want.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
ShaunnaMichelle
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 2:01 AM

That sucks that you have to deal with that. Normally I'd say to tell them to pound sand, but it's not exactly the greatest time to be job hunting if you make someone mad. I hope you are able to find some time to rest so you can get well. 

4healthyeats
by on Sep. 23, 2012 at 7:09 AM

That is so crummy. Hope you are feeling much better.

I also work in a state government agency. Although I did qualify for the FMLA for both kids.  Each time I went on Maternity Leave my stuff just sat their waiting for my return deadlines or not. I had made detailed lists of things that should be done, what a waste that was.  The first leave experience with DS1, I had 6 months off (all unpaid of course).

But the second time with DS2 I didn't want 6 months worth of work waiting for me, so I took 8 weeks. Then I returned 3days a week (much smoother) and then 4 days around the 6month ppd. Maybe you could try the modified return at 6 weeks and stretch it till baby is 1yrold. This also worked out better for sick leave. I could scheduled all dr appts (and there are a lot even if baby is ubber healthy no issues and rarely sick) on my off days.

As an aside, not that you looking for solutions here but I wanted to share some thoughts that may help you. Many of this may have already crossed your mind. I mean no offense just offering perspective:

It sounds like you just discovered why previous person with co-worker's position up and left, possibly similar treatment? As in the boss may not have "trusted" you and maybe dumped on them. Interesting pattern if its true. How long has your boss been in that position? Your boss is probably experiencing lots of anxiety and stress over an extended period of time with all the personnel changes (beyond just your maternity leave) or maybe worried you will decide to stay home or maybe dealing with very serious problems of their own that they don't want to share. 

Government work is a lot more stressful then the general population understands especially at the level you are. Whenever I've had bosses past, present, and future, I try not to take anything, like what your boss did, personally.  I would have a heart to heart and try to find out what is stressing them. It has been my experience (on most occasions, not all) that when I've approached my boss with professional compassion and understanding, it has been reciprocated without saying "hey what you did wasn't the best thing to do to me while I was sick".  They usually realize that in their on time and will appreciate your maturity and grace later and if they are socially aware will apologize without being prompted. My approach though varies with personality.  Does your boss have kids? Do they know what to expect and how the maternity leave will work and do they realize all the dr appts you'll have to go to, all the unplanned sick days that may happen and your plans/strategies for these?

Be open and honest that you want 8 weeks, then if you want, pitch the modified return with a longer time frame.  Then the boss will see you are flexible and trying to find a compromise and want to help them. Share your expectations and vision of the return. If they had kids find out what it was like when they worked with young ones.  It may help them remember this time will go by so fast and will only be a small blip in the career timeline.

Sorry for the ramble-y nature. It's early and I wanted to share that before the kids got up.
ColeAreeaJet
by Member on Sep. 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Thank you so much for your reply!  Nice to know I'm not the only government worker to have to deal with this kind of stuff!   The previous co-worker who left right after I started, left for a combination of political, health and stress reasons. 

My boss started just before the New Year this year and basically, from what I understand, came in and reorganized the entire division and completely changed the focus of the work.  It's work that I am used to doing so it's really not a huge difference to me, but the previous co-worker couldn't handle the higher workload and extra stress.   I started at the beginning of April, the person who had my job before me was reassigned due to sexual harrassment allegations against him (so you can kind of get an idea of what my boss walked into when she started!)

I do know that she has had a lot of health issues the last few months.  She was out for two weeks in August for surgery.  She is not married and does not have any kids.  She actually confided in me, when I told her I was pregnant, that she had been struggling for years to get pregnant (she is engaged, but I don't judge - I was single when I got pregnant with my oldest!).  Her assistant thinks she's been undergoing some sort of fertility treatment this year, just due to her calendar and notes she makes on certain appointments.   She is almost 40 so I can understand the stress she is under if she truly wants to have a baby.

I had mentioned to her that I'd like to work from home one day a week after the baby is born.  Everyone else in our office (except for her and me) telecommutes one day a week.  She said we could talk about it when the time comes.   I also mentioned that during my last maternity leave with DS2 I had started working 8-10 hours/week from home after 3 weeks and I wouldn't mind doing that again if she truly didn't think she could make it that long without me.  I did tell her that if the baby ended up being born c-section, my doctor would not clear me to go back to work for 8 weeks.  I don't want a c-section (LOL) but part of me won't complain if I need one! 

On a side note: HER boss (the head of the agency) told her in a meeting (that I didn't attend), that she needed to make sure I was off through the holidays.  I know about that because his assistant, who was in the meeting, told me.  I'm holding on to that card, in case I need it!

Quoting 4healthyeats:


That is so crummy. Hope you are feeling much better.

I also work in a state government agency. Although I did qualify for the FMLA for both kids.  Each time I went on Maternity Leave my stuff just sat their waiting for my return deadlines or not. I had made detailed lists of things that should be done, what a waste that was.  The first leave experience with DS1, I had 6 months off (all unpaid of course).

But the second time with DS2 I didn't want 6 months worth of work waiting for me, so I took 8 weeks. Then I returned 3days a week (much smoother) and then 4 days around the 6month ppd. Maybe you could try the modified return at 6 weeks and stretch it till baby is 1yrold. This also worked out better for sick leave. I could scheduled all dr appts (and there are a lot even if baby is ubber healthy no issues and rarely sick) on my off days.


As an aside, not that you looking for solutions here but I wanted to share some thoughts that may help you. Many of this may have already crossed your mind. I mean no offense just offering perspective:

It sounds like you just discovered why previous person with co-worker's position up and left, possibly similar treatment? As in the boss may not have "trusted" you and maybe dumped on them. Interesting pattern if its true. How long has your boss been in that position? Your boss is probably experiencing lots of anxiety and stress over an extended period of time with all the personnel changes (beyond just your maternity leave) or maybe worried you will decide to stay home or maybe dealing with very serious problems of their own that they don't want to share. 

Government work is a lot more stressful then the general population understands especially at the level you are. Whenever I've had bosses past, present, and future, I try not to take anything, like what your boss did, personally.  I would have a heart to heart and try to find out what is stressing them. It has been my experience (on most occasions, not all) that when I've approached my boss with professional compassion and understanding, it has been reciprocated without saying "hey what you did wasn't the best thing to do to me while I was sick".  They usually realize that in their on time and will appreciate your maturity and grace later and if they are socially aware will apologize without being prompted. My approach though varies with personality.  Does your boss have kids? Do they know what to expect and how the maternity leave will work and do they realize all the dr appts you'll have to go to, all the unplanned sick days that may happen and your plans/strategies for these?

Be open and honest that you want 8 weeks, then if you want, pitch the modified return with a longer time frame.  Then the boss will see you are flexible and trying to find a compromise and want to help them. Share your expectations and vision of the return. If they had kids find out what it was like when they worked with young ones.  It may help them remember this time will go by so fast and will only be a small blip in the career timeline.

Sorry for the ramble-y nature. It's early and I wanted to share that before the kids got up.


annasmom1234
by on Sep. 24, 2012 at 9:55 AM

I am so sorry!  There's no excuse for being treated that way.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN