Another day, another subject to consider and, I could easily relate this one to an immediate member of my family, in my father. Although I didn’t enjoy all parts of my childhood, there have been other occasions where he’s been good to me. He’s not the perfect dad but, he does try (certainly, a lot more now than what he used to). Also, I’d like to try and make some of these less-family-oriented in the hope of learning more about my interactions with others.
Today, I’m going to talk about one person that I used to work with and, perhaps also another…
Day 8 – Someone Who Has Treated Me Like S**t
Writing that last sentence, I realised that I could also have considered one of the bullies I faced during primary school. But, many of those memories are very sketchy. It was only ever verbal abuse and, I’ve learnt to begin to conquer that over the years in my own way and, more recently, through counselling.
Nearly six-and-a-half years ago, I left my first job (which I’d been in for four years) to go and work for another local firm (a self-employed tradesman) as a trainee. The work in question was relevant to the three-year course I was about to finish and, having basically sent him (and many others) a covering letter (not even a CV or résumé), I was delighted to get through the ‘interview’ stage (despite getting lost in searching for his business premises).
This was it, I thought. My one chance; the start to my story of a better life and career satisfaction.
It was my first proper job in this field and, from day one, I made some very basic mistakes. This did affect my confidence a bit but, both my employer and co-worker seemed to understand. But, as more mistakes came and, as the days and weeks passed, I could see their attitudes towards me changing.
They were both aggressive, frustrated, stressed, offensive and insulting. Their patience was long gone; they had no time left to show me where I was going wrong or, how I could overcome a similar situation next time. You can imagine how I felt; afraid to speak out, dangerously low on confidence and becoming increasingly paranoid and aware of the eyes in the corner, ready to pounce out from behind me and shout at my face.
I was employed as a ‘trainee’ but, that didn’t seem to mean a thing.
On several occasions, my boss referred to me as being “useless“; he would tell me that I “wanted shooting“, more than once. If I wasn’t so good at suppressing my emotions in front of others, I’d have burst in to tears much sooner than the day he sacked me. The other guy I worked with wasn’t much better but, he did once apologise for the way he spoke to me, after taking a few minutes to step outside the room. I always got the impression that they didn’t really get along too well… Our boss was often ringing up and speaking to the other guy, for reassurance and advice on how to do certain jobs.
What probably hurt the most was the accusation that I was “not aware of what was going on around” me. That really could not have been much further from the truth!! I’ve always felt as though I am more aware of details than any other person in a situation. I noticed things, I see the possible outcomes but, with my lack of self-confidence and fear of being questioned for what I’m doing, I chose not to ‘change things’ and leave them as they are. If there was an item to be moved in order to clear space for another then, I’d worry that I’d be questioned for doing something other than exactly as I was told. That was it; if someone didn’t tell me to assess the health and safety aspects of a situation (as an example) then, I wouldn’t do it, even if my initiative told me that I definitely should.
I’d been in the job no more than seven-weeks when the inevitable happened. I was pretty close to the edge by this time. My mood was truly represented by my facial expressions and lack of communication, neither of which he could begin to understand as he criticised me for it. I arrived in work about twenty-minutes late that day, to be greeted by him, outside, as soon as pulled up in my car. He wasn’t as offensive this time and I was aware that there were two new guys already inside (I could hear them talking). My sunglasses hid my tears but, when genuine thanked him for giving me a chance (with a shaky but determined voice, as he walked away), he took it completely the wrong way “Oh, yeah, you’ve had your chance!!”
I can remember returning home to find that mum hadn’t yet left for work. This was very difficult for me. I didn’t want to face her, let alone open the front door but, she was right there and, before I could answer any of her questions, I was already in tears. I’d cried for the full length of the journey home, even though I was relieved to be ‘free’.
Within two weeks though, I had another job, even though I felt as though I wasn’t ready to jump straight back in to full-time employment. I needed time that I couldn’t have. This job was working for the same company as I’d work for previously, albeit in a different role (but still, relevant to my studies, which had finished by this time). I was offered this job over a year earlier but, never seriously that keen. I wanted to get out of this company and to discover somewhere new but, there I was, back again.
It was my dad’s persistent questioning and controlling nature that led me there. He wouldn’t let it go; believing that he knew what was best for me. Within my first week, I knew that I wasn’t going to be happy here. Along with the negative thoughts and lack of belief in the direction I was heading, I was, of course, still suffering from the abuse I’d received previously – while telling all of this to my counsellor a while back, she said that I could’ve taken my employer to court! Bullying is not something that should be accepted in any situation. Even in the company I work for today, this issue is currently high on the agenda. I’m not involved this time but, I can see how and understand why the victim is so afraid to speak out with the truth.
Working at my old company placed me within close proximity to a man who wasn’t liked by many people. I’d not had many direct dealings with him before heading down there so, I kept an open-mind at first. It wasn’t long before I realised just how true there words were though. There was pure justification for the attitudes and opinions that many shared of him.
At the time, he must’ve been pushing sixty and he was the sort of person to work seven-days a week. Not so much because he needed the money but, I assume, because he had nothing else. Work was his life but, he didn’t seem to enjoy it. Constantly moaning and never showing true gratitude to anyone around him. He’d go behind your back to tell others what he really thought about you. Once you’d finished for the day, you can bet he’d sneak up and check on your progress (not so much the work), while you were’t looking. Constantly putting people down and demanding all the materials that he needed. It was always up to us to supply him and, although he never leant us a hand, we were never quick enough to respond, in his eyes.
He was bitter and, perhaps worst of all, he always got his own way. He wasn’t considered as management in any way and had no apparent supervisory skills. We’d have to drop everything, in the middle of a big job, just so that he would stop complaining.
His attitude generally was never person with any one person in this place but, it worse us all done. One colleague referred to him as “an atmosphere vacuum“.
I lasted less than eighteen-months in this job before my planned escape at Christmas time; entering a world without work for almost three-whole-years. Even now, I try to tell myself as though I quit because I didn’t enjoy the work, don’t have much respect for the company and because I wanted to get out and try something different… But, if I’m brutally honest with myself then, yes, it was partly because of one man that I didn’t return to work one January and sent a letter of resignation to my employer’s address.
He lives local to where I am now and, it’s rare when a week goes by and I don’t casually notice him. I do feel uncomfortable but, I’ve been able to walk right past him, staring straight in to his eyes, only to realise that he’s firmly fixated on his feet. When I see him outside of work, he seems more like a different person. It’s not a complete reversal; he’s just more sociable and seems to enjoy being involved.
These are two (perhaps even three) people who have made my life hell while at work and also, treated me like s**t in the process. However I turn out from here on in life, I’ve decided that I will strive hard to avoid ending up like either (or any) of them!