When Wrongful Termination Turns Into A Messy Divorce.

time-to-say-goodbye-farewell_pixabayIt’s been awhile since I last published a post. Heck, it’s been awhile since I last turned on my personal laptop at home to do my blogging. Yes, it’s been awhile.

There is a back story to this. There is a reason why I haven’t been blogging consistently. Four months ago, on January 14, 2018, I published a post about the fear of losing my job in In Loving Memory… Of My Job. Yes, the fear was confirmed, the war has begun and the battle is underway.

I have been busy fighting for my job. Since the beginning of February 2018, I have been embroiled in a mud-slinging, muck-raking, and health-endangering battle to keep my job at my current company.

When I joined the company in 2016, I was hired to do marketing which included but not limited to:

  • Campaigns: Educational, promotional, new product/feature launches, website and product updates.
  • Content: Social media management, blog management, monthly newsletters, online and print ads.
  • Events: Registration, preparing goodie bags, sending out communications about the event, or just assisting the relevant parties before, during and after the event.

Everything changed two years later. New management came onboard and reshuffled the entire team structure.

Before you crucify me, let me just say that I know how change works. It takes time, yet at the same time, patience and understanding of why such change is taking place. People aren’t accustomed to change, especially when the new management are foreigners compared to the rest who have been at the company for years. What I don’t understand is why is it so difficult for people to learn the ropes and get used to the existing workflow, process, and culture before doing a major overhaul and applying a wardrobe makeover.

Change management may not be everyone’s strength and yes, some people can probably adapt to the changes better than others. But we still shouldn’t assume that everyone can accept changes as a part of their lives in a blink of an eye. Still I cut the new management some slack and gave them a chance because I know that even for them, coming to a new place, managing new people, learning new processes can be overwhelming as well.

After all, they are humans too, just like you and I.

Nope, nothing changed. See, it’s that word again.

The new team structure had only been running for a month when I was told that I wasn’t performing according to the new structure. All content- and event-related tasks have been removed from my tray of responsibilities. I was expected to do performance marketing which involved a lot of excel-squinting and number-crunching. Both of which were not my core skills nor strengths. I was told that I would be placed under scrutiny to improve or be told to leave.

Now here’s where everything went wrong.

Prior to restructuring the team, my teammates and I were informed that we’d be given the requirements to our new roles. That if we needed help adjusting, if we needed help improving, if we needed any help at all, these help would be given. I’d like to believe that they were being honest about offering assistance. I think it was all empty talk. Just talk but not action. None of these help was given. No training was provided for the areas that we were weak in. No proper guidance was offered during our times of need.

And there I was, struggling to stay afloat. Struggling to keep my head above the water. I was treading water, hard, just so I wouldn’t sink and drown. I treaded water until I could tread no more. My health suffered. My mental and emotional health took a hit so bad I ended up at my regular doctor’s office on an almost weekly basis, given diagnoses for health issues I never thought I’d have. Anxiety attacks. Hypertension. Tension headaches.

All within a span of two months.

I used to have time to hit the gym. I used to have time to read each night before going to bed. I used to make time for quick painting sessions on my weekends. All these favourite hobbies of mine expired when depression hit. I didn’t feel like doing anything. I didn’t feel like going anywhere or seeing anyone. I just wanted to sleep in bed forever. I started having fears of going to work because I couldn’t stand the management. I didn’t want to see those smug faces that I just wanted to punch the lights out of. I just didn’t want to do anything. To make matters worse, the news of my resignation has begun to leak into the other departments and teams in the company! Who was the scumbag who’s been telling everyone about it?

One day, I decided enough was enough. I served my notice. Along with a chronological list of events that led to my resignation. My husband likened my action to throwing a cat among the pigeons because they never thought I’d do such a thing, short of taking them to court and filing a suit against them. I kind of entertained that idea, honestly. But I just wanted a clean break. Money wasn’t the motivation but I did want them to know what was going on and I wasn’t going to give them a two-paragraph letter with my resignation from the role and that I was grateful for the opportunity to work with them. Oh, hell no! Not even if I was grateful at first. My wrongful termination is what lawyers would call as ‘constructive dismissal‘.

The letter made them quake with fear and worry that I was really taking them to court. It took them two days before they signed the letter in acknowledgement. I’ve since emailed a copy to Human Resources but have yet to hear back from the representative I liaised with as the person was away on a business trip. Respectfully so, after the letter has been signed, I should be allowed to leave based on the terms that we had initially agreed to. If they were smarter, they would leave it as is and let me leave in peace.

So yes, the time to say goodbye was long overdue. Now would be the right time to say goodbye. But that doesn’t mean I forgive them for the hell they put me through, for what they did to me. I’m on the road to recovery now. I’ve stopped taking the anti-anxiety medication. As for my blood pressure, it remains to be seen when I can finally go off them and get my health back on track.

For what it was worth, I can say that I’m walking away with the skills I got and the knowledge I gained from here. I will bring these to my next company, and hopefully, a better one too.

A note to my readers:
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed you around. Your health is the only thing you have in your lifetime. Don’t blindly throw it away. Money can be earned in many ways but respect can only be earned if it’s deserving. Always remember: You first. Everyone else comes in second.

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