Work is finished now thank God. I feel quite traumatized by this experience. Not quite. Very. Today I’ve spent a lot of time in bed, just trying to get bits of me back. This has been pretty much the worst work experience of my life, and i’ve had some bad ones. The disheartening aspect is that i’d thought I’d become so much more socially skilled, with all this therapy and reading, that I wouldn’t get into these situations anymore. But not so.
These last two weeks, the manager continued her silent treatment of me unabated. She sat right beside me, so I never seemed to get much of a break from it. I was excluded from all meetings, and had almost no work to do, so had to fill in eight hours, day after day, with my own stuff. Which may sound quite pleasant, but isn’t. You know you’re sitting there as a punishment, no one speaks to you, and it’s all pointless, just for this individual to show their power over you.
My social skills do disintegrate after a certain amount of this treatment. I feel in so much pain, I don’t really know how to respond to people or how to approach anyone. Things spiral downward.
Plus my sense of reality is attacked. I rack my brains for what has gone wrong, what I could have done. It must have been really bad, for them to act this way, as if I don’t exist.
A small bright spot was my fellow contractor who was also let go, a young man from an African country in one of his first contracts. I persisted in trying to get both of these contractors to go out for coffee with me, as a way to at least connect to someone. The one who wasn’t fired refused – he dropped me entirely during my two weeks, presumably not wanting to be tainted. But the other one came sometimes.
He was a bit better off than I was, because he did not sit right with the manager. As well, he had some work to do, and, he worked with the other contractor, doing the same things, so they naturally chatted throughout the day. To my eyes, he had the better deal here. But it was still rough on him. The manager treated him similarly, not speaking to him, speaking only to his co-worker.
So we walked around on breaks, laughing (a bit hysterically on my part), and talking about our work situation, but also I found out a bit about him and where he came from. On our last day, I left before him, and he actually accompanied me the few blocks to the subway to keep me company. I remember his big smile and warm goodbye as we parted. That was so nice.
I said goodbye to only one other co-worker, a nice BA who was also contract but for a different manager. She bought me a quick tea at Tim’s as a goodbye. Trying to make me feel better, she actually made me feel worse. She said not to worry, you’ll get back on your feet and put this behind you. Just a failure to connect.
Was it a failure to connect? For sure, the manager disliked me, but was it because I didn’t connect with her? This BA is self-confident and socially skilled, definitely more than I am. But is social self-confidence the thing that they pay me for at work?
I told her I actually didn’t see what I could have done differently. Which I don’t. It’s true that everyone who approaches this manager seems to do so in a very – oh how are you darling? is everything OK with you? kind of a way. Which I didn’t realize for the first week or two, and wouldn’t have been good at anyway.
Today I’m feeling like I have a complete lack of social skills. I do have trouble making friends. I think I am a good friend in terms of loyalty and honesty, but I don’t seem to appeal to people much so that we can become friends. Maybe the world is missing out.
I just need to recover slowly. Right now everything feels kind of strange – I haven’t assimilated this bad experience yet.