Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Post Workplace Abuse: Confusion Reigns; Questions Abound

Before blogging came journalling.  Before the computer came pen and paper.  

After I was walked out of that job, I went home to Mama for a brief period of respite.  Healing from what I now know to be the acute phase of the injury.  The chronic phase, although not recognized for quite a while afterward, followed after I returned back to my "new" normal.

When I went to Mom's, I carried with me a variety of "resources":  pens of different colours, notebooks for writing things down, my discman (I don't think they had iPods and iPhones at that time), various CD's, my Bible, some books, etc.  I had a black paged notebook for spiritual insights (please remember that although I don't write much about it in this blog, I am a faith-based woman and have used that many a time in the healing process - and this is one of those times when it is going to come out), also a white-paged notebook for general musings.  I even had one notebook dedicated to prayers, the crying out of a broken heart to a God who she knew was there but appeared silent.)  I had a veritable "tool box" of helps with me as I sorted through different emotions - and the pain.  Always the pain.  Always the confusion.

I have been accused of being analytical - too much so.  Some people think it's a curse.  Others recognize it as a strength - a strength which has allowed me to work through different feelings as I walked through a situation I had been unwillingly thrust into.

One heading:  Identified prayer needs after being laid off from **** - started the same day the end came so brutally.  I want to share this insert with you, dear reader, at this time.  My identified needs initially were:

  1. To heal emotionally
  2. to let go:  (a) of the job/customers etc.; (b) of any anger or bitterness; (c) of the stigma of being walked out.
  3.  to go forward:  need direction
  4. thought control -> need to think of the positive; remember the good; not dwell on the negative or play imagined conversations in my mind
  5. financial:  to not miss the pay checks  (sounds impossible but I wrote that "I know God can do this!")  Beside it I found the notation, "began new job at ******* April 20th."
  6. Social network/activities to replace "friendships" lost when job terminated
  7. breaking of any soul ties that exist
  8. to forgive those who engineered this (beside that entry I have a list of several names:  the 1-up; the 2-up; the mat leave replacement supervisor, etc.)
One thing that strikes me in hindsight is that I was working too hard, too soon, to be positive.  I wasn't taking the time to grieve my losses.

When I was walked out the door that day, I lost all of the relationships, all of the friendships, I'd forged with other co-workers.  I felt it was as though I'd died but there was no wake, no funeral, no grieving.  I was simply "gone".  I felt that keenly.

I desperately wanted the closure, the good-byes, the acknowledgement that I had been a positive part of my co-workers' working lives for two years.  I wanted that affirmation, that pat on the back to signify that I wasn't the horrible person one or two supervisors were purporting me to be.  That I didn't deserve what had happened to me.

While I was at my mom's, I broached to selected co-workers who I had worked with the most closely and knew the best the idea of my hosting a farewell barbecue for myself on a Saturday at my home.  The responses came back:  thank you but no thank you.  

Ever tried to give a party to which no one would come?  Try it.  You won't like it.

I was devastated.  I felt like I had just been walked out the door all over again.

I didn't understand it.

Somehow, I dimly perceived that management was behind this.  But why?

Even though it felt like and was treated like a firing with cause, it was supposed to be a contract end.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

What made me different from others who had gone before me?

Why was I treated like this?

It made no sense.

Later, I discovered that management had gone to each one of these people and told them that "it was not in their best interests to come to my party as they still worked for the company and the company would not take it lightly if they badmouthed it."

Even after all these years, management's actions still make no sense.  They seem unusually intrusive.  Why should management be able to dictate what people did on their days off?  On their own time.  Off the company clock and company property?

Why was I such a perceived threat that people's jobs were threatened if they came to say good-bye?

I desperately wanted some positive acknowledgement, but there was none.  No cards.  Again, I was later informed that if anyone had dared to have others sign a card saying good-bye to me, they would have been fired.

Again, it makes no sense to me?  Why was I considered such a threat to this company that they would fire people for acting out of common decency?  What, if anything, were they trying to hide?

One incident immediately after the end became a huge issue in my mind for years afterward.  In the days leading up to what I can only call a dismissal, since I was in limbo not knowing for sure which way things were going to go, I had signed up and paid for daffodils for the annual cancer drive.  They came the day after I was walked out - which was the day my contract was officially to end.  I never saw them.  Apparently, they mysteriously disappeared. 

For some reason, my mind focussed on those missing flowers more than on the rest.  Maybe because it was something concrete I could focus on.  To me, it was stealing.  I had paid for those flowers.  They were mine.  Period.  It hurt that no one cared enough to give me a call and see what I wanted to do with them.  It was like I didn't exist anymore.

Did my contract end?  Or was I fired?  Technically, my contract ended.  Technically.

In reality ....

I'll let you draw your own conclusion.

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