vendredi 19 juin 2015

Into mind

April and May were an emotional rollercoaster with lots of tension at work that left me drained with energy and low spirits. It started with a simple conflict over vacations dates which could have been handled in a civil manner. Instead my boss raised her voice, her tone getting harsher by the second, vindicative while I was stunned by the intensity of her anger.

I had time to reflect after my tears dried up, spending the night tossing the matter over and over in my head, that from a textbook legal point of view, I had been wrong. But the pain, humiliation to be berated stung, my decade old professional relationship shaken in a few minutes. Still I gathered my nerves, went back to work, told my boss I would draw the consequences of our previous meeting - in short "you win"- I'm rolling over and submitting to you. 

I thought it would stop at that but she wanted to talk. I didn't. Nonetheless my sleepless teary night had left me with a lot to say. So ok, let's have a go for it. She casually admitted having been "hard" when I shared with her my feelings on her radioactive attitude. It could have stopped right here. You know a little pow-wow, I'm wrong - you're wrong, truce and let's move on. 

No, she wanted to express what was in her opinion at the root of the conflict, she didn't know me she said. Just like that. After about 10 years in her employment, I was summed up to the fact that I was not talkative enough, secretive even, asking me even "why I was like that"... That last draw actually left me mute, pun intended! Haha! I couldn't see what was the point of her rubbish psycho bull... analysis in regard with an administrative schedule issue.   

I guess in her very French state of mind, she wants me to spill the beans on everything that goes on in my life - while paradoxically stating that my intimate life is my own of course (!), to voice my opinion on every sterile topic du jour and grumble about the latest thing supposedly going wrong in this country. It's very French I get it but the "why" escapes me.

I'm just not like that. Especially at work. Don't get me wrong, I looove râler (complaining about everything!) and debating over almost anything but see I just don't mistake my bosses for my friends, I'm cordial, do my job and try my best to accomplish it properly. I actually thought it was the essence of any professional activity. How delusional was I. 

Because being efficient is not enough, talking about the movies I saw, the places I was raised in, visited, my health issues, seeing me carrying around massive books in English, the obvious fact -to everyone else who ever met me in my entire life that I love fashion were not enough. My mind was not known to her... Well, what's going on in my mind - if not work related, nor with any impact on it - is not my hierarchy's business.  

Suffice to say that her last words shattered any little trust I had in her and that I realised that if she thought I was a stranger, she had definitely shown her true self and I didn't like what I saw at all.   

So I've been talking but with friends and family of this. It helped a lot. I've also worked hard on my resume, searched for opportunities. Also a new - male - friendship blossomed quite unexpectedly out of nowhere and it was so exhilarating to get to know someone from another continent, with a whole different life but somehow sharing common likings (shopping!! Haha!) and experiences. 

All this attention and affection I was lucky to receive when I needed it soothed me and helped me to let go of the drama and move forward. 

I always wanted to keep this space light and essentially about fashion but this little crisis took a toll on me and now that I can put down words on it without any violent emotional reaction, I wanted to let you know that I didn't abandon this blog permanently and at first I meant to keep my reasons short and vague. Debating whether to post this or not. To be honest I'm not exactly sure why I'm publishing this, I'm not venting nor seeking any comfort maybe in a sick and twisted way my boss's words rooted in me and I wanted to let you know what's been going on in my mind lately. Anyway, I'm back. I have no idea what I'll write about next and as my camera broke down, you'll have to make do with the few crappy iPhone 4 outfits pics I managed to snap when I do a recap post ! Haha! 


16 commentaires:

  1. Aissa, I'm sorry you had to go through that. And yet I'm glad you shared it; I guess toxic workplaces are international occurrences. I find that female bosses can be somewhat difficult (that's putting it lightly) to work for--there's an emotional undercurrent to everything. Not that male bosses are any better or worse; in my very subjective experience I find that women can get really vicious.

    I hope you're feeling a little better. Thank you for writing your thoughts, and virtual *fist bump* across the continents. :)

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    1. Thanks Kristina for your compassionate words! I'm a feminist and deeply believe in supporting women especially in the workplace and it's always hard to be confronted with other women's attacks when they aim at something as intrisically intimate as one's character. Sadly we're not immune to centuries of prejudices against our own gender.

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  2. I’m glad to “see” you again and that you’re in one-piece. I think it’s a sign of insecurity on your boss’ part that she needs to be “jalapeño business.” (hope that bit of silliness made you laugh).

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    1. Thanks P! You made an excellent and really funny point! Once I figured out that it was not all about me, I was able to let it slide and feel much better!

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  3. Thanks for sharing, Aïssa - no matter what this blog is about, I think this is something we all go through and I commend your transparency. I had a similar thing happen lately and it shook me out of all of my creative routines for 6 weeks. Just remember that you are enough just the way you are and that encounter was so much more about her than you. It's hard when you are a sensitive, gentle soul to not take on the burden and blame yourself. Keep shining :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Rachel for leaving such a heartfelt message!
      Yes, the workplace is not always that picture perfect environment that we're often led to believe. When I look at some other bloggers, it may feel like everything -including work- sound so easy, fulfilling, rewarding and tension free, deep in my heart I know it can't be. But that illusion is kind of powerful.
      I hope you found the strength to move past your own troubles at work and were able to get back to feeling like yourself again. I know what you mean about your soul being bruised when these agressions occur, it's tough to not take it at heart but like P said most of the time it's not about you!

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  4. UGH! I'm so sorry you had to experience this rather shocking disruption! I understand all too well and just recently had been thinking about my own workplace and how I'm sure I would have been more successful/accepted if I participated in gossip and oversharing - all the things I reject at the very core of my being. [I have the exact same approach to conducting myself in the workplace that you do, and have been criticized and sent mixed messages]. But I will never change. All the things I'd been taught by my own father, what NOT to do, seem to be the things that help people get ahead there. A real perjorative from my own boss is to label someone 'quiet', as if this is a serious flaw. People are not allowed to be themselves. I call it Bizarro World, where white is black and black is white. It's impossible to reconcile that doing ones job well, being discrete & professional are not seen as the most desirable assets!

    You must stay strong at the core of your being, and play by their rules just enough to make it tolerable, without compromising your values. I wonder, perhaps your boss is jealous of you and/or feels threatened by you in some way and has to "find" something to criticize? I'm glad your new friendship is bringing you pleasure! And a much needed distraction, something positive! I love your blog and am happy to see you post again. Best wishes for you to find a new position, somewhere you will be appreciated for who you are!

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    1. Holly, I read and re-read your comment several times because I recognized myself down to every words including the fatherly teaching! Haha! My dad is a quiet man too who managed big companies, he showed us that success can be achieved through integrity and hard work. An example I want to follow - that was my belated Father's day shout-out! :)).

      All you wrote deeply echoed my own analysis of the situation. It's indeed so bizarre since making employees feel miserable is incredibly counterpoductive and undermine any semblance of relationship actually.

      It seems to me that baring every single detail of one's life is more and more seen and valued as transparency and a way to "know" and connect instantly with others while being private is dubious entailing distrust, like you have something shady to hide...

      Thanks for your well wishes, I truly appreciate you took the time to share your thoughts here!

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  5. dear Aissa- so sorry that you've had this work drama weighing heavily on you! how aggravating to find that your boss is unable to keep her own emotionally immature issues in check. wishing you all the best in finding great alternative workplaces and sidestepping all this negativity.

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    1. Miss Sophie: Your kind message touched me, thanks a lot!! I'm better and hopefully positive career perspectives will be available.

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  6. It's a shame your relationship with your boss has changed after so long working together! Trouble at work is so tough, because we spend so much of our lives at work and it's disheartening when you have to take some of that frustration home with you. Work takes up such a big chunk of time it's important to have superiors you respect. I hope things get better, and I'm glad you have this space to vent! And it's nice to see you left things off on a positive and hopeful note :)

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    1. You're completely right Koko and nailed what hurt me the most considering the duration of our work relationship. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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  7. I haven't commented on your blog before (though I've been following your blog for a while), but I am sorry to hear about what happened to you at work. Bad work environments and bosses are so aggravating. It sounds like she was being completely inappropriate in her anger at you about the vacation days.

    Being a reserved and introverted person myself, I can also relate to the experience of having someone else deal poorly with conflict with me by trying to turn it on to me with talk about how they don't know me at all or how there's apparently something wrong with my personality. Like other commenters, I think a reaction like that comes from the other person's immaturity or insecurity.

    It sounds like you have wonderful people and support in your life, which is great! I wish you the best of luck with the search for a new position!

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    1. Thanks Xin for taking the time to share your thoughts and your kind words moved me because once more it feels like a relief to be understood. It's so unsettling, the way some people can be careless in their interactions with others, especially when they have authority over you. Let's stay strong!

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  8. I think it's great you're doing something about it and looking for the next step! Personally I feel drained by work (for different reasons) but I think moving on is even harder, and I hope it goes well for you! The scary, challenging moves are the ones that are usually worth it right?

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    1. Thanks Lin. It's never simple or easy to put yourself out there and to jump into the unknown... It also takes a lot of time and energy and you already feel deprived of both at the end of the day, thinking and working on the next step can be tough. Good luck to you!

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