Thrown in at the deep end on maternity cover

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Thrown in at the deep end on maternity cover

Post by rioblue » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:17 pm

Everytime I have worked in administration, office management or accounting as maternity cover the same thing always happens:

1. No traning - this is promised but never materialises
2. No Handover - the person leaves you to take over without going through with you even the basics of what needs to be done.
3. No help - staff at work do not do the same work as you so they have no idea how to help, Managers are clueless especially with accounts and expect you to be able to just pick up where the last person left off with no guidance or instruction.

Then..say 6-8 months into the maternity cover they want to come back in and see how you are getting on, they call it a Keep in touch day and that's when the proverbial hits the fan because you have made mistakes and carried on doing your best and making the best of the situation you have been left with. They then get cross with you and say you should've asked for help etc.... whereas mostly I agree yes you should ask for help its very hard when there is no one to help you. I asked the person in question to come in many times and of course she couldn't because of newborn, I have asked our accountant for help and the words chocolate and teapot come to mind, I asked the managers for training on accounts software but apparently it cost too much so this was denied. So what I am left with now is a mess that until now I had no idea was happening, the woman on maternity has no faith in me, I have managers who are now aware of this and all of it ALL OF IT could have been avoided if I was just left clear instruction and training on what to do.

I am no fool, they hired me on the cheap. I expressed at the interview my lack of experience of accounting software other than quickbooks and somehow this didn't matter, however someone with the necessary experience would've come at a price. So instead, as always, they have cut corners and left me in the lurch.

I am never, repeat never doing maternity cover again.

Has anyone else experienced this in a new job/maternity cover job?

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Re: Thrown in at the deep end on maternity cover

Post by ILoveChristmas » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:23 am

In my first 'proper' job after university I faced a situation where the fellow who was to be my boss was off on long-term sickness. I'd been told he was a bit of a tyrant but he wasn't available to train me or show me how he wanted things done. The only guy who was there had been in the job for 6 months and was only at the tip of the iceberg himself. He showed me what he could but inevitably it wasn't what the boss wanted and when he returned he rubbished a lot of what we'd done and generally made work miserable for a considerable period of time.

I have a few suggestions on how you could deal with this kind of thing in future:

If you're being interviewed for maternity cover (yes I know you've vowed never to do it again, but occasionally needs must) make it clear at the interview stage that you require a minimum of 1 week shadowing the person you'll be covering. It's up to you whether you negotiate a lower rate of pay for that period or not, but make it clear at the interview stage that you cannot be expected to perform adequately without that handover period because all accounting positions have unique challenges and requirements. That may rule you out immediately, but conversely it could show the interview panel that you're serious about performing well for them.

If you're having issues in the job and need further assistance, always put your concerns in writing via email (never face-to-face) and print a copy immediately for your own records. If you can't print, forward a copy to your private address. That way you cannot be solely held accountable for any mess that arises from your lack of experience. You will have documented proof that you alerted management to the issue and they chose to ignore it. This is also a great way of following up later, e.g. "Further to my previous email of xyz, I note the assistance I request is yet to be provided". If you really must speak face-to-face then back it up immediately afterwards with a follow-up email.

If you're noticing a trend in the software used by companies, e.g. Quickbooks, Sage, Office Accounting etc, take the bull by the horns and look into night classes, distance learning courses etc that might give you a head-start on using them. Depending on your circumstances you may well be entitled to funding through ILA or similar to help with the cost.
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