So, we know women get routinely discriminated against.
Because they have no penis. Obviously, that organ is also necessary to get paid more too. Because you can’t think properly unless you have a winky (though, arguably, winky’s have possibly been responsible for some of the worst thought-out ideas ever).
I’ve gotten side-tracked already.
I had a baby. I even worked in a baby-related environment.
And because I had a baby, and was on maternity leave, I was told I wasn’t entitled to a generic retention bonus.
That every other manager was getting.
I was sure this wasn’t right. I asked my manager to check for me. I was told I definitely wasn’t entitled to it.
I was sure they were wrong. I called ACAS. ACAS told me I WAS entitled to it. I told my company they were wrong.
I called ACAS again. ACAS told me I was definitely right. I told my company I was definitely right (and threatened legal action).
Company sent out generic letter stating that all employees were entitled to bonus, regardless if they were on maternity leave.
I was beyond furious.
I wasn’t even worth a phone call for someone to tell me. I wasn’t worth an apology. I wasn’t worth their time.
They hadn’t thought I was worth keeping with that bonus.
I had worked there for six years. I had worked hard. I had been promoted several times.
I had also requested, and been denied, flexible working: I had become a risk. I might be paranoid, but I feel like I was being elbowed out.
When I went back to work, I tried to talk to my line manager about the bonus, and how it had made me feel – like I wasn’t worth keeping. Their attitude was that I had got the money, so I should be happy.
That was not the point.
When will companies realise that people want to enjoy their job. They want to feel valued. They want to be more than a number on a piece of paper.
I put my heart and soul into my job, spending far longer than my 40 hours a week there. There were times I compromised family and friends for my job (sometimes begrudgingly, but I did it). And what did I get back? Nothing.
It really hurt. And I threw my toys out the pram over it. Maybe I was being far too idealistic in the world of business, but I have always found that when you invest in people (time, effort, rewards, thought), you reap the rewards twofold. That was my job as a store manager. I am not saying that I was perfect, I know I wasn’t (my lack of patience up there as my number one fault). But I always tried to consider people rather than just the job.
It really makes me wonder how many good people (and how many women when they have kids) are passed over by companies intent on keeping full-time staff, refusing flexible working on principle, instead of valuing experience, and most likely, efficiency.
I know I could have done my job on ten hours less a week. My boss knew I could do my job on five hours less a week (what I was asking for). But they refused. There will always be a ‘business’ reason to say ‘no’. Even when there is one very good person worth saying ‘yes’ for.
I still would have gone back; I loved the team I worked with and I was good at what I did. But when you’re told you’re not worth keeping, you have to decide whether you want to work for a company that doesn’t value you.
I decided I didn’t (along with a whole host of other reasons). Not only because I wasn’t considered worthy of retaining, but because I wasn’t even worth a phone call.
(As an afterthought, what companies genuinely don’t realise is that there are women who will bend over backwards to make their flexible working agreement work, because they are so fucking grateful that their company said ‘yes’. They will send their sick kid to nursery, knowing they shouldn’t, they will plead with their in-laws to collect their child from school, they will take work home and forget to iron their child’s uniform, all because you put some faith in them. Take the leap boss-people, you might be surprised.)