The Myth of Flexible Working

So, we’re all allowed to ask for flexible working conditions. Of course, our employers are in no way obliged to accept that request.  Therefore, making the request is often akin to pissing in the wind.

I made my request  (part-time, compressed hours of 4 days into 3 – a killer but worth it to keep my job, as we can’t afford 4 days’ childcare for two), created a business case for it, offered to work out-with my core hours including weekends where possible and discussed it with colleagues.  Childcare’s arranged, nursery deposit’s paid, and – most importantly – my line manager is totally understanding and pretty sure there will be no issues.  

So over the course of two weeks I hear….nothing.  Not a peep.  My inert line manager doesn’t even respond when I email a chaser.

When he does answer two days later, it’s not elaborate, nor is it encouraging:
“Its [sic]with [management] at the moment.  Don’t know how it will go down as there are a few grumblings going on.  I will let you know as soon as I find out”.

“This is my life, my children’s lives..!!”, I feel like screaming.  My line manager pretty much OK’ed it at our meeting there and then. The decision is ultimately his, in reality there’s no impediment but – as I knew would be the case – when he presents it to management the spinal cord buckles, one word of dismay from them and he rolls over for them just as he was probably rolling over for me.

Most galling of all – they let my backfill replacement go in December knowing full well I wasn’t returning till April so they clearly expected the team to cope without me for 60 days.  The arrangement I’m requesting wouldn’t even involve me dropping 60 working days in a full year!!!

Yeah, they say you can ask for flexible working.  The same way you can ask for a new Porsche for Christmas…