Work lunch

Another post in my continuing series on my life at work.

This morning was rough. I felt so sad, and so silently freaked out. I often have these swirling emotions where I can’t concentrate, and that happened in the morning. Maybe my distress was visible – a fairly curmudgeonly co-worker asked me how I was doing when I passed him in the hall, and he has never ever asked me that before. I said fine and how are you, and left it at that, because I really didn’t want to start crying at work. But it was kind of nice he asked me.

As far as I know, no one at work knows I’ve resigned. I don’t tell anyone – I’m not close to anyone, and it seems disruptive or complaining or something to do so.

But at our small team meeting, J tells my co-worker B I’ve resigned. B very sweetly looks upset – this sad upset look goes over her face. I’m touched, because she didn’t ever talk to me much. I expected she would be indifferent, but she wasn’t.

Back at our desks, I asked if she wanted to go for coffee, if she was interested in what had happened. She said yes, but closer to lunch. She actually never takes breaks, but she does take lunch. But she didn’t want to be seen by J going to lunch with me, so she went off first, then I followed after, and we came back separately. lol. I tell you, the place is insane. But it’s true, J becomes jealous if she thinks we like each other better than her. Ridiculous as this is.

We sat in the food court. B was really really kind. She’s at least twenty years younger than me, but she was kind and sympathetic, and it was so much what I needed at that point. She told me that her two predecessors had both quit, because of J, and that she was the first to have lasted. She said her first six months there were completely awful, and she survived just because she called the former person who had quit the job, and  went to coffee with her a few times, and chatted about the job. I guess she realized it wasn’t her, it was J.

She’s been interviewing also, but needs to hang on for a promised promotion up a level before she leaves, which she’s planning to do next year. She said she survived by accept whatever J dished out. It’s still tough for her, but J trusts her more now, and is nicer to her a lot of the time, aside from the constant micro-managing.

She said she felt bad she didn’t talk to me before, she could see I was having a rough time, maybe she could have helped and I would have stayed. That’s actually true, though I don’t say this exactly. If we could have been allies, and I could have let off some steam and realized I was not alone, that would have helped. And yet – who knows. I might then have stayed in a bad situation that was only just tolerable, instead of finding something better.

B doesn’t look like a depressed abused person. She looks fairly happy, and she takes care of herself, good clothes, exercise, etc. Some women who come from abuse have that look, they look sad, and don’t take care of themselves, but she doesn’t have that. And talking to her, she didn’t even seem that shy. So it’s mysterious, that she is so very quiet at work.

I used to look like an abused, depressed person I think. I’d wear cheap twenty year old clothes, have a bad haircut, and look sad. I don’t anymore though I don’t think.

We also discussed if J could change. B said you can’t change your personality, so she can’t help it. I said you could change your personality somewhat, but it’s a lot of work and you have to want to do that. I think with J, although employee after employee is quitting on her,  and she’s been spoken to about this major problem, she does not really see any need to change.

It’s interesting because I can see she is taking on board that she is not doing well as a people manager, as they call them in the bank. The thing is, she doesn’t actually get what she’s doing wrong. The problem is so deeply rooted in her, she can’t see it. And so she tries to do things, like sometimes she’ll have this fake ‘kind’ voice that she’ll suddenly use on the phone, instead of her usual ranting. Or she’ll try to make friends with us, suddenly coming over and telling us all about her weekend. But she doesn’t really connect, for one thing since we’re all shell shocked by her previous behaviours anyway. And she works very hard, seeking perfection and putting in endless overtime, which is why she is allowed to continue this costly behaviour. She is useful to the organization in other ways.

So that was the end of our lunch. We parted ways, and came back into the office separately, so J would not suspect the terrible deed of having lunch with a team mate! Walking on eggshells is the technical term I’m looking for here. He he.

In the afternoon, I gradually calmed down. By end of day, I was doing my spreadsheet task so calmly, I almost enjoyed it. I think it was having that lunch, having a human interaction, that helped so much.

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8 comments
  1. Connecting with people does make an enormous difference. I’m glad it’s making things just that little more bearable.

  2. I am so glad you got at least a little of the support you needed in this situation, Ellen. I really believe you will come out of this much stronger. Its a hard thing to be going through alone, with no one much to share it with.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Emerging. Yeah, sometimes I think it would be so helpful to have someone there to share with.

  3. I’m glad you had a nice lunch it sounds like it was just what you needed. xxx

  4. Human interaction… it’s such a little thing, yet such a big thing. ❤
    Also wanted to let you know my blog is private now, but if you request access, I'll happily let you in. 🙂 xx Lily

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Lily. I’ll request access.

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