My experience healing from a toxic workplace || Storytime Series
First, let’s get this out in the air. I am on a verrrrry long healing journey from my job. I decided to go through that journey by openly writing about my time there to share with my readers. I won’t exaggerate the truth; I won’t paint people to be worse than they are. I can only speak my truth as it is. Any names in this blog are pseudonyms of actual people. I’m not that petty. But, I hope you read along as I share openly with you all about leaving toxic jobs when it is time.
This story is broken into parts, here is Part I.
Many of you that have been following my blog posts for the last couple of years, have probably seen my ranting and complaining about my previous job. Yes, I said previous. I worked at this job for 2.5 years, and it was the second worse job I’ve ever had in my entire life.
People have asked why I stayed working there that long, especially with the drama that came along with it, but to be honest I had a lot going on. When I began working there, I was in a place of trying to find myself again. I was coming off a long rope of securing my identity in my achievements, and since I had to drop my childhood dream of being a veterinarian down a sewer, I really didn’t know what I was good for anymore.
I wrote a post about my job (you can read it here) within a couple of months working there. I knew it wasn’t the job for me, but I was still trying to find my way. I was the only one working in the household at the time, and I needed a job that paid enough to cover the bills we had.
My supervisor was by far the worst supervisor I’ve ever had (we’ll call her Sarah). She was one of those people that do really well at their actual job but is definitely not fit to manage other people. She became the Exec. Assistant and, from what I thought, I was taking her role as the Front Desk. (Come to find out, I was in an Entry Position this entire time. More on that later).
For about a month, while her desk was being put together, her and I shared a desk at the front. Not my ideal situation since I was sick as a dog the second or third week of work. What’s sad is, Sarah cared more about me showing up to work because I was new than me taking care of my health. I sneezed through phone calls, kept having to leave the office to blow my nose every 5 minutes (literally). I was drowsy and my eyes were puffy, but this lady refused to care. She wanted a butt in that seat at all times.
I really wanted to be accepted into this workplace because this was going to be my new norm 8 hours out of the day. But, for some reason, I just couldn’t do enough to be seen as competent in my position. I remember sitting at my desk one time while she discussed matters with the best contractor around. I was about a month or two into my position. They stood in front of my desk and he asked:
“How’s she doing?”
Ok? Just ok? It took everything within me to suppress my frustration, and honestly, my hurt feelings. I was trying really hard to understand this new normal of mine. Being surrounded by suburban White folks that have never had a BIPOC hire to save their life. I already knew it’d be different, but now I had to break my back to prove I was able to do my job just so my supervisor could get off my back? That was unacceptable and one of the whitest biases known to man.
Now, I’m not saying I was Perfect Patty, because I wasn’t. When I had downtime, I’d write. Because my position was the kind that had to wait for assignments and duties, I had to find something to keep my muscle moving (my brain that is). Sarah ended up telling me it’d be okay if I decided to take 15-minute breaks to go walk the pond in our lot and read, or even walk the building. So, I started doing that. But when I did, I’d get told that I have to be at my desk because she’s tired of answering my calls.
Calls that never came (trust me, I checked the caller ID). But I digress.
In November of that year (3 months after starting this job), I started this blog on WordPress. I needed an escape route, somewhere I could share my honest feelings and not feel shutdown. I wrote about so many things and I did it because I enjoyed it, I still do almost 3 years later.
But Sarah just would not have it. She wasn’t that much older than me, she was in her early 30’s, so I was surprised by how nasty her attitude was towards me. Every Friday we have “check-in” meetings. I put quotes around it because I didn’t feel that she was genuinely interested in what I was doing, she just didn’t want to be left out the loop. It was also obvious that this woman had no idea what she was doing. Every meeting, when the business discussion was finished, she’d ask about my personal life.
“Any plans for the weekend? How’s Peter’s job search?”
Things that were generalized, but more so the feeling that she was trying to be warm-hearted but couldn’t quite warm up to it. Since I was still navigating who I was, I fell for it. I really thought her and I had hit it off, it was just getting off to a bumpy start. What’s so weird is that Sarah and I are a lot alike. We like things a certain way, and we don’t like to be proven wrong. The problem is, I spent years (7 to be exact) managing people successfully before getting that position, and when I’d give her tips on how to manage me she was not happy about it.
Fast forward to my one-year review. She first gave me a slip to fill out to grade her on her performance as a supervisor. So, I did just that. I made sure I told the truth that she was not a good supervisor, I didn’t appreciate her attitude towards me, and that she never listened to what I said, and that I felt unheard.
A few days later, on a Friday, we had that review. And it took a turn for the worst.
To be continued…
If you haven’t been reading my blogs lately, then you probably haven’t seen the few posts I wrote about while being at this job. Click here to read. I hope you enjoy!