I’m fed up with my job: ask the expert:

I am a working single mum with two children. I currently work part time and have just returned to work after a four-week period of sickness absence due to repetitive strain injury. I work on a checkout. Since returning to work my hours have been cut without notice. I have also experienced bullying by my boss.  The RSI means I cannot work on the checkout and my self esteem is ebbing away. I have also asked for family friendly hours but been turned down although other employees have had requests granted.

There are several issues you have raised here, some of which I am afraid I am not qualified to advise on, and would recommend that you seek legal advice. The repetitive strain injury and the change to your working hours without your agreement are legal issues. In terms of your self-esteem, firstly the fact that you have identified what is going on is the first step, so well done.

It sounds as if you have been treated unfairly and that your requests to change working hours and defending yourself against suspicions of missing cash have gone unheard. This must be incredibly frustrating. To get over the feelings of unfair treatment and frustration I suggest you think of anything else you could do to make yourself heard. This could be writing everything down in a letter to your line manager or someone more senior. Or perhaps you might want to arrange a meeting with an HR representative in the company.

Stick to the facts

Make sure you remain unemotional and stick to the facts. It will have much greater impact. Then, if you do decide to leave and, as you say, find an employer where your self-esteem does not ‘ebb away’, at least you will have the confidence to know that you did everything you could to make it work and to make yourself heard. You will leave with your head held high and feeling much stronger in yourself. Make sure you take your time if you do look for a new employer, and ask as many questions and do as much research as possible to make sure they are an organisation which nurtures its employees and treats them as you would wish to be treated. You also mention that you suffer from anxiety but you do not give any more details than that. If this is related to work, taking positive action as I mentioned above will hopefully help, or moving away from the situation and finding a new job.

Believe in yourself

The most important thing if you do decide to move jobs is to have strong belief in yourself. Take time to think of all the things that you are good at in your current job, for example the fact that you were promoted after nine months, although it ended up not working out. Ask someone you know well to help you list all the things that you’re good at as we tend to be far too modest about ourselves. Do not let what has happened to you affect your self-belief. Undoubtedly the bullying and wrong accusations of missing cash are more about the other individuals’ issues than about you. You have been unfortunate, but you are still you, and you are still very capable of doing a great job somewhere else.

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