Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

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Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby stressball » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:37 pm

Hi All, this is a bit of a tricky one so hope someone can help me. I'll try and keep this as brief as I possibly can!

I've been in my job for 3 1/2 years now. I came into a new dept entirely to my last job, not a clue what to do, but basically was brought in as the dept was having problems with the workload. In that time I've learnt so many things, and now cover some of other people's jobs when they are away...even though all my colleagues still treat me as the "newbie". All of my colleagues have been in the job for 10-20 years and 2 are in their sixties and close to retiring, my boss has 3-4 years to retire but is handing the reins down to another colleague who is in his 30s.

3 years ago, my boss came to me, after completing a "work plan" for the department. They wanted me to take some exams in order to understand what I was doing and also to gain a qualification to prove I could do my job and to eventually take over the position of the person in his 30s who will be my boss. At first, I declined as I left school at 18 in order to start work and leave education and all its related stresses behind. And I'd only been there 6 months so was just settling in. However, after my boss kept mentioning it to me, I decided it was worth a go, as it's paid for by the company and I get a qualification out of it, so if i did end up leaving, id have it on my CV at least. Turns out when I decided this (in the October of 2009) I was too late to be enrolled in the course as the latest they could accept applicants was September. So my boss agreed I'd reapply in September 2010. Well, in May 2010, I get engaged to my partner and because I'm getting married this July, I asked my boss whether we could hold off for another year as I didn't want my wedding day clashing with any exams (and also the stress of revising mixed with wedding stress didnt appeal to me!!) He agreed this, and said to enrol me in Sept 2011.

Now comes my predicament. My partner and I, after several long discussions, have decided to try for a family a couple of months after our wedding. Obviously we're assuming we won't get pregnant right away, in case it takes longer than expected to conceive, but I'm hoping to be pregnant by Christmas. That's where this college course comes in. I've decided I REALLY don't want to do this course as it's not on my highest list of priorities, and to be honest, I was kind of blackmailed into it (my boss reminded me that if i didnt do it, they would have to bring in someone else who did have the qualifications and I was always be the junior). Now, my boss is going to want to know why I've changed my mind after messing him around, and I can't exactly say that its because I'm starting a family...because then this will bring in issues of whether I can still work fulltime, if they will cut my hours, and all this is before I'm even pregnant.

Please can someone advise me how best to deal with this. I don't want to be out of a job but I don't know what to say to my boss about it and I know he's going to ask me soon. Help :(
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby ILoveChristmas » Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:18 am

If you've decided you really don't want to do it, then don't, but you owe it to your boss to be honest with him. He's giving you the chance to progress in the department, essentially telling you that you'll walk into a better job if you do the course.

From the way that you describe how it all happened I don't see that you've been blackmailed into it. At the end of the day if you don't have the qualifications to do the job you can't really expect to be in it. Personally I think your boss is being very nice about it, and if you stop and think about his position it must be quite frustrating for him to keep offering you this opportunity and for you to keep passing it up or being too late to apply. He obviously likes you; many people would have been sent back to their old job long ago.

What i'd say is don't look too short term. What is your long term plan for after you've had a baby? Will you want to come back to work and have a career, have a less stressful job or become a housewife? The answer to that might help you to decide what's best.

If you want to come back and have a career then postponing pregnancy until you're some way into your course might be an option. If you want to have a job but a less stressful one then being the office junior might suit you just fine.

Honesty is the best policy. If you don't want to do it, make sure your reasons are valid and well thought out and then tell him. Your boss will understand that you have personal plans, and starting a family should be an accepted and expected thing for you to do.
Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive. - Stephen Fry.

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. — Steve Furtick
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby Bel Bel » Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:52 am

I agree with ILC and you are also assuming you will get preganant on your timed plan scale. it doen't always work like that and can take several years to get pregnant.
Are you happy to stay the junior, will you be able to support a baby finacially.
You don't have to tell your boss it's because you plan to get pregnant anyway, just say the more you get closer to it you realise it isn't want you want and being junior is fine with you
If you do plan to continue with the pregnacy immedicately then I think it would be wrong to take the new position as no sooner are you in than you will drop your department in it and may cause yourself resentment problems with other colleagues
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby stressball » Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:51 pm

Hey guys, so updating on this post of mine and presenting a new dilemma:

So basically I agreed to do the course - there are 5 courses in my area I could do it in. There were 2 colleges that do all day classes, 1 college that does evening class where I couldn't get to easily (no direct train/bus route - I don't drive), 1 college that starts at 1.30pm - 7.30pm and the other does not do my course this year. So, after months of negotiating with my boss (who had to get a decision of our MD!) they decided I could go to the 1.30 - 7.30pm one.

After I chased for a decision 5 times no less, they took so long in deciding whether they were going to let me go for half a day (as I'd be missing half day of work) that I missed the interview deadline and had to attend their open day last week. It was 2-6pm so I had to take an hour off work (which my boss was not happy with and told me to make the time up!!) Luckily they took me on at the last minute so I had to go back last Saturday to enrol. I agreed with my boss I'd come into work an hour early every Tuesday to make it a full "half day" at work (I volunteered to do this)

So, yesterday, I went to my first lesson which was fine (basically everyone being introduced to each other), I had a bit of trouble getting there and back as the trains were cancelled!! But that was just bad luck.

So I get there and the college tell me that they'v changed the course times slightly - now 1.15 - 7.15pm - due to the majority of the class using the "park and ride" option in the city (no-one else would get the train like I do!) which means I need to leave half hour earlier than planned from work. At the moment, I leave at 11.45am to get a train at 12.20 (takes half hour to walk from work to station) half hour on the train, 20 mins to the college. This means, I would have to leave work at 11.15am to get an earlier train to get to the college on time (the trains run every half hour).

My boss was really unhappy about this and jokingly blamed me because I don't drive (I answered "i would if you paid for my lessons!!!") and said this isn't on and I'm not being fair on my colleagues or the company. He's said I need to make up the extra half hour as well as the extra hour I'm already doing to compensate.

Now I know from my previous posts it seems like I'm mucking him around but I honestly went into this with every enthusiasm and confidence that I wanted to do it, but now I want to tell him to shove it. I wanted to start a family with my partner but I held off because my work wanted me to do this course. Now I'm regretting it.

WWYD? Can anyone advise please? By the way, my boss is very an al about everything, not just this, he even gave me a lecture on "setting a precedent" for everyone when I asked to leave 5 mins early, yet the other departments do what they like. We aren't even allowed to talk in the office to each other!!!
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby ILoveChristmas » Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:09 pm

On the face of things it does seem a little two-faced of your boss to start creating issues for you after trying so hard to persuade you to do the course in the first place, but I suspect he hadn't gone any further than investigating what the course would achieve and what qualification it would give you, and the course schedule has caught him by unhappy surprise.

I would ask for a few minutes of his time in private. I would apologise for having to adjust your hours but gently remind him that you are only doing what he's been pressuring you to do for years and that things wouldn't have been any different had you done the course when he first asked.

The change in timings is out of your control, and it's unreasonable for him to make an issue out of you not driving. Perhaps you could suggest that he drives you to the station in time for the train rather than you having to walk.

The alternative is that you offer to add an hour to your working day for the other 4 days of the week to make up for the lost time. That's hard to stomach, I understand that, but it may help to improve the atmosphere and shows that you're serious about both the job and the course.

Ultimately the course is for your benefit in the long run so try to see it that way rather than focusing on the transportation and timing issues. These things were bound to happen.
Christmas to a child is the first terrible proof that to travel hopefully is better than to arrive. - Stephen Fry.

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. — Steve Furtick
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby stressball » Sun Nov 27, 2011 4:32 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies a few months ago RE: my course situation. I read your latest post at the time - ILoveChristmas - and completely agreed with you there - it was a little strange but you're right with the whole 2faced situation (I'm sure I replied but it looks like I didn't - sorry!) My work and I came to a decision in the end that I would be driven there by my dad (he's getting paid by my company to do it!) as he is self employed and picks his hours and when he works, offered to do it (so I'm safe not walking to train station on my own at night) and it means I can stay at work longer. I really appreciated it, bless him.

Well an update since then: The course is going good, it's very hard-going (but I expected it to be, to be honest!) I've made a couple of new friends too which is nice. I have my first exam on the first module in a fortnight which is scary but I really hope I pass. At the moment I'm 70% confident I'll pass (touch wood!) as I've really put a lot of effort into the lessons, homework and even doing past exam papers to help me learn how best to answer the questions in the exam. It was weird learning things again after so many years away from school (my course is equivalent to a GCSE).

ANYWAYS I'm rambling on a bit here!! What I really wanted to discuss (and hopefully get some advice for) is that the initial plan for my partner and I after we got married this summer was to try and start a family. Because of the timings for this course and work wanted me to do it asap I chose to do this first so if I end up getting the foundation qualification next year, it would look good on my CV say if I became pregnant and my work wouldn't accept me part-time.

Well before the course started and I had agreed to do it in September, my partner and I agreed to try and start a family next Julyish (and how ever long it takes us to conceive if we're that lucky). Now here comes my predicament. My tutor at my course has said any students who pass the foundation course will be definately have to a place next year for the intermediate stage, and then passing that, ready for the advanced level the year after. So after another chat one night in the week, I discuss with hubby, and he replies that seeing as I'm getting on so well in my course (or so I believe at the moment, we'll find out in a fortnight!) I might as well consider doing intermediate level next year too. I was a bit surprised at this as this sets back our future plans (again) so basically if i pass he wants me to carry on with the course for the next 2 years, and if I don't, we can plan a family. Now this isn't exactly motivating me to do well and pass if you know what I mean - I definately wouldn't deliberately fail but it seems like if I do well we don't get what we wanted originally: a family.

My partner is very level headed and thinks about things years down the line bless him whereas I know I'm a little "wants things now" type of person. So on one hand what he's saying is really sensible (ie if I'm ever made redundant I have those qualifications on my CV) but on the other hand I feel like we're really missing out on life, life's too short for doing a course I didn't actually want to do in the first place!!

Can I also add that someone in my dept left in October and I've now been given half of her job as well as my own (even though I'd said in July I had too much work to my boss and couldn't handle any more) and with college stuff / homework as well I can see it's going to be a struggle in the next few months. Do I want to carry on doing this course when they've told me they aren't intending on replacing my colleague? I guess that's a seperate issue entirely, but I can't help but feel I should take this into consideration in my decision making. I.E. I'm not sure if they'll have me part-time after having a child as we're short-staffed already!!

Anyways, depending on how well I do in the exams, I have to decide what I'm doing by May/June next year, possibly sooner than that. If I want to postpone doing the intermidiary course (as I'm not saying I won't want to continue after possible pregnancy) then i won't be guaranteed a place. I know there's a year's waiting list usually if I do decide to pick it up again. If I want to do it next year following on from this year, I will be guaranteed a place, I'll be studying with the same group of people which is easier. But the workload and college stuff will just do my head in I think. Argh!

Well done if you got to the end, sorry it's so long. Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on the situation and whether I'm being irrational or not, lol!

x
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby Ticktock » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:10 pm

Pass the first exam...

You are in the stress period for revision and your mind is looking for any excuse to think of something else rather than your books.

Your hubby is absolutely right, do your study now, once you have kids you will never be able to apply the effort you are putting in now to any further study, not for years. Whereas once you have the qualifications they will stay on your CV and can be dragged out and dusted off years after the fact to prove you know what you are doing.

Life is like that, you have a plan (yours was obviously man, marriage, kids), but you have been presented with this opportunity. You can throw it away if you want, but your hubby is being absolutely sensible in that it has to be your decision, many the marriage has been ended by the cry of 'you made me give up my career to raise your kids!'. Financially, studying now will be better for any kids you have in the future, and unless you are 35 plus physically it shouldn't be an issue.

Good luck with the exam :)
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Re: Please help, stuck in an awkward situation?

Postby stressball » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:53 pm

Hi Ticktock, thanks for the reply, I think you're onto something there when u said about using this "dilemma" as a problem! I think it's a head (college) vs heart (family) situation here and maybe college for another year may not be so bad. After all, If I can have children, I want to be able to provide for them as I know I wouldn't be able to give up work completely. Sigh. You're right. As much as I want to, I think I'm going to put the family idea off for a while. At least until after Xmas when I find out if I've passed or not! Thanks for the well wishes :) x
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