It has been 4 months since I left a bad workplace. But the experience still rests in my mind, not because I like to remember it, but because that experience taught me to be miserable, and unhappy. A lot of people don’t understand you, when you may say, “I have a bad job”, or “I have a bad boss”. A good job is like that perfect arranged Indian marriage – where you strike gold. That’s why many people don’t leave their good jobs, even when they know that they can get a better pay elsewhere.
I had always considered myself a ‘good worker’, someone who fulfilled her tasks on time, who listened to her seniors, paid attention, learnt fast. I made mistakes, but not anything major that could cost me my job.
When I entered the bad workplace last year, I was under the impression that I could learn and grow there. I pushed myself to my limit, but got little or no appreciation. I tried learning my work, but my boss made my anxiety levels shoot up the roof with her unreasonable demands. Coming to office on time was more important than completing the task at hand, suddenly. I was in military school, but without the tag of one.
My bad experience made me bitter, unreceptive to criticism, arrogant, impatient and above all, angry. A vent up frustration started building up within me. I was frustrated with my life, frustrated that I was working hard and building something for someone who didn’t deserve it.
When I started the job, it wasn’t that bad. The initial month was the time to learn. A fellow co-worker, whom I then considered a bad worker, primarily because she didn’t perform well, left within a month after I joined. Suddenly the vortex of torture moved from her to me.
It’s not that my boss was angry at me every single day. She spoke sweetly to me. But she made me panic, made me feel overburdened, made me hate my job. You may think I have massive hatred for her. But I have only pity. Pity because I know that her behavior may get her through there, but will land her nowhere in the future (at least that’s what I can hope for and be happy).
I was told by many colleagues in my first job that I should struggle and then join a corporate. I needed to understand the value of my corporate job and learning on the field would make me resourceful. I did go to the field – but I began hating myself and my decisions. I don’t think I learnt much from this bad job– all I learnt was how to become a bad boss.
My personal life too took a turn for the worse. All my frustrations from my job life fell on my boyfriend’s shoulders. Maybe I was to blame – I didn’t know what to do, so I took it out on him. And I regret that.
I still remember taking up that job. I was on the verge of completing my Masters degree and highly stressed. I had dreamt of a high-paying job when I went abroad, and unfortunately, the field of work I had chosen didn’t have any well-paying job. My experience was little, hopes a little too high. I took the first job in my field that I could find.
Life had taught me many things, but not patience. Alas, I learnt that the hard way.
Four months at that bad workplace broke my confidence, made me feel like I am a bad worker. I used to come back home, all tired, but still opened my laptop to finish my work, because there was just no sympathy given to those people working more than 9 hours a day.
I still remember waking up and not wanting to go to office, but had no option. Every morning was a horror – I just didn’t want to go back to that horrible place. I had loved my first job, where I was so enthusiastic to go to office that even my parents used to be super happy seeing my enthusiasm.
But all that place did for me was to make me more miserable. There was a weird friendship-cum-power structure in that office. So, I could make no friend who could understand my calamity. Those who are in similar situations like you are the best people to confide in. But I had no one to talk to. I slowly withdrew into a shell and eventually became a victim of depression.
I had many hopes, I wanted to do big things. But a bad boss does what even an enemy can’t – make you doubt yourself.
We humans are inherently selfish creatures, and being bad workers is mostly not in our nature. All of us want to grow big in a job, get a promotion. But none of us want to wake up in the morning thinking about the week ahead and the realization that you have no weekends off, no holidays, but just work, work and work.
My manager used to walk into office at 11 every day. I wouldn’t have cared about this much normally, but I did. Because she used to harass me for walking in at 10, when she herself didn’t have the decency to walk in at a time when I could respect her for her position. I know she might be angry reading this, but she needs to know what effect she has had on people.
I know I sound angry, resentful, hurtful. Did I deserve to go through this? Deserve may be a bad word… but how else can one define phases that are rough and harassment which is unjustified?
I found sexual harassment easier to deal with as compared to mental harassment in office. Maybe that’s because since my childhood, I, like every other woman, has been taught to let go of sexual advances, molestation and harassment, because thinking about these things does no good.
But why wasn’t I ever taught on how to deal with office harassment? The fact that when I want to feel useful and productive, I would constantly be pushed to feel inferior every single day?
Why didn’t I leave sooner? I wonder. Well, the answer is simple. I had no other place to go. Maybe that’s what happens to women in bad marriages who have no qualifications to maintain that standard of life that cannot be maintained once they leave their husbands. No, bad example. What I went through has no parallel. What those women go through have different reasons. But right now, I am looking for anything and everything to justify my situation and my calamity.
I wish I could think straight, I could forget that bad experience and love my job again, love going to office again. But I have fear in me. A fear that I will become ‘useless’ again.
I am an upper caste, ‘privileged’, urban woman, you may say. I got all I wanted in life, so I shouldn’t complain.
But I have also never used wrong means, never harassed anyone, never lived without a guilty conscience when I hurt someone knowingly or unknowingly. I have always wanted people to be happy around me, and be happy myself, but why does happiness elude me? I want to be happy, is asking for happiness a crime?
When people tell you, “you have everything, be happy”, I find that statement funny. What is the metric of happiness? Is wealth, class and education the only definition of happiness?
Every day since my childhood, I have looked for constant happiness, which I have failed to get. Maybe I am broken, I am weak, but I am not useless, not unimportant. I am beautiful, I am who I am, and I should remain happy. I should get what I want, not because I am ‘privileged’, but because I have worked for it. Because I want it, because that makes me happy. Happiness makes me happy.
My blog is called fortunate musings, and I am fortunate enough to be musing and writing about my woes right now.
But I want you to understand that you are not alone. You may be dark, brown, have curly hair, be deaf or blind, but you deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve to be told constantly that you’re useless.
Many out there will do that to you, but don’t lose hope. I have felt suicidal many times, I have felt helpless, alone. But I found you. I hope you find me. Together we can give each other hope.
If your boss ill-treats you, still believe in yourself. If today is a bad day, tomorrow is a new beginning. And, you deserve to be happy. You really do.