As previously hinted at, but generally skipped over, I have been bullied in the past.
When I came out of Uni I landed my dream job. I was making a difference in working my butt off every day, men in uniforms would often pop into my office and I loved it. However about 6 months in things started to go wrong. Suddenly I was accused of making mistakes that I hadn’t made. Being blamed for things that weren’t my fault. I was repeatedly told, on an almost hourly basis, I wasn’t working hard enough and told that my work colleagues didn’t like me.
Over time this lead to me skipping eating and drinking at work, as my first thought was if I can’t get through everything I need to then I can’t afford to take breaks. Then I started putting in longer hours as despite stopping all breaks I was still being told I wasn’t pulling my weight, I wasn’t good enough. I was so paranoid about making a mistake I would triple check work, and at it’s worst I was accounting for every minute of my day spent in that office.
“8.00 arrive at office, 8.02 – 8.05 computer loads, 8.05 – 8.07 outlook loads….”
I used to dread going into work. I wasn’t sleeping or eating properly, and one day while driving down the A1 I had the thought “if I just turn my wheel slightly I will hit the barrier and then maybe I can have a few weeks off!”
Believe it or not at no point did I realise I was being bullied. I thought it was me, I thought that the problem was me.
The bully was my male boss, who had a daughter my age – go figure. He just kept on and on, after a nice conversation with someone he would come up to me and tell me how much they hated spending time in my company. I went out of my way to make my colleagues like me I baked and brought in cakes, I made tea and coffee whenever someone wanted one and I panicked constantly. For example tea break time “If I stopped to take a break maybe people will get to know and like me, but they think I’m not pulling my weight, and if I stop then I am not working, so then they will hate me more, but if I don’t spend time with them how will they get to know me?” I was a mess.
The thing that really did my head in was that every one was being so lovely to my face. They all came out for my birthday lunch, which I spent months freaking out about holding, but it was an office tradition, they were lovely to my face yet on a near daily basis my boss was telling me no one liked me… they talked about me behind my back… I was letting them down…
Finally I could take it no more, and I went to the union who told me that they thought I was being bullied. The problem wasn’t me, I was shit at my job, it was him. I broke down, I was relieved, upset, emotionally knackered and generally screwed up.
Long story short, I took it to a disciplinary where massive changes were made in relation to the workings of the office I was in, including the boss being moved into a shared office with his senior management. But I was told there was no bullying. Numerous colleagues stood up and stated that I was being bullied – so much for them not liking me – and I have since learnt three of my colleagues have also left due to bullying from this individual but ‘officially’ there was no bullying.
They told me to go back to work, in that office ,with that man.
Three different doctors told me I could never return to that office, for health reasons. So in the end I was left with no option but to hand in my notice. The HR department wouldn’t let me move to another office, despite requests from various people to have me go work for them and so on Christmas eve after 5 years of this shit I walked away from the job I had trained for.
18 months down the line I am in a new job, but my gremlins are still there, and worse they are now starting to affect my life at present, including my relationship with OH. I have made the decision to return to counselling, I had it when this kicked off and they were great but I am not coping any more.
My problem is by going back I can’t help but feel like he, my boss, has won.
This one guy has being significantly responsible for fucking up my life, and yet I would bet he doesn’t even spare me a second thought.