Bullying and me
I have been trying really hard to work on my blog and develop both myself and my potential recently as I have felt more energised and positive about the present and future. But something struck me the other day and I thought I would write about it and hope it may help someone else out there. I also hope it never happens to my children, but if it does they may take some comfort from it too.
Bullying happened to me, but not as a child, as an adult. I had always struggled working while leaving my baby girl. I was so lucky in that she was with family the whole time I was at work, but I felt awful about it. I hadn’t been enjoying the job I was in for a while (just stopped being a good fit for me I think), so I thought a change of work scene might help.
I applied for and got a job working for a large employer in the public sector. A management heavy organisation under the constant threat of cuts, it probably wasn’t the best move I’ve ever made but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The department was understaffed and the line manager went on long term sick a week after I started. I never had any induction training of any significance. I didn’t realise that there were certain ‘rules’ both clear and hidden that one was expected to follow. I felt totally out of my depth, even though it should have been completely within my ability range. I had no one to speak to about the etiquette as everyone seemed to keep their own counsel or I just wasn’t welcome into existing confidences.
Eventually all of this misunderstanding and lack of knowledge on my part resulted in a miscommunication of major proportions (except it happened over a holiday period so
I was totally unaware of it until I stepped into the office and was summoned into the senior managers office.)
Even now, three years later it still makes me feel sick thinking about it. I was disciplined for not booking time off correctly, even though my mistake was genuine because I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t listened to and made to feel like I was a deliberately rude employee. I didn’t even have anyone available to ask as my ‘team’ was non existent-the admin person left suddenly and the other colleague was rarely in the office. To be honest, I had no idea I’d done anything wrong, I’m way too scared of being told off to challenge rules like that!
After that, the remaining 8 months of that job were absolute hell to be honest. I was hauled up on anything and everything. I felt so scared and paranoid that even to this day, if I put myself out there in any way I feel worried that somehow I’m going to get into trouble or be ‘told off’. I recently sent an email to someone with an idea and spent a couple of hours panicking that it was ‘too much’. It took me ages to calm down and rationalise it. Plus, it turned out to be OK I think. But that nagging doubt re-appears every so often.
I am proud that I stuck out my contract and left at the end of the 12 months with my head held high. But the effects on my confidence are still felt even now. I won’t let it stop me though and I won’t let that individual affect my life any more than they have already.
I chose not to challenge the individual concerned as I felt it would only make things much worse, and I did my job the best that l could under difficult circumstances as that’s what made me feel better. I don’t know if I would do the same now though-I hope I don’t have to find out to be honest.
What it did do for me though was start me on the road to following my long wished for hope of writing for a living. It took me a while to get started, but started I have and I couldn’t be happier. Scared, yes, but so glad I am giving it a go. I have my moments, and if the phrase ‘it’s not what you know but who you know that counts’ is really true then it’s going to take me a while as I really don’t know anyone in the freelance writing field. However, I’m getting to know some people and it feels good!