So I just wanted to share my own story with you as I am sure lots of you can relate. Its a bit of a long story but hopefully its interesting! I’ve decided to do it as a series of blog posts over a few weeks so that I can tell the story properly. These posts are raw, written quickly by me allowing everything to flow out. I wanted to tell the story in my own words and not spend a long time editing it or worrying about whether I had said the right thing.
Lets start at the very beginning…
I stumbled into an office job in the soon after I decided to drop out of uni. I had always struggled to know what my life purpose was and I chose the wrong degree (Geography and then Geology! What was I thinking!!) Anyway, after quitting uni and moving back home my sister told me I should apply for a job where she worked because the pay was good and you got lots of paid holidays! That was attractive to a uni drop out, so I did just that.
I started on a 2 year ‘casual’ contract and went into it thinking that I would work there while I figured out what I wanted to do. I was all fresh faced and enthusiastic and this actually lasted a few years. During this time they extended my contract to 4 years and then made me permanent.
I am generally a positive person so I think it took quite a while for me to realise just what the job was doing to me and that I was basically being taken advantage of.
I worked hard, volunteered for everything, worked overtime, trained new members of staff, covered for my manager when she was on leave, and rarely got even a thank you. Never mind a promotion or a bonus. I strived to get the highest mark on my end of year review but they always kept it just out of my reach. One year they literally pulled the rug out from under me with only a few weeks until the end of the performance year (and it was for something I had no control over!).
That was the beginning of the end. I think I would have left my job at this point, but the chance of a temporary promotion was suddenly available. I applied and what do you know, I got it! It was initially for 6 months, but it ended up lasting 2 years. During this time work got better, I enjoyed the new responsibilities and I learned lots of new skills.
However things began to change when the IT system we had decided not to work properly and they asked me to travel 300 miles for work every other week, when I wasn’t travelling they wanted me to do a job role that wasn’t mine, I was also being the manager in charge on overtime at the weekends and it all got too much.
Traveling a bit for work and doing a different role might not sound like it would lead to burnout, but the nature of the company I worked for meant that everyone was under constant change, with priorities changing at the drop of a hat. We weren’t allowed to use our common sense and often had to follow ‘rules’ that we knew meant we were doing the work wrong. The focus was stats and nothing else. Morale was horrendous and they just asked more and more of people with no regard to their welfare.
One day, after I had been back in my normal job role for no more than a couple of hours my manager approached me and asked me to go and support another team in another role, right then, with no notice, and no explanation as to why.
I broke down. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I had been doing too much, they had been asking too much of me, and my manager hadn’t realised this. I wasn’t able to go and do what my manager asked, I physically couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take one more change at that point in time. We had a meeting. She didn’t believe me. She offered no support and I was backed into a corner. Work would not compromise on what they were asking me to do and refused to let me remain in my normal role even for a couple of weeks. I had no choice but to go to the doctor and get signed off work for the first time in my life….
To be continued in Part 2 with how personal development changed my life 🙂