I was middle management in a specialist area of a county council. I was relatively young to reach that level (early 30s) but loved my job. During my pregnancy I covered another managers area doubling my workload compared to my colleagues and worked up to 39 weeks.
The week after my maternity leave ended and my annual leave started I was called to a meeting to restructure the department. Here, started a nine month process to my leaving. I had no meetings or reintroduction to work, no manager, no business area to support. I went through a sham of interviews as the restructure repopulated the team I had recruited and led without me. My replacement then “supported” me through my redundancy process which involved them moaning about how busy they were and failing to provide me with statuary paperwork. My union support was non existent and I had no legal recourse.
It is a hard lesson to learn to realise that no matter how clever and how bright you are; you are still so vulnerable after maternity. I was simply surplus to requirements despite years of hard work. My dedication to the role was never tested.
Happily, over a year on, I have a new better role with better pay, conditions and prospects. Yet, because my confidence was shattered I very nearly didn’t apply for this position. I look back on what I could have done in this situation and I draw a blank. I don’t want to work for an organisation which doesn’t support its workers. As a manager, I want a committed team who are motivated because they are treated like the professionals they are. I’m glad to leave behind this portion of my work-life but I realise I have been lucky in moving on.