Warning and apologies - long post!! Things with my old line manager came to a head two weeks before the end of last term.
I am in my own, quiet, cooler office now and have been quite happy with my own company. Things had been so much better without having to listen to other people moan about their little aches and pains (I do worry that I am turning into a female version of Victor Meldrew, I have zero tolerance these days ). For this reason I haven't blown a gasket quite so often so my boss hasn't felt the need to have a go at me all year. I do feel that she has been trying to 'goad' me on occasions but I have let it go and walked away. She has never tried to understand MS even during MS awareness week, I had to put the list of symptoms under her nose and she still wasn't interested!
At least twice this term she has said "When I hear you say that you are going home for your little nap at 3.00pm I think how nice that must be and I would love to be able to do tat but I simply don't have the time". I stayed very calm and replied with "It's not a choice, I do it so that I actually have the energy to stand and cook our dinner and I am also too scared to cut out the afternoon naps because the last time I tried I ended up in hospital on steroids". She just said "Oh" and walked away. Then a few weeks later, we repeated the whole conversation!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, two weeks before the end of term my workload was huge due to lots of school trips etc and my fatigue was also horrendous as I had managed the whole term without a single day off, which I am very proud of as I have not managed that in the 3 years since my initial symptoms. After taking a comfort break, I popped my head in the main office where it seems the receptionist had been trying to find me as she had had a parent on the phone for some 10 minutes who wanted to speak to me. She asked if I wanted to speak to the parent and I said wearily, no, not really as I couldn't see the point in listening to the story again, there was nothing I could add and it just needed to be logged on the child's record and passed to the Head of Year to see what they wanted to do about it. It clearly wasn't the answer she wanted as she promptly told the others that I wouldn't take the call and they all looked disgusted! My line manager was giving me a filthy look so I explained that I was snowed under and had some legal letters that simply had to go in the post that day that I must get on with. I left the office to go back to my own and then thought a cup of tea would help my concentration, so I went back in to use their kettle as I don't have one of my own.
Well, their was the boss in the office with the other 4 women leading the b*tchfest against me!! She shot out of the other door when I caught them at it, so I went to the receptionist and apologised for not taking the call and explained again that I was very busy, had some letters that had to go out and there was no point in listening to the same story and being tied up for 10 mins on the phone instead of getting on with my work. She accepted that and she is fine with me now.
As I left the main office, my boss caught me in a main corridor where the ill children were sitting and where some students were in the main hall doing an activity, and launched at me with a vitriolic attack about how rude I had just been to the receptionist! I said I didn't think I had been but I had apologised anyway, and she continued with the attack saying "We are all busy, we are all tired, we are all dealing with constant interruptions. That call was part of your job and you should have taken it!" I actually put my hand up towards her face, said "Whatever!" and walked away. I was fuming. What I wanted to say, but couldn't due to the public place and children being present, was F.... off!
I was very upset afterwards and couldn't concentrate on my work anyway! All that fuss over one phone call - and not so much as a thank you or acknowledgement that I had managed a whole term without any sick days even though she used to get so huffy any time I had a day off when I was unwell!
I did consider putting in a discrimination claim as this is not the first time she has treated me unfairly. Then I decided I just don't want to deal with her any more. She has favourites and if she liked me she would have taken the time to understand my MS and see what could be done to support me. If I had been anyone else in her team she would have offered me help with my workload but because it was me I got told we are all busy. She clearly doesn't understand the difference between tiredness and fatigue and never will because it is ME!
I went over her head, found the Assistant Headteacher who is the lead on attendance, told her the issued and asked if I could just be directly responsible to her. She agreed immediately, we both talked to the man who passes for Personnel at school and it takes effect in the New Year but will be done quietly so my ex-boss doesn't feel miffed (as if I care!). My new boss said we should be looking at ways to support you more and immediately sent someone to help with my workload - I think this is going to work so much better and I will be looked after properly.
I know that the ex-line manager would never have treated me fairly whilst I was in her department. I have told the man in charge of Personnel some home truths, whether he gives her some advice on her (non) management style is up to him but I have left him in no doubt as to my opinions. She did try to use my sickness record to deflect focus from her own shortcomings a couple of years ago and we fell out then. I would not let the matter drop and she was told from higher up that she could never do that to me again as it was discrimination. She has always tried to have a sneaky dig at me ever since whenever she thought she could get away with it so I know she has not forgotten and will certainly not forgive.
I hope she has had a very uneasy Christmas as I was seen by one of the office staff going to talk to the personnel man and I was still there 45 minutes later. She knows that I threatened to bring the full force of the union on her if she ever treated me unfairly again and since he says he was not going to let on the result of our discussion until the New Year I think that worrying over the Christmas holiday might just teach her a lesson! As I said, I'm turning into Victor Meldrew!!
Happy New Year