To say they had you under their thumb is a gross understatement.
I remember 80 hour work weeks. I remember putting dinner on the table for my family and having to rush back in order to finish paperwork and reporting. I remember calls in the middle of the night. I remember working every Sunday for months on end. I remember having to figure out how to ship packages during a winter storm that left hundreds of thousands without power (Including every shipping vendor within a 75 mile radius AND the local airports). I remember being held to an unachievable standard, then made to feel less then worthy when I fell short. I constantly fell short and failed to meet expectations, even when taking the blame for others and seeing people take advantage of a company I liked at the time. I was put on a pedestal of pick-up sticks.
I can say without any hesitation that I really liked the company. I enjoyed my work, through the constant belittling and backstabbing. I wanted to be more; I craved the appreciation and acknowledgment that never came. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be the one they asked for advice and input.
I don’t feel like my boss ever really liked me. It’s also fair to say I wasn’t entirely fond of him. We had a lot in common, but we were different enough that it created quite a rift. It led to a lot of second guessing on my part, constant self-analysis. Was I good enough? Could I handle the job without going insane? Did I have a bulls-eye on my back?
At one point I was actually on medication and sought the help of a psychiatrist, who after a few visits told me I needed to seek out a new career path. ‘Your job is toxic’, he told me. He told me it was bleeding me dry. It was exhausting me physically, mentally and emotionally. There was nothing left for my family, nothing left for any relationships I was in. I poured it all into that company. They took it all, and demanded more. Nothing was good enough. I knew in my heart of hearts my doctor was right, but I could not bring myself to break off the toxic relationship. I looked for other jobs, but it was like being with an abusive boyfriend. My boss would halfway say I did a good job and the honeymoon was back on. Things would quickly return back to normal though. I started drinking more. My hair fell out in clumps. I was getting tremors, and I couldn’t sleep more than 90 minutes at a time. I became withdrawn from friends and the social life I once enjoyed slowly faded away. I quit seeing the doctor, because reality was too hard to face.
Watching others abuse policies and take advantage makes one think it is OK to do the same.
So I wrote. I wrote about my struggles with depression. I wrote about traumatic things that happened in my childhood. I wrote about how heartsick I was to think that my kids would move out one day. I wrote about how I missed my friends. I poured my heart into introspective musings about life, the difficulty with handling it all. I was worried that I would have a mental breakdown. I was scared of not being good enough, I was furious that people were going about their business in such unfair conditions and not caring about those who were sacrificing everything – EVERYTHING – for a means to live. I vented. I vented about my bosses. I vented about co-workers. I didn’t mention anyone by name/title/identifying characteristics, nothing like that. But nevertheless, I let it out. It was therapeutic. It felt good to have an outlet.
So good, in fact, that it cost me my job.
I was foolish enough to have written from work. My bosses found my writings. The honeymoon was definitely over.
Being fired is humiliating enough in itself, but when someone goes around as you’re being hauled into an office and actually clears the building, it throws a little lemon juice in the sore. I was such a threat, and such a dark person, they were actually worried that I would harm someone. I can’t begin to explain how embarrassing that is, and how wrong they were for perceiving me as that kind of a person. To this day, it makes me cringe.
It took a long time to get my confidence back, and quite honestly, I still think about it a lot. The pain is gone, but the regret is there 1000%. I think about things I could have said. I think about what I fool I felt like, sitting in front of two grown men sobbing and begging for my job, imploring them to consider my family – My children whom they had met and who loved them. I think about my writing – All 4 years of it – printed out and highlighted like some college research paper. I think about the angry black arrows pointing out things that had been completely misconstrued. I think about the rumors that circulated after I was escorted from the building. I think about their inability to make eye contact. I think about my inability to say anything but “Please, think of my family” when I could have said something, anything else.
As painful as it was; as gut wrenching and mortifying, I am grateful for it.
After about a month laying on the couch and crying myself to sleep every night, I got up, dusted myself off, and decided I would become a better person out of it. Within a couple of weeks, I had the first of two incredible jobs and was well on my way to recovering. I can’t say I never looked back, because I did a lot of asking “what if?” It was a long process, at times feeling like I was trapped under blankets trying to find my way back out again.
I’m happy to say that since then, my confidence has been restored, and I am on my way to being 100% again.
While I am still very regretful, I know that things happen for a reason. I honestly feel like my separation from the company was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am happier, more successful, and more appreciated where I am at now. Even after going through such a mess, life is good once again, and it keeps getting better every day.