Friday, June 14, 2013

The Mental Health Day

Any regular reader of this blog has probably twigged that I've not been having a great time at work of late.

And I haven't. It's been quite frankly revolting - though I won't say a bad word about my team who are great. It's just a hostile, toxic environment and after a lot of consideration, I put in my resignation the other day to see me out of there at the end of the month.

It's been bad enough to stop me writing and drain the joy out of my normally happy spirit. It's not a good place to be.

Thing is, after yet another stress filled day at the coal face yesterday, once again having strips torn off me by the department boss for alleged non-performance, once again ending up feeling like I was the most incompetent, useless person who'd completely misrepresented myself at the interview, it was decided among the bosses that I should leave there and then. Oh yes, adding insult to injury, I'm told that I should harden up as well. He want the sweet and bubbly person he saw at the interview back - my answer for which is how can you be sweet and bubbly when you're in an environment where everybody is feeling knives to their back.

Great. A months worth of work to get through in a fortnight and they're another team member down. That was my first thought.

The last time I was spoken to like this was back in the day I worked in a department store with a draconian, Victorian boss. Different modus operandi, miserable and trapped - maybe this it why the current situation is rankling so much.

Then after going for a coffee with my team manager to get some air and talk this out (with his full sympathies, as he's had issues with this person) I come back to the next manager up the line wanting a talk with me.

I like this fellow a lot. He's a good bloke. I explained the situation - that I've been miserable, that I find the environment toxic, that how anybody gets anything done in such a hostile environment amazing, that my confidence had been knocked and that the tasks to be done were insurmountable. And that I resent being told to "Harden Up." I also said that in me leaving - what ever my incompetences - would leave the team even more exposed. He and I came to the agreement, saying he could find no problem with my work, that I'd take the rest of the day off, come back Monday, blast through what I could for the next week and leave next Friday. He would also keep me out of the firing line of the other guy.
Fine for me. Better for the team.

So, for the first time in my history - I'm having a mental health day, purely for my mental health reasons.

I'll cope next week. It's five days with a senior manager's protection. It will be fine.

But for today - I've had a lovely quiet one.

Last night, after I left work, came in, had some dinner, I went to the gym. Thankfully, it was Slap night last night - off to see the trainer. 45 minutes spent throwing heavy things around and belting the crap out of things really helped. After three tabata rounds with the punching bag, I think it was pretty dead. "Have I killed it yet, Slap?" I'd ask him after each sweat dripping round.

"Nearly." he'd smile back at me. "Go back and kill it some more."

Slap knows that I used to train with one of Lennox Lewis's old trainers in London. Boxing is my go to stress reliever. I've got a session up my sleeve with Erdin, another one of the trainers who specialises in boxing. I swap website text for boxing lessons. I think I'll need it. Taking your anger, stress and resentment out on something that won't yell back is a good thing.

I left feeling much better.

(image from

And so to today. I woke to a monster headache - not surprisingly.

A morning spent reading in bed, a lunchtime Pump class, lunch with Jay, more reading and now I'm off to dinner with Pinochet and the girls from the gym for a catch up.

The rest of the weekend has me having a nice girlie day with some friends tomorrow, maybe a movie and a christening party for a friend's daughter. Should be nice.

It was only the other day I was mentioning to a friend that I was sick of having to be a hard nut all the time  - that I wanted to be soft and gentle for a change - to not have to gird my loins every time I stepped into the door at work. To not feel the urge to give some expletive driven rant to the guy who told me to "Harden up."

Things don't have to be like this.

And I'm looking for my next role. I have the list of requirements - something I neglected to investigate in this last role. It looks like this:

  • Great people
  • Interesting, challenging work with defined scope
  • Good money
  • City based
  • Work life balance
  • Mid-large sized company
  • Good management
  • Fun, diverse, interesting team
  • 6-12 month contract
My last role at Sparks and Ladders ticked all these boxes.

Lets hope, like last time I left a contract early, I manifest this sort of role again - that this dreadful work experience is ending so I can find something great. I'm putting it out there.

It's not until you've witnessed the bad do you really appreciate how good the good can be.


Elephant's Child said...

I am so sorry. And very glad that you are getting out. That sort of poison is beyond destructive. I will be thinking of you next week, and thankful that you have at least some protection.

Pandora Behr said...

Thanks, EC. x

Jackie K said...

Oh my god, that's awful. My jaw dropped reading that. Good you're getting out (obviously) and good you've had at least one senior assure you your work is fine. These situations can seriously mess with your head. Good luck next week, I'll be thinking of you.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

"Harden up"? "HARDEN UP"??? My God - I would have bloody well "hardened up" on the spot. I've had run ins with that kind of arse before.


I'm angry on your behalf, Pand because I hate that - I really do!!