I’m going to preface this blog with a warning that it contains a lot of sarcasm, sass and perhaps an ego driven detail of events. I’ve added this for humour because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry and to be transparently honest, at the root of it all I was so incredibly hurt that the idea of laughing about it makes me hopeful that one day I actually will…
There are a few things that grate on my nerves/irk me/get under my skin – whichever terminology you warm to in this scenario…
- People who copy in the world when only “you” are being directed in an email. Calm the F down and let’s act like adults shall we? You don’t need an audience to intimidate me.
- People who pretend you are over reacting when you criticise their behaviour only to make you feel as though you are seeing things/experiencing things incorrectly. This can sometimes or mostly always cause doubt in your perception of events.
- When people put their cold feet on my warm feet. Just don’t. Totally irrelevant to todays post but since we’re getting personal there’s some added content!
Let’s address point number 2 shall we because when I first started writing this post I was super fired up. As someone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship, I have experienced this kind of turmoil first hand and the shell of a human being I became as a result of it. On the up side, going through that has strengthened my intuition and my acknowledgement of my feelings including the way I analyse events. Don’t get me wrong, I still doubt myself but I am aware of who I am and confident in my feelings and others intentions in certain scenarios more than ever before.
As well as personal relationships this is also very relevant in workplace relationships. In my last long term work environment it was with my newly appointed supervisor. She’s lovely, or so I thought she was until I got the impression that I was all of a sudden being micro managed.
A quick back story: I was in my role for over 12 months and fairly confident with what I did (not in a cocky way, just a thorough tick all the boxes kind of way) and I was certainly not afraid of seeking out help and admitting if I didn’t know something. The transition from working autonomously with no one checking up on me, only to simply ask a favour or add something to my work load >>>fast forward to all of a sudden someone following the cookie trail of everything I did to ensure I completed it correctly halted me. Offended me? Slightly. But one particular day I was pushed to the limit.
I worked 2 days a week in a customer service role predominantly from home with the odd occasion where I’d work a day in the office. I always logged on before my start time to catch up on my overflowing inbox and see what I’d missed during the week. I preferred to get a head start so I would usually log on during the week but sometimes my life got in the way so on my work day I’d log on super early before the kids woke up and then I’d log in that evening and finish anything off when the kids went to bed. The work load was more than a standard work day to put it into context.
I didn’t get paid for the extra hours but the OCD in me likes to complete everything and leave nothing unturned. I’d describe myself as thorough. Whether I liked or disliked my boss has never impacted my attention to detail. Lucky for her at that point. I’m also aware that in my specific role what I did had a flow on effect with my supervisor receiving the impact of what I did wrong/didn’t complete so I did everything to the best of my ability.
Having worked directly with this woman before (back when we were ‘equals’) I was under the impression that she knew how I worked and my level of care because she had praised me many times for my efforts covering the contract she looked after or when I assisted her whilst she was overwhelmed with her workload. Apparently we were scrapping that long term memory and starting fresh. She even questioned why my emails were coming through so late (after 7pm). My source told me this was also brought up in their management meeting and that she was implying I didn’t pull my weight during the day to get everything completed, which left me actioning things in the evening. From where I was standing I think she would have just preferred that I did my hours and left the rest because then she would have something to complain about… She quickly changed her intention for asking when her boss came to my defence advising her not to question my long hours because she was well aware that I went above and beyond. Funnily enough she quickly added that the only reason she was asking was because it meant she logged in to additional emails on a Monday morning when she would have preferred to action them on a Friday. For some context all she needed to do was respond “approved” to said “emails” so I’m not sure what the issue was exactly unless this was personal.
So it was Friday and I started the day early and purposely put my skype status as ‘away’ before I officially started. It let people know that I was here (but not here, if you catch my drift) so I could catch up. We used Skype to chat internally and make phone calls and it was also our way of monitoring who was online/on the phone etc. She (my supervisor) of course popped up with her message asking me 1. to cover someone else’s contract, 2. why my status was set to away and 3. what hours I worked. The contract she requested I cover was one I had worked on for the most part of the previous 12 months. I was more than aware of how high maintenance they were and the time constraints on notifications and communications that needed to be made so I notified them of some late deliveries straight away. I was met with a response not long after advising that they had been informed the night before and their customers were aware. Job done. Or so I thought. I then had 2 follow up skype messages from my beloved supervisor about the notification. I firstly advised her yes, I had seen the email and the customer was notified. The 2nd time I assured her, yes I did let the customer know and that they had responded that they were aware… I like to change up my wording in case for some reason there was a comprehension error when I responded with the exact same message as the first time. Then an email comes through (with everyone else copied in of course *insert eye roll here*) asking the same question she had just asked me in the skype messages because she went and checked and wasn’t able to find it. That’s when my blood started to boil. It was bad enough she had asked me the same thing 3 times but now she was literally going and checking to see if I had done what I’d said I did. I am very familiar with the processes and programs we use and I have never given anyone reason to believe my word is untrustworthy. I then wasted the following 5 minutes sending screen shots to show her because she “couldn’t locate it”.
I am one of the most patient people I know and I despise time wasters. This was 10 minutes of my day better spent WORKING. If she had the time and resources to stalk me I would say she needs to add some work to her plate. But most importantly if you don’t believe I am competent to complete the simplest of tasks, simply do it yourself.
One thing I’m sure of is who I am and her opinion of me although it’s none of my business also wouldn’t matter. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way but I am 1000 times harder on myself than anyone else could be so the only person’s expectations I struggle to live up to is my own. I set the bar pretty damn high and with good reason.
Instead of confronting her I went to our boss thinking that it was the next right step. Confronting my supervisor wasn’t an option for me because intuitively I knew her personality type and deflecting was most definitely going to be her plan of attack. Instead of giving her the heads up so she could spin her own web of lies I went straight to the top – to someone I genuinely thought would be fair and understanding. I was not met with compassion. I am still so disappointed at the defence that went up for the accused. They happen to be related by marriage but I didn’t think that would influence her reaction. I read the whole situation completely wrong and I spent the majority of the phone call in tears. My email was direct but I don’t believe it was rude. I had explained I was at the end of my tether and that a number of scenarios had occurred over the last few weeks and I felt as though I was being micro managed. I went on to say that I don’t work well under these circumstances and that maybe this wasn’t the place for me anymore.
The defence was that I was the one in the scenario being unreasonable and her actions were warranted. That she is someone who likes to document everything and dot her i’s and cross her t’s and she was simply doing her job. Whilst she’s still learning she fully supported all of her behavioural issues I had raised and also threw in the comment that my accusation would really ‘hurt’ her and that I’d made this awkward by not going to her first. Oh, but I forgot to mention the part where she also commented on how much she appreciates me and that I leave a massive whole in the team by not committing to full time. Sorry honey, when you slap me in the face there’s no coming back. Message received LOUD AND CLEAR,
So the take away from this scenario although it might seem extreme is that I needed to leave, this was most definitely not the place for me anymore. When you’re taking time away from your children to go to work, you don’t want or need to deal with narcissistic people, My perspective on work and life has most certainly changed since becoming a mother. Before I would stress about not having a job and now I know I need to show the universe that I know I deserve better to be open to that coming in. I don’t and won’t operate from a mindset of ‘lack’. Never would I expect my kids to stay in an environment this toxic let alone one that was enabled by management. So it was time to manifest my new beginning… and so it was!
When I resigned I was met with the comment “this isn’t about that petty shit on Friday is it?” and all I thought was, the fact that you think it’s petty and aren’t taking this seriously is reason enough for me to know I’m making the right decision. I drafted an email to the agency I worked for that morning, I hadn’t even signed my name at the bottom when I accidentally hit a button on my keyboard resulting in my email being sent unfinished. Yet another sign from the Universe that confirmed I was making a well overdue decision. I didn’t take the time to explain why I was leaving because I was at a point where I didn’t want to create any waves. I was giving 3 weeks notice and finishing up on a good note where these toxic humans would hopefully forget all about me and move on with their miserable lives.
My last day was one last blow that I didn’t see coming. Filled with an intense level of micro managing where I was literally stalked to find out who I was having “goodbye” conversations with. My manager then proceeded to inform me that they were inappropriate and unnecessary. I was interrogated as to why I had spoken to the other supervisor on my team and not my nominated supervisor and it all just spiralled from there. As soon as my finish time rolled around I was more than happy to pack up my equipment and head into the office for the very last time.
I let my manager think we had still ended on good terms. That despite the fact that we no longer worked together we would still be present in each others lives. The hard truth is that a friendship died in the process of this unhappily ever after but it obviously wasn’t one of substance to begin with. Shame on me for thinking otherwise.