Thursday, 24 January 2013

Burnt bridges

I recently finished reading Aspergirls by Rudy Simone. I enjoyed it a lot. It is such a pleasure to feel recognised, and to see somebody else expressing how I feel and have felt. It also adds a new perspective to my memories of my own childhood and adolescence. A new narrative perhaps.

One of the last chapters is entitled 'Burning Bridges'. Oh dear. Should I write my autobiography (or my mother's or brother's biography), something about burning bridges would be a favourite for the title.

I have confined my burnt bridges to workplaces. I do have a series of failed relationships behind me though, both romantic relations and friendships. However, most of the times it wasn't I who broke up, but the other person.

I left my first professional job following a conflict with my superior. I hurried away and never looked back. I held the position for 14 months. I wished that I had solved the conflict in a more constructive manner.

My next job was much better and it took 3½ years before I felt the ground burning and I had to get away. Maybe the tasks became a bit tedious, or I started losing concentration and made mistakes.

I accepted the first offer I got, which turned out to be disastrous. That new job just felt so completely wrong that I quitted after ten days. The people were nice, the perks were better than anywhere else I've worked, the wage was similar or maybe higher than my previous job, so what happened? The actual tasks were a bit boring and they also planned for me to go on a business trip to a very cold place. No reasons to quit after ten days, really. In retrospect, I probably had a meltdown, panicked, and ran. I remember the conversation I had with my superior after the ten days. I remember what I said and that I said it in a hoarse voice. I think my voice loses its feminity when I am under stress.

Because of that burnt bridge, the previous bridge also burned. People talk, and the people I worked with in the previous place heard of my behaviour.

Following this episode I worked for an international organisation for about six months. I worked on short contracts and tried to get away almost from the beginning. Short contracts are very stressful. But I left orderly and I didn't run.

I had the next job for about a year. I had frequent conflicts with the woman who I thought was my colleague, but in the minds of herself and the manager in fact was my superior. When I quitted, my manager was cross with me 'because of the way I quitted'. I can't remember how it happened, but I am sure my voice was hoarse.

My next job (which was three years in a large institution, but in two different divisions) ended in a major drama. My superior was probably the worst manager I've ever had. I am sure she was a psychopath. People in her department were stressed and fearful. She frequently made people cry and she was very manipulative. I used my network to return to my previous job (with a different manager), and then I had to resign. I was open and honest about the work environment and my managers leadership in my letter of resignation (I used the words 'management by fear'). Upon which she asked me to hand in my keys and leave. She was allergic to criticism and my voice was hoarse. I should say, that there was a bit more drama than that (as if it wasn't enough), because I accidentally kept some work papers at home, and in my meltdown state I also sent a few e-mails to collaborating partners. I probably shouldn't have done that. A friend of mine went to the work place with the papers a week later.

Returning to my old job was a success. I stayed for 6½ years, and only a few times I got so bored that I started making mistakes. Halfway through that period there was a restructuring and I got a new manager, a very pleasant and empathetic person. I liked him, my colleagues, my tasks, almost everything. The last year there things started going down the hill. I had to share an office with 'the smurf', and I lacked a professional network. So I left, but in an orderly manner.

 I held my next position for almost two years. I had a real moron for a colleague and that dominated my work experience to such an extent that my old way of always regarding the grass on the other side greener, returned.

My current job has changed considerably since I started about a year ago. Yes, the ground is burning. And no, I will not leave. The grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence.

I wanted to write about my mother and brother being much worse than me in the field of leaving jobs angrily. But when I read what I have written, I think it is more or less the same.