I returned from 13 months maternity leave, into a role that was sold as being an exciting challenge and using my skill set as a Senior Project Manager to implement change in a team. What actually happened was I quickly became the teams PA and admin assistant, asked to organise meetings, book refreshments and print copies of documents ahead of meetings.
When I tried to put some of my PM skills into action, review practices and suggest changes I was told ‘You’ve been on maternity your brain won’t quite be as it was and you wont be back up to full speed yet.’ This was said to me on multiple occasions not just on my first day back. It was used when asking about why I wasn’t allowed to PM a project as initially suggested they picked out an email I sent to the client with an ‘if’ instead of ‘it’ typed, citing that as a reason I wasn’t ready post leave. A simple typo that ANYONE can make and do make, it didn’t stop the client from understanding what we had asked or impacted the relationship.
On the same project the male project leads decided they needed extra resource (they wouldn’t have if they used me correctly and I pointed this out) so brought another male colleague onto team. Proceeded to give them all the work I should have been doing, including him in meetings and calls and excluding me.
Despite raising this behaviour with my manager, he did nothing to resolve the situation. I believe they weren’t expecting me to return from maternity and didn’t know what to do with me. They probably thought as I am working Part Time I just want to come in and go on time, if I am to be away from my child for best part of 12 hours it has to be because I want to be there and am being challenged and developed.