8 weeks into my maternity leave I suffered a prolapsed L4/L5 disc – if anyone who has ever been unlucky enough to experience the same you will know that the nerve presses on your sciatic nerve resulting in excruciating pain down your leg. I was unable to walk or stand for periods of time (by the end of the day cooking a meal was too much) and I had to lie down as much as possible. Quite impossible with a young baby. After 2 rounds of steroids which didn’t do very much I finally had my ‘going back to work’ chat with my employer. I stated I would like to do 3 days a week, but owing to my back if it would be at all possible to do at least one of these from home. I saw no reason why this would not be possible as I was not customer-facing. Their response was I could return to my role as Marketing Manager full time or come back 1 day a week doing data entry. Obviously there is a huge difference between the two, where could a data entry role lead with regard to my career? I suggested a job share with the girl who had covered for me during my maternity leave. They said this would be impossible due to hand over times. I suggested the handover could take place during the 2x 20 minute coffee breaks where everyone was allowed to down tools each day and have a cup of tea. They said no, not possible, the job was too ‘complex’. According to the 5 male directors, who ‘discussed my needs’ and decided that the only value I could add to the company was data entry, despite the fact that my maternity cover was inundated with work, as was the rest of the company. I accepted the role, given my need to carry on with my health insurance – they also assured me I would be unable to work from home even with the nature of the role – and worked for 6 months. I sat down with them and asked about job progression, where could this go? They dodged the question, I tole my manager I was disappointed with the lack of support, that I felt I was not wanted by the company – I felt like I was being pushed out. More denials. I was then informed one of the directors – who I had worked under for 3 years had discussed the fact that he did not even know what my role was (despite several emails from me stating the work I had completed). By all intents and purposes they did not want me there, they were hoping I would leave so they could keep my maternity cover on. I felt compelled to leave. Nobody listened to what I wanted to do. Then my maternity cover hands her notice in and they hire a man in her place, oh and keep her on. So the two are job sharing at the moment – with the added expense of flying her over from Austria to carry out the work. I have luckily found a new amazing job and have left the company but feel completely and utterly shafted by a narrow, misogynistic work environment. Absolute cowards.