Well you don’t want to read a month by month account of my maternity leave, feeding, nappies and sleepless nights, well you might, but some of it is a bit of a blur, and probably not the most exciting to read! Plus, now as a single mum, working 4 days a week and trying to run the business, I don’t really have the time! So below is a bit of an overview….
I think I can definitely say was the best 10 months of my life. Well the birth, not so much, but everything that followed! After the first few weeks of sleep deprivation, starting to get out and about with my baby, seeing friends on maternity leave, and watching this incredible bundle of joy grow, I couldn’t be happier! As a person who was never that maternal I surprised myself how I felt. I was always the person who complained when children ran about a pub, or shouted on a train, and now I was the complete opposite, it was unbelievable. I really didn’t imagine I would change so much!
Back to work March 2012
I think I could class this as pretty much the worse time in my life. I was going back to work full time, we needed the money after buying our first home while I was on maternity leave. I was the one who pushed for it, so felt like I couldn’t complain about going back too much, but I wanted our own home and some security now we were a family. I didn’t know though that it was going to be so terrible.
The job I left I quite enjoyed, I was working as a Marketing Exec in a global company, and had enjoyed the responsibility I had and also the overseas travel for meetings and events, Germany a few times, Switzerland to their head office, Poland for regional meetings, and the US twice, which was amazing.
When I came back it was a completely different story. My maternity leave cover had a different skill set to me, and had been very active in digital marketing, something I hadn’t been that involved in before, and something that wasn’t in my job description. There had also been a new appointment and I had a new boss. I did actually apply for the role, as it wasn’t that much more senior to doing what I was doing. I knew timing wise it wasn’t probably the nest move, but my partner was self-employed and was happy to take up more of a hands on role with Harry.
My role when I returned to work, had been completely changed. As mentioned I was working on the more digital marketing side, which wasn’t as good as it sounds. As a global company, all the marketing campaigns were translated into 26 languages, so I had to manage the translations and spent about 7 hours a day copy and pasting translations into microsites I had to create. It was horrendous, mind numbing, and something we had a marketing apprentice (on her summer breaks from uni) previously working on.
To then cut a long story short, I phoned ACAS, an organization who resolve employment issues, who said I had a case and met with HR. The HR lady thought I grounds for a complaint, and I took the matter further. There was an investigation, but working in a male dominated manufacturing organization, they concluded that they had done no wrong, and I still worked in marketing and that was that.
I raised a formal grievance, which was terrible stressful, made working life with my new boss, not the best, but as he either worked from home, or was overseas in meetings, it didn’t really matter too much. I kept my head down and got on with it.
The final grievance hearing was terrible, I was told I could take someone in with me, but didn’t as I didn’t imagine how hellish it would be. I sat opposite the Finance and HR Directors, and got completely shot down. Told that was my job, just because I couldn’t travel didn’t mean a change of role, and even though my role and level of responsibility had changed, it was all still within my marketing role remit.
I was gutted, I had to carry on in this horrid role. I started job hunting, but it didn’t last long. I got made redundant a couple of months after the ordeal.
Yes, I can honestly say this was the worst times in my life. I’m sure a lot of women returning to work can relate to this, and have had a terrible ordeal. Plus, the fact that you miss your new baby in ways you can never expect. It truly was terrible. I had time off work for stress during the grievance process and was prescribed some antidepressants, which actually made me feel worse.
Redundancy was the best thing that could have happened. I think the guilt (maybe) of what my employer had done, and having an aggrieved employee in the organization wasn’t ideal for them, so I got a payout of 4 times more that I was legally entitled!
I got to spend 3 moths with my son while I job hunted, with a bit of cash in the bank, and caught up with friends. The relief was unbelievable and I couldn’t be happier to be out of that place!!!