2 temps accused me of bullying — Ask a Manager

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer was accused of bullying by two temps (#2 at the link)? Here’s the update.

I have a doozy of an update!

I pushed back on the temp agency and set expectations regarding the skills we needed, and the next three temps lasted the remainder of our need for temps. We tried really hard to find them other positions within our company but the timing was terrible. I’ve stayed in touch with all three and provided a glowing recommendation back to the temp agency. I’ve also been a reference a few times as they’ve applied for positions outside of the temp agency. I was able to refer one to an administrative job at the local college, one was able to use the training to work for another company in our area that is a similar business, and one ended up moving back home to take care of family but has my contact info if they come back to the area.

The multiple-paragraph text message attacking me is now part of my company lore! It gets told to office new hires and has made its way around the company and the general response has been that people were stunned that she acted that way and felt that way about me. I’ve had people from the chief level and down seek me out to tell me they enjoy working with me, I’m an asset to the company, or something similar.

I really really appreciate the commenters who realized I was seeing everything through a pregnancy lens and gave me grace.

That all sounds bland, right? Here’s the doozy part — the stress at work plus a stressful issue at home (now resolved) combined with getting the flu sent me into labor at 27 weeks (roughly six months). I spent two days in the hospital trying to prevent labor and then had an urgent C-section. My company did all the things we hope a company would do! I had one coworker who volunteered as the designated contact and people at all levels of the company were checking in with her during the two days. I of course went on immediate FMLA leave during the last year of the month which is terrible timing for my responsibilities. I’d been working with my team to cover my leave but had fully expected to be there during year-end and Audit so not covered as much in those areas.

My team stepped up and did FABULOUS! My boss recognized their work and gave them raises. By the end of December my baby had stabilized in the NICU and I came back temporarily to work as otherwise I would have used all my leave before he was expected to be released closer to his due date in March.

I came back to work dealing with a baby in the NICU, a toddler at home who didn’t understand why both parents were never home at the same time anymore, PTSD from the whole situation, and some serious PPD/A. The first two weeks were extremely rough and I would burst into tears for no reason. I didn’t work a full day that entire month and no one blinked an eye. In fact, my team helped me not get pulled into things towards the end of the day so I could always leave early to get to the NICU. My same designated contact coworker tried to intercept people to give them updates for me too. About two weeks in, I had another check-up with my doctor and agreed to medication help (I had turned it down previously as I was so worried about passing anything to the baby as super tiny babies can’t have formula).

We made it through the audit and honestly, it was probably the best one ever. I went back on leave in mid-March with just one thing pending and a team I knew could handle it. Additionally, my company stepped up and paid me what short-term disability would have paid had I not returned to work temporarily. The next day (two days before the baby came home from the hospital), I fell and broke my foot so I was juggling my own healing with a newborn and we learned to get around on wheels. I’m including a link to the video my company did in March when we were asked to be this year’s March of Dimes “My Company” Family and pictures of when baby was born, when baby came home, and baby now so Alison can confirm for you all that baby is adorable, growing, and all good!

(Alison here: I can indeed confirm that the baby is adorable, growing, and all good!)

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