Help to retain a job I loved!

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Sarah loved her job in academia until issues emerged within her team which seriously threatened her position.  As a single mum who had fought hard for her job, her status and income, Sarah wasn’t ready to just walk away, but didn’t know what to do next and couldn’t afford big legal bills.  Her GP and subsequently IAPT (Talking Therapies) recommended contacting Twining Enterprise and Sarah started working with one of our Employment Specialists, Amina, who reviewed her case and supported her to carefully navigate her way out of the situation.  Sarah managed to retain her job on the same salary, but without all the difficulty she had been encountering. Sarah couldn’t be happier!  Here she tells us her story in her own words…

A difficult work situation

I’m in my mid-forties and I work in academia with many years of experience in this field.  Several years ago, I moved to a new place of work to become a manager.  Then last year there were a lot of issues in this new place, I believe I was bullied, they even asked me to resign and step down.  It was a very toxic workplace and everyone was against me.  I suddenly had no belief in my ability and no belief that I could support myself.  I felt my reputation and income would suddenly be taken away from me and I would have no way of supporting myself.

I should also say that I am also a single parent.  I know I can survive changing jobs, but I can’t survive without a job, as a single parent.  My husband passed away and I literally have no one to support me.

Deteriorating mental health

With all this stress piling on, my mental health suffered.  I didn’t notice at first but gradually I did notice the change in me.  One day, I went to get the groceries and almost fainted.  I got very disoriented and couldn’t figure out how to get out of the supermarket.  Everything was going round as a cycle in my head.  I had fought by myself as much as I could, but there was only so much I could do on my own.

Taking action!

I took action and rang my GP; they said the council could provide counselling free of charge, but it would only be six sessions.  However, they also said they could offer me this other service – to help with workplace issues – they asked me if I wanted to sign up for it.  I was so low at that time; I would sign up to anything I could!  I felt like I had very little time, and I didn’t know how it would work or anything like that, but I just thought “let’s go for it”.

I got calls from Twining – it was during COVID – so I met Amina online.  I still didn’t know what the session was about and how anyone would be able to help.  I’d also just had my counselling with a counsellor.  What Amina did was the opposite of what the counsellor did.  The counsellor helped with techniques for coping, but Amina gently said I needed to pull myself together and get on with looking for work.  She was trying to pull me out of the mud.

I listened hard to Amina – to help me.  She said to look at my legal options and the alternative perspective.  Me leaving the job may not have been what I thought it was.  Amina provided an independent eye.  I trusted her and she didn’t sugar coat it.  The best thing was an external perspective on what was a very dark time.  I felt the situation was not salvageable – but I couldn’t have been more wrong!  Amina helped me to look at things more objectively, from all angles.  She helped me to build some support around me to resolve things in the best way for me.  Each week together we resolved issue by issue.

Retaining my job

I am still in my job!  I’ve managed to negotiate a different position from the role I was in before on the same salary.  I didn’t have to go through a stressful employment tribunal.  Just careful consideration, negotiation and common sense helped me to resolve the situation.

I have evolved into another role.  I have negotiated what my title is and what I want to do in the job. I am daring to dream bigger now because I know I can!  I feel like I have got a lot of recognition for what I have done.

Lessons I’ve learnt!

If you find yourself stuck in a bad situation in your job, the most important thing is to look for help – there is a lot of help out there – especially outside of your organisation.  It’s all there – and much of it is completely free!  You can pick the brains of other insightful and experienced people who are on your side.  For me there was no one initially – and I needed to look for someone to support and help me.  That was Amina.

Twining will help you.  You just need to say yes to that initial meeting.  I didn’t know what that first meeting would entail, but I’m so glad that I went for it.  Lawyers will also take you down a very legal route, but there is always a different option to try first, sometimes a better one.

Amina took me down a very different path.  Twining Enterprise helped me to unpack exactly what it is I should do – Amina looked at the situation from the outside.  She helped me see what was best to do in my unique job situation through examples of what she had done in the past with other clients.

I would advise anyone to take on any feedback that is given by your Employment Advisor.  If I was told to do something, I did it.  I did it selfishly because I knew it was good for me.  So I read up and really took Amina’s advice.

Twining Enterprise solution

The legal route would have been very costly, plus I would have burnt bridges with my employer, but by working with Twining I have stayed in my role, as well as remaining on my salary.  I also could have gone down the therapy route – but that in isolation would not have provided me with the practical support I needed.

Twining is a better solution for workplace issues – it provided something in between – emotional support and practical advice.  Twining provides the best of both worlds and it’s also a free service.  I would strongly recommend it to everyone.  Especially as it’s free – engage with it!

Twining can also help with people in management level roles – not just the lower levels.  Twining has the technical ability to help with more senior positions.

My mental health now

My mental health has completely recovered, and my confidence is back up!  I now take an interest in life again.  My confidence has returned because I worked hard to save myself and now I feel brilliant.  I now feel confident that I can excel in my career even further.  If I solved this all by myself, with some pointers from Amina, then I feel I can do anything now.

Any issue life throws at me, I can now get out the tools I have learnt doing this and apply them to a different problem!


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