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I feel so alone...

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
My dad died of cancer last October and I just found out my mum has skin cancer. I have two older brothers who both live overseas, one of them knows about my mum but she won't tell the other. My brother who knows about my mum hasn't been any help...he just told me his mother in law has had melanomas removed and been ok. He didn't visit my dad once in the 4 years he had cancer.

My mum lives alone in a fairly isolated village and doesn't socialize much. She has ever since I can remember, shown signs of quite severe depression, even though she's never seen a doctor about it. I don't blame her for not wanting to tell people at the moment, but I do feel as though she's unintentionally putting a lot of responsibility on my plate given the situation. I have friends around, most of who know, but it doesn't really offer much comfort at the moment. Most are shocked and not really sure what to say, some tell me I should not take responsibility this time (I took a couple of months off from work to help look after my dad at the end of his life.)

I found a new job the beginning of this year whilst I was on sick leave from my old job. Basically I found out about my dad's cancer the same week as finishing my degree, so I ended up taking any menial jobs I could find at the time that I graduated. My new job has a lot more to it, it's not what I would like to do in the long term, but it was, to begin with, a much needed change. My manager, however, is renowned as being difficult to get on with. Unfortunately,I am one of her targets at work. She knows the situation with my parent's health and brings up my dad's death, unprompted by me, constantly in one on one meetings. When I asked for a day's leave to go see my mum after finding out about her cancer, I came back to work to have a colleague ask me how my mum is. I hadn't been in work to tell anyone about her, so this information had clearly come from my manager. Since then, her attitude has moved to 'perhaps I'm not fit to be at work, but she's not the one to decide'. I got told I may not pass my probationary period at work, even though this seems to be based on nothing but her misunderstanding of the job. At times she's told me I'm confused or I've not understood something, but when I've spoken to my more experienced colleagues, they've told me I've understood what I've needed to do, and that's what they would have done. A lot of them also ask me for advice as they know I'm smart and have picked up the fundamentals of the job quickly. I am also one of the few on my team meeting my targets She is the only person in the department who has voiced concerns (and to my knowledge only to me) about my inability to do the job. Then she told me she has the authority to extend my probationary period as I may have extenuating circumstances. This has been going on for months now. I've had enough. I know I'm an intelligent, hardworking person, keen to learn and I don't bring my personal problems into work and that is what my colleagues are telling me. I took this week off as leave but I'm not sure I want to go back to that environment to be honest.

What are my options, realistically? If I speak with her manager as my colleagues have suggested, surely she will just make life more difficult for me?

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    First off, you are not alone. *hug*
    I, as well I am sure as a lot of other people on this is site know how hard it is to see a loved one ill and how hard it must be for you. Without meaning to sound condescending, it sounds as though you have been very brave during this hard time, and you must be a real support to your mother. We are always here to listen.
    If I were in your situation I would have a quiet and informal word with you human resources person, or your manager's superior letting them know that you are uncomfortable with your boss's behaviour. Even if it means she likes you even less, if it means she lays off you it will be worth it. It means she will most likely have an eye on her during your evaluation as well. I'm sure someone will turn up eventually with more specific advice, but for now I hope that will do x

    EDIT - feeling very clever as I have just found the appropriate site link on workers rights for you to have a browse through, though I can't embed it in that clever way the mods do:
    http://www.thesite.org/workandstudy/working/workersrights
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