Stormy waters

Well, up in the middle of the night. I feel just a sick kind of dread in the bottom of my stomach.

Tomorrow I give notice at my job. Long overdue.

It was an eventful day yesterday in terms of finding out where things stood. They stand badly. I had been somewhat unsure whether I was receiving the silent treatment. As my friend E said, how do I know for sure? Passive aggression is indeed harder to prove in court than overt aggression.

After my weekend of being unable to function, I resolved to speak to big boss about possibly switching to another manager. I finally got a few minutes of her time today. The answer was no. She wanted me to tell her the case against J with examples. I hadn’t actually come to build a case against her, I just wanted to know if I could switch managers, as she’d indicated I might in my first months there. So I gave a lame example and left it at that.

I was disappointed and depressed.

Then I had an argument with J. I pretty much provoked it, I was so fed up with the silent treatment. So she pulled me into a meeting room. First the argument – she went on for a long time. When I could get a word in, I apologized for raising my voice earlier. It’s not how I want to be. She didn’t really acknowledge what I said.

J then launched into what a terrible job I’d been doing as editor. How she’d gotten feedback on all my projects, and that they were unbelievably bad. And she saw this and that project, and couldn’t believe it had been sent out like this. I asked her for examples. It’s difficult to stop the tsunami that is this woman, but I did. Show me. How can I fix it if you don’t tell me it’s happening at the time, if I never see it, if I’m not given the feedback at all until you are furious and throwing everything you have at me.

Then on to a different part of this job, which is supporting what she actually does. She is so overworked it is unbelievable. I wasn’t helping. OK, tell me one task here that you have given me, that I haven’t done. She replied that she was waiting to have the confidence in me that I could do these tasks. Well, how can I help how confident you feel about me? Bottom line, you are furious, because I didn’t do tasks I was never assigned.

Anyway. I ask why then she hired me, just weeks ago, if my work was so terrible. She said she hadn’t had the feedback from team leads yet at that time. Well – surely if you’re going for feedback about a job candidate, the time to do that is before you extend an offer.

This all happened in fifteen minutes. So then I understood big boss’ unwillingness to help me. If I’m not performing to standard, she would not be motivated to help me. I knew J was angry with me, but I didn’t know why. So now I know.

J has this vision of being a perfect corporate person – always well dressed, always with the fast fast fast jargony response, and also dedicating huge amounts of overtime every day, fulfilling every demand no matter what the personal cost. Perfect spreadsheets are so much more important than any people who might be around.

I have a much more low-key style. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about my work, but she clearly interprets this as uncaring and sloppy. It’s not. I just hate that kind of robotic, brisk way of walking, that pressured fast flow of speech that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about it. The idea that accurately transferring information from one cell of a spreadsheet to another is the essence of good work.

Do I ever feel sad. Especially about the team leads giving her negative feedback about my editing. I’d thought I was basically getting along well with others there, and did not know my work was of concern. It’s maybe telling that I did not get this feedback at all until I’d made J angry with a pretty much random comment.

I do feel like a failure. This reminds me of other situations where I could do no right for a manager, and was eventually fired, after months of terrible strain and not knowing how to improve the situation.

I also sent Ron an email about this whole mess tonight and he didn’t respond. I’d think, when I’m losing my job might be a time he would respond, even if just to say this sucks doesn’t it. So as I’ve noticed before, quitting a job seems linked to wanting to quit therapy. Maybe those two similar type events are linked together in my brain.

I have to get through the next two weeks somehow. I do keep trying to stay with the feelings, not spin out into ceaseless thinking about how unfair it is, or how I should have quit earlier. On that score, maybe I just needed to see this all play out before I left.


  1. I’ve been following the story of what’s been happening with your work, and it sounds horrible. And no matter how much anyone else might tell you, or you might tell yourself, that leaving is the right thing to do, the actual process of things being bad enough to leave, coming to the decision and going through the process sucks big time. I hope you can have a bit of time to recover from all of it before you have to plunge back into looking for new work.

    • Ellen said:

      It’s been awful. Sometimes I think if I had a partner or family, people to decompress with at the end of each day, maybe I’d weather all this better. Instead these are my main daily interactions, and they’re really bad. And actually, no one encouraged me to leave at all – not that there are a lot of people. But everyone except Ron has pointed out the advantages of a full-time job, benefits, and that it can’t be all that bad. But you know what – it is. Maybe I can’t explain it so others understand, but it is a bad scene. And you’re right – this whole process is sucking. I now have to sit there for two weeks like an invisible dead person basically, to fulfill my notice requirements. But on the other hand, I am comforted to know I am taking care of myself by leaving, especially of small vulnerable and hurt parts. That part of it is really positive.

      Thank you Dangerous.

  2. This is a big step and very brave. Wishing you a lot of strength…the environment seems too toxic for you if its causing such stress. Stay strong…you havent failed…♡

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Emerging. It is too toxic for me. Thanks for saying I haven’t failed, even though I feel I have.

      • Maybe you failed to fit into an environment that wasn’t suited to you. Maybe when and if you leave you can find one that suits you better. ❤

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