I normally don’t write like this, but therapy, here goes:
I have worked for my company for 8 years. Getting a foot in the door at this Bank was a huge answer to prayer. I was so grateful to my manager for taking a chance on me. In doing so, I found a job I enjoyed, a manager I enjoyed, and a company I enjoyed. It seemed like the pieces of my troubled teens and lost twenties were finally coming together. I did not stay in the same position for the last 8 years and my managers have come and gone, but I have stayed with the same company because I really respected the (former) president of the company. He was an incredible orator and had a huge heart for the Bank’s employees and for the community. He worked his way up the ladder from a teller to a president, and his story gave me hope that even a ‘nobody’ (as far as Corporate America is concerned) could become ‘somebody.’
Fast forward from the start of my career to year 6. I was 31 years old and was pregnant with my first child. I worked with my manager to kick ass and take names. So much so that she wanted me to take over her title and role, which was going to come with a sweet promotion, a promotion that I worked really hard to get. When I came back from maternity leave, I was told “No mid-year promotions.” It was very deflating. I felt like a carrot was dangled in front of me and snatched away; as well, it felt like my manager and her manager were waiting to see if I was the same employee as I was before having a child.
Truth was, I was not the same employee. As much as I LOVED my career and DEEPLY wanted this promotion, I had a 3-month old boy at home, still breastfeeding and still needing his mom. After I was told “No” to the promotion, I asked to go part time. I certainly received push back/hesitation, but I was allowed to go part time, which I thought was a huge blessing.
Part time was a joke. I had my hours and pay cut in half without my workload cut in half. My manager (although I didn’t know it) was on the brink of retirement and had little desire to do work. So she came down hard on me. For example, I was sick, my son was sick, and I took a week off. In our next 1:1 she told me that we needed to have a talk about my attendance. Up to that point, I had all of my vacation and 70 hours of sick time and 80 hours of COVID time off to use. I told my manager that I need to be able to use my sick time when I am sick or my child is sick and for my own mental health. She said, “Yes, I know, but when you’re sick, I have to pick up the slack.”
Aside from not being able to use my sick time or getting calls and meetings scheduled on my days off, my manager let me know that part time wasn’t working. (This was 2 months into part time.) My husband and I decided to bite the bullet and have me quit, which was our plan at March end, but then my manager announced her retirement. It was one of the happiest career moments I’ve had. I felt harassed and harangued by this micromanager. She is a great person and would be an excellent drinking buddy, but she was a terrible manager, especially with one foot out the door toward retirement. (She told me that ‘back in her day,’ She was given 6 weeks maternity leave when she had kids and then went back to work full time; so the empathy was not there for a mom who wanted to make a different choice.
It has now been 7 months into me starting part time work, and my current manager has let me know that she needs more coverage. Instead of suggesting a job share or hiring another part time employee or even getting an intern, she asked me to increase my hours. I obliged but not because I want to but because I was told I could increase to 30 hours, and it is an ‘interim’ shot. If 30 hours isn’t enough for her, I am getting fired.
I understand it is business, and it is not personal, but to me if feels personal. For me, EVERYTHING is on the line: my income that is needed to support our family, my quality time with my son; (I’ll never get this time back), and my mental health. I have been with this company for 8 years. I’ve worked through men making inappropriate jokes toward me, being sick with COVID and being sick with strep. When I was called by the doctor and told I need an emergency induction, I logged into work to wrap up a couple things and set my away and inform my manager. (Before you judge me, I was already packed and had been packed for 2 weeks. So while I waited for my husband to pack, I wrapped up work.)
The point I am trying to make is: I am a dedicated worker. I’ve worked through shit to not screw anyone over and to hang my hat on the work I do. I love this company. I love my job, and this company and this job do not love me, which I didn’t expect it to, or maybe I did a little. I am not sure. I just really wish parents were given an opportunity to job share or go part time or have a family and not be punished.
So I am increasing my hours to 30, saying by to my son for another 10 hours, and still waiting to see how my manager feels to know if I have a job in 6 months. (Perfect timing as it looks like we’re headed for a recession.)
If anyone knows of a part time job for a Project Manager in Model Risk Governance (RM&C), let me know. Looking for a company and a career to love that will support me back.
Thanks for letting me get that out.