The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a female worker at an organization in my 40s, and I’m on child care leave.
I have a conflict with my superior regarding my return to work.
Some time ago, a colleague said to me, “I’ve heard they’ve already figured out what to do with you at the office when you come back. Are you OK with it?”
I didn’t know anything about it, so I asked my superior about what they plan to do with me when I visited my workplace to discuss when I would return to work and other matters.
Then, the superior said to me, “You won’t listen to other people, so I didn’t tell you because I thought there was no point.”
What my superior said made some sense to me. As I have a specialist job, I’ve generally worked at my own discretion without reporting to the superior. It made me stop and think about how I’ve done things.
I never imagined the superior would complain that I didn’t properly navigate the maternity and child care leave systems, such as how to spend my time on child care leave. I just didn’t know there were rules regarding them.
The superior even flatly said to me, “I don’t like you, you know.”
How should I prepare to return to work?
E, Hiroshima Prefecture
Dear Ms. E:
You’re facing rough going when it comes to returning to work. I don’t know what your work is or what position you hold at your workplace as your letter didn’t mention such details.
But I suppose you’ve been indifferent to the clerical process or regulations of your organization as you have a specialist job.
Even though you have a specialist job, you should have known and observed the regulations since you work there. You should have been more careful and observant.
However, the superior’s comment “I don’t like you” is too emotional. It has nothing to do with observing the regulations.
So pull yourself together and do what you can do.
I recommend you go to somebody at the general affairs or personnel department of your organization to discuss the matter. If you didn’t follow the rules about paper work to take leave of absence, why not apologize and say that you earnestly want to return to work. Then, do the necessary clerical work.
In the future, try to communicate with people at the office more, particularly with people who do different types of work from yours. It’s important to give them information and ask about necessary clerical procedures at your workplace.
At the same time, if your superior continues to be too emotional toward you, you may need to go consult with a section at your office in charge of workplace harassment.
I hope you will start again with a new step.
Junko Umihara, psychiatrist
(from Feb. 17, 2015, issue)