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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In Loving Memory… Of My Job.

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Let me ask you something. If you learn that you were going to lose your job, how would you feel?

Would you:
(a) Jump for joy?
(b) Shed a tear?
(c) Smile and calmly accept your fate?
(d) Flip your manager the bird and strut like a boss out of the office?

Or all of the above?

Or, go through the seven stages of grief, like yours truly?

To be fair, I haven’t lost it yet but the way things are going now at the office, it sure looks like it. Let me tell you why:

A year and a half ago, I was hired to do content marketing and campaign marketing. It was a symmetrical split of the role. 50% of my role required me to write and publish articles, as well as to post topics on social media, while the other 50% required me to plan and execute the campaigns. But the manager who hired me left the company for another and a new one took her place. I understand that new managers will always have their own plans for the business, but I was clearly cast aside by the one who came onboard. At first, I thought my role would change under the new manager. But as the weeks flew by, I realised it had little to do with a change of roles. There was just no room for me. I wasn’t included in any of the meetings that involved my teammates. I wasn’t included in the emails that used to involve me once upon a time. My new manager rarely asks me about anything, preferring to refer to my senior teammate instead. My teammates felt it was strange too, and tried to include me in whatever they did. However, the new manager neither blinked nor agreed with their suggestions to get me involved. It was business as usual for everyone but me. I don’t know if I had stepped on his toes. I don’t know if I had dented his pride and ego. If I did, I hoped he would man up and tell me what went wrong. I don’t have a sixth sense and I cannot read minds.

So it isn’t really set in stone yet that I would be leaving the company. But judging by the icy cold situation now, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was told to leave. I suppose they would give me their answer during the upcoming employee appraisal that is due to take place anytime this week. The truth will be revealed to me then, whether I want to know or not. The truth of whether I will stay or go.

Though, believe it or not, I actually went through all seven stages of grief last Friday. I didn’t know why this was happening, but I completed all seven stages within three days.

At first, I was shocked.

Why was this happening to me? What did I ever do to the new manager to the point of alienating me? I am not the confrontational type so everything I was given to do, I did it. I never argued nor talked back. I took it up the ass and did what I was told to do.

Then the shock gave way to denial.

No, I refused to believe that I was being left out of work. I refused to believe that I wasn’t involved in the meetings that my teammates attended. I tried to reason with myself that maybe it wasn’t something the manager wanted me to do. Maybe there were other plans for me.

But it couldn’t stop me from being hopping mad.

The reasoning stopped and gave way to anger. I was at a loss. NO! It’s a conspiracy! It’s a mutiny! I was livid! I couldn’t fathom why my manager refused to respond to my texts or preferred to communicate with my teammates and leave me in the dark. WHY?

So I tried to compromise and meet the manager halfway.

I was afraid that maybe my manager wasn’t “seeing” me, that I was somewhat invisible. So I made sure to repeat myself at least twice to ensure that my manager heard or saw me. I took liberties to put myself out there, in the open. I took the initiative to clarify with or ask the manager questions instead of the other way round.

Nope. It didn’t work. On the contrary, it made me feel even worse.

And then I got depressed. I was upset and disappointed with the way things turned out. I was so affected by it that when I came home from work on Friday night, I had a migraine and my eyes were too tired to stay open. I hardly ate a bite for dinner and went straight to bed. I didn’t feel like showering. I didn’t bother eating properly. I just wanted to sleep.

Then I thought, maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel for me.

Well, I managed to stay here for almost two years, learning all that I could. It was still a job and I had the opportunity to learn, which meant that I’d be walking away with added skills and knowledge that I wouldn’t have, had I not been hired earlier. I wasn’t the loser here. My company would lose another talented employee, while the new one would gain my skills and talents.

But all I want now is peace. Peace, the truth and closure.

Okay, so there are things that we can change but there are those that we can’t. If they want me to leave, so be it. There is nothing I can do about it. But when I leave, I’m a better person now than I was before I worked here. I have what it takes to do well at my next job, to succeed and go further than I did here. All I want is the truth. If they want me to leave, I want them to tell me why. I need some closure to all the mess that’s left behind.

Strange how once upon a time, I never liked the job. I tried to leave a couple of times but my former manager stopped me. She knew I had the potential and wanted me to harness it. I may have found the job demanding and challenging but I stayed anyway. I never left in the end. So I’ve gone through all seven stages over the weekend and you know what? I will quietly accept my fate if it really happens. But it doesn’t mean I fully agree with their decision when the time comes.

I don’t suppose it would be a good idea to send a scathing farewell email, though, would it?

Can We Be Reprogrammed Not To Feel?

I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I feel as if I could do with a reboot. You know how hard you slog at your job to the point of exhaustion and collapse. Your brain is tired from all that thinking and squeezing. And you just want to jumpstart your brain with the very same cables you use for your car.

Although for me it has everything to do with my brain and my job. But today, my post is all about the emotions and feelings that are built in within our systems and how some days I feel as though my head, heart and brain could do with a reformat and reprogram.

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While some of us are able to control and manipulate emotions to our advantage, there are the few who cannot. Not because these few are weak but because controlling your emotions requires a lot of willpower and inner strength to hold back from reacting. I’m sure there have been incidents where you felt like acting out or retaliating. From sources as wide and general as selfish road users (motorists and pedestrians) to causes as narrow and to the point as your best friend. Yes, even best friends can piss you off sometimes.

But are you able to stop yourself from saying or doing the wrong thing? A word uttered or an action carried out that you would regret for the rest of your life?

Funny I should be talking about this, eh?

It crossed my mind lately because of something I did which I usually don’t do. Heck, I don’t at all because I’ve encountered it before and I reminded myself that I will never stoop to that level.

Emotions are those raw sensations you feel when something happens. It can be a good thing or a bad thing. It can make you smile or it can make you cry. It can also make you very mad. And yours truly happens to wear her heart and emotions on her sleeve.

Something happened at my job that caused me to act out on social media and you know how social media is these days. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you. Literally. I won’t spell out the crime I’ve committed just in case one of you may catch on and happens to know the circumstances of my actions but I did something I wasn’t proud of and people have caught on. I have since done some crisis management (what little I could by removing the stuff I posted online). How far the extent of the damage that I have caused, I have no idea. But it isn’t something I’m proud of and to be honest, I have always refrained from doing it. Because I know how fast word gets out especially when you put your word online.

So why do we act out? Why did I act out? Did I want to be noticed? Was I looking for the spotlight to shine on me? Do I even want the attention? That I’ve been wronged or at least felt I’ve been wronged and want to put things right by shifting the blame to another person.

I did some research online on acting out and as much as we’d like to believe that only children have the right to act out (only because they are still young, unlike adults who should know how to behave responsibly and maturely), adults are and can be pretty susceptible to succumbing to emotions and act out, too. Small matters like a flame on a candle can easily be blown out but bigger issues take more time and effort, like a forest fire. I acted out. That’s all I can say. I had my reasons but I doubt many would bother to listen or even want to believe them.

I’m not a child but I have feelings too. After all, I’m still human.