Pardon me while I suck in a deep breath to prepare myself for this one.
Last time on Occupational Haphazard, I spoke about my situation with my job, how it was sucking the life out of me, how I was giving in to depression, how I felt useless, worthless, and how what my bosses were doing to me certainly wasn't helping. I ended on the sentiment:
"But no, I have no idea what life has in store. They say "When it rains, it pours," and honestly I think this little pit is only going to keep getting worse before the sun comes out again. That's not be being a pessimist, that's me judging based on past trends.
Something inside of me kept hoping this wasn't true. It was like I had a dull spark inside, a pilot light with no fuel but a can-do attitude, just clicking away at the void. See, I think I knew at that point that work wasn't going to get better. That's why I started scraping a portfolio out of the garbage can that is my pile of work. That's why I started fervently applying for every relevant job that didn't immediately require me to show them a portfolio. If work wasn't going to get better, I had to make something
get better before shit hit the proverbial fan.
However, part of me also knew I had to make something worse.
Back in July, (maybe early August, I don't remember the exact date) I was transferred to a new location to work more directly with NuBoss. The problem was I didn't really work so much as sit there and hope that I would get some work. Sure, they gave me a token assignment here and there, (including one that I was supposed to use to "wow" the powers-that-be and "really prove [my]self," a story in-and-of-itself) and I was able to fill the rest of the time with old projects that never really got finished, but there was never really anything to do.
In fact, the one job that was supposed to be part of my job description was taken largely out of my hands by NuBoss for a reason that was never explained to me. He never even confronted me about it, just started doing it himself and reported to others that it was "his job."
This came suspiciously after a reprimand I received from him for asking my old boss what he wanted to do about a furniture order that couldn't be fulfilled before the show. I was told its my responsibility to take care of those problems, and I shouldn't be putting them on other people. This was news to me, but I moved on, spent the next 4+ hours sourcing an alternative, then presented the alternative to the relevant people, including the old boss. At this point, I was told "no, we were just going to use that thing we already have in stock."
Fucking news to me. I didn't even know we already had that in stock. Sure would have been nice if NuBoss let old boss tell me that before I wasted half a day sourcing something new.
NuBoss is really playing the Janus at this point. To my face, he's polite, has a sense of humor, attempts to seem forthcoming as possible. When he's not talking to me, however, he constantly complains about how much work he has to do, how it's a shame he has nobody who can help (yeah, I'm within earshot, jackass), and is constantly reporting every supposed slip-up to HR. Oh, hello panic attack. I didn't see you there. How are you doing this evening? No, I wasn't expecting you to visit I was just dkzjnf ljsnajrvlKSJN unqeoinp9t4h;KDFJNGKD JFNVPJNAVKJDNVAL~!!@!!!!@#@!$@#$!$
This rampant horseshittery put me in a very, very bad place. Bad enough that I actually had the brain-lapse to inform NuBossBoss that I was looking for another job. When he tried to "convince" me to stay, I made probably the biggest mistake I've ever made in my professional life.
I started talking to him about my mental health issues.
And I told him that there are mornings where I sincerely think about killing myself instead of coming to work.
He told me I need to seek help. I told him I am and have been for 2-3 years now, because of the shit this job has been doing to me, and it's only been getting worse.
Now, the stuff I've outlined here is maybe 1/10th of the crap that has actually happened since I got transferred to the new location. I can't count the times I've had anxiety attacks at my desk and have had to basically hide myself in a corner so nobody would see. I came here feeling useless, worthless, unwanted, overwhelmed, undervalued, and incredibly threatened. I've spent 3 months dealing with that daily.
Remember a couple paragraphs up when I mentioned that NuBoss was reporting every supposed slip-up to HR? What slip ups? Well, XXXX, of course. But hang on, I have this signed paper here from the CEO saying he wasn't taking away any of our benefits. I had YYYY at the old company, and surely never agreed to give it up. How can I XXX if I have YYY?
Apparently, I can be. As of last Friday, I was fired over it. No, I'm not going into all the details here. I'm just going to handwave past it, hoping I've painted an accurate enough picture of this company and myself that you can all probably guess where the truth lies. Suffice it to say there was a... specific issue
I was stuck in this limbo of confusion for a few days after I got fired. I didn't know what to think. On one hand, they won, right? I was a dog they tried to keep on a leash, but I kept fighting it. They tightened the leash, I fought harder, and eventually, I just shook the collar off. Now I'm like a stray with nobody to feed me. On the other hand, what kind of dog wants to be collared to a short leash, tied to a tree, ignored, and have all their toys taken away?
This is where I go back to the "part of me also knew I had to make something worse" thing I mentioned earlier. See, I... could have been more cooperative. That's honestly the story of my life. I could have buckled down, bit the bullet, doped myself up until I stopped feeling, and done what they'd asked. I could have been there the exact 8 hours they wanted so I could listen to NuBoss tell everyone how much work he has, and how nobody is there to help him. I could listen to NuBossBoss talk about how good of a boss he is and how far he would stick his neck out for me "if only i would..." I could shuffle paperwork until the paper cuts killed me. I could make all those phone calls to nobody. I could have been that perfect little employee had I just done "XXXX," like NuBoss suggested.
I could have just turned off me
for 55 hours every week, and I would still have a job.
Or I could have just made things worse so I could get started on making them better.
I didn't want to lose my job: that's not a way one wants to go. It feels a whole lot like you lost, no matter how the people closest to you go "oh thank god" when you tell them. The people closest to me aren't wrong: it's not completely a bad thing that I lost my job. A week out and I already feel healthier, both physically and mentally. I'm still panicking like crazy over things like my mortgage and car payments, feeding my dog AND NOW TAKING THAT MORON TO THE VET FOR WHATEVER HE DID TO HIS LEG.
But these things that are wrong? They're my
doing (not the dog's leg... I have no clue what he did), and goddamnit, I can undo
them. I don't have to wait, I don't have to beg.
There is a lot to be said for controlling your environment in managing your depression and anxiety. There was a whole lot about my job that was simply out of control, and so much of my life suffered because of it. This isn't some magical panacea, but its also not the poison that I feared it would be while I still had a job. It irks me to think about how much I loved this job 7 years ago when I first got it. When I remember the joy I felt when I got the phone call offering me the position, when I think about actually being eager to go to work in the morning, about liking my coworkers and my bosses, I get this pang of... so many emotions. How this all wrapped up isn't right, but that's life. It's time to polish this turd of a portfolio and move on.