I’m pretty lucky, my current job, which I’m on maternity leave from is fairly relaxed. The work isn’t easy as such but it’s definitely less stressful and pressured than my last job at a very corporate brand new hotel. When I was at my desk I would have things to do, and then when I left I wouldn’t need to think about those things until I returned again the next day. I get on ok with my co-workers, and I’m generally happy (as happy as a depressed person can be, but you get the picture).
Things haven’t always been this picture perfect for me though. A few years ago, in my first proper career role, I worked at another hotel in the area as a wedding coordinator. When I found out I had the job, after a long slog of interviews, and being a stay at home mum with two children for too long, I was ecstatic. It was, in all honesty, my dream job and better yet, it would make use of my otherwise rather redundant degree in events management. I eagerly got right into the world of full time work, enrolling the children into nursery, and sorting out my uniform.
When I first started, everything was a bit of a whirlwind. The previous coordinator had left in a bit of a hurry, and I had to pretty much step into her shoes and go in at the deep end and, within a day or two of starting, I was running my very first wedding alongside the duty manager. I soon settled into that side of the role and I was in my element. I loved everything about weddings, planning them, meeting with the couples to discuss them, typing up the function sheet for them, running them on the day. You name it, I loved it.
A couple of months in, the busy wedding season drawing to a close, I started learning the other side of the job, the other functions, the business meetings, conferences and big gala dinners etc. It was something I hadn’t experienced before but I was still keen to learn.
Unfortunately this is where things started going downhill. My line manager, who up until that point had been fairly nice to me, if anything a little too over friendly, almost motherly, suddenly turned on me. It was around the time that I came off my antidepressants, and split with my husband, so things were fairly stressful for me. She started making comments, at first just to me but later to the room as a whole, targeting me and implying I wasn’t good enough for the role. My confidence, which was already shaky at best, began to plummet.
Fortunately I had a good support network at home, and I had also by this time made a couple of friends at work, including my now fiancé. It got to the point where I felt I was walking on eggshells around her. Every tiny mistake would be picked up on, every question I asked would be ‘a stupid one’. It got to the point that I was no longer asking any questions for fear of ridicule and public humiliation in the office so I would end up making even more mistakes, thus repeating the cycle.
This woman was known as a nasty bully in the company, the people in my role previously never stayed for long either. I can only assume it’s because they cracked under the strain or she pushed them to go. Despite this, nothing was ever said about her treatment of those under her. I certainly wasn’t about to say anything.
Like all bullies, she relied on me being too scared to rock the boat and make things worse, although her close relationship with management meant even if I had of complained, the chance of anything being done would be slim to none. So I kept going and, with the advice of friends, I started making notes of her actions, of what she would say to me.
When it came to light that I was going out with the only male based in the office, she would pretend to be happy for us, but I was by that point wise to her backstabbing two faced nature and knew not to trust her. At a standard appraisal meeting with her and the manager of the hotel I was with them for much longer than anyone else but 3/4 of the meeting revolved around how I needed to be careful going out with my partner, that he wasn’t good with children and that he had a reputation for sleeping with his colleagues. It was totally inappropriate and unfair. They warned against the relationship, stating if it came to it, it would be me who went, not him.
Things went from bad to worse after that. It was clear they didn’t like us being together, despite lots of other relationships going on at the hotel, and us always being completely professional at work.
After a mix up with paperwork meant I made an unfortunate mistake for an event, I was fired, on the spot, with no warning written or verbal. It left me with the two children and no income. I considered fighting it, but my depression spiralled and I ended back on antidepressants and I didn’t want to face the stress of going up against the company.
What made it hard was my partner still working there. It took a long time to come to terms with what happened, and to realise that I was totally better off away from that toxic environment. A couple of months later I picked myself up, dusted myself off and landed a job with a considerable pay rise, in a prestigious company. Now I can look back and see that it was her with the issues, not me. Yes, I made some mistakes, it happens, I’m only human. I was in my first proper job, and I was meant to be learning from her along the way, but she took that position of power, and decided she would use it to bring me down.
I’ll never forget the time, a few months before the end for me, when I bumped into my predecessor in a toilet at a party and she asked me whether she had turned on me yet, and I admitted she had. That woman sucked the happiness and passion I had for my job from me, what kind of person does that?