Out of the snake pit and into the fire

This week was my last week at work.
I'm having a lot of mixed feelings about it and feeling quite unsettled.
I should feel nothing but relief at it all being over, but it's actually left me with a bitter taste in my mouth and a nagging feeling I can't quite put my finger on.

First of all, tensions at work have been at an all-time high. My boss's wife and my boss have been conspiring to get a colleague fired. The 2 other managers intervened to insist they give her feedback on exactly why they weren't happy with her work first. Seeing as it's all a witch hunt and there's nothing wrong with her work, I'm not sure how they're going to handle that.

Then, the very same day, the colleague in question sent in an official request to work 4/5th, which she is legally entitled to as a mother of 2 young children. The boss exploded and gave her hell for sending in the request by registered mail instead of coming to see him about it first - so he could pressure her out of it, no doubt. He feels working 4/5th is incompatible with her level of responsibility and apparently mentioned "how difficult it was with Sara (me) working part-time". Ass-wipe. I've gone above and beyond to accommodate meetings, conference calls and work, shifting my schedule as necessary, taking time out of my days off to call in to several conference calls... The guy just refuses to see that we are all willing to make concessions - and he refuses to make any. He also twists reality to suit him whenever he wants to make a point in a discussion. He's done it so many times before it's amazing he still gets away with it almost every time.

On my last day, Thursday, I went to hand in my car and other stuff, and bumped into the HR/Finance Director, who invited me into his office for a chat. He said he would be interested in getting my thoughts on how the company was working - he is only involved from a distance, as we're an independent entity and the "mother company" provides us with HR and Financial support". So I told him. Everything. I said there were 2 main problems: poor people management and the boss's wife. And I gave numerous examples. I apologised for giving a negative opinion, but he assured me he found my input very objective. Apparently it confirms suspicions he already had. He was dead set against the boss's wife working with him as it is unethical. He wasn't the only one, but the boss eventually managed to convince the other shareholders. So my interview with the HR Director could mean trouble for them.

Then, after the meeting I cleaned out my desk and said goodbye to the few people who were in the office that day. We'd agreed I would come back next week for a goodbye lunch when more people were able to make it. I then went back Friday to pick up my official papers and bumped into one of my former clients - who still hadn't been informed by the boss that I was leaving, despite him assuring me he would do it before I left. I also bumped into the boss, who was in a foul mood and barely grunted in recognition when I said hello. A colleague then told me there had been a huge blow-out between yet another colleague and the boss's wife that morning, and that she'd been heard on the phone complaining to her husband and demanding he intervene. That had resulted in an argument between the boss and the colleague's direct superior. The atmosphere in the office was heavy to say the least.

When I got home, I received an email from another former client, asking me if I would be interested in doing the work I was doing for them before, but on a freelance basis. It's a huge project, one I'm familiar with and have managed several years in a row, but this would mean taking business away from my former employer - although there's a big chance that if I refuse, the client won't work with him anyway. But I know my ex-boss will consider me a traitor if I accept.

Then that night I had a really weird dream - I was with my 2 sisters, my mother and her husband (my stepfather) on a pier in a harbour. I was very upset and was trying to get away from my stepfather. He was naked and was somehow trying to convince me that it was normal. I locked myself in a bathroom, which was standing on the pier, only to realise it had glass walls. I was even more upset because I had just taken a shower and now realised my stepfather had seen everything. At this point, my sister - who was raised by our stepfather and mother while I lived with my father - apologised to me for not warning me that that was "just the way things were" and informed me there was a screen I could use to place in front of the shower next time. I looked down and realised I was sitting on the floor, cutting into my arms. At this point, I woke up, turned around in bed, coming face to face with Bart (asleep) and yelled out in shock.

I believe the interpretation of the dream lies in seeing my stepfather not as himself but as a "substitute father figure", aka my former boss. I obviousy feel like I have things to hide from him, because I have been talking to people behind his back, and feel threatened by him.

I am also thinking a lot about how I have always had a "controller" in my life. Someone with a huge influence on me that always bordered on abuse. First it was my father, then when I left home I got caught up in an incredibly unhealthy relationship with Bart who was emotionally abusive and cheated on me. Immediately after I found out and while we were trying to work things out, I started my job and found another controller in my new boss (and his wife).

Perhaps this goes some way to explaining why I'm feeling so unsettled and why I've been over-eating all week. I imagine these people to be like reference points in my life, people who have such a huge influence over my thoughts, feelings and actions that my whole life ends up gravitating around them. Remove the focal point and all of a sudden I feel lost, in the strangest way.
I need to dig deeper into this because there is of course a risk I am going to find a new controller to fill in the empty space my boss has left. Right now he's still doing his job, as I am creating scenarios where my actions will no doubt provoke a reaction on his behalf (my meeting with the HR Director, the contacts with my former clients, my involvement in my other colleagues' situations) but that won't last forever.

It's a strange realisation to come to, that I am attracting the very people who hurt me most, in order to perpetrate some unhealthy scheme I have been a part of since I was born.

1 comment:

wildeone said...

Gosh that was a lot to take in! I hope you find a situation that you are able to find out who you are surrounded by people who want the best for you! It sounds like you are well shot of the place!!!!

((HUGS))

J x

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