Well, I quit my job. It’s done.
I knew the dynamic in the office would be different this week since my other coworker went away on vacation for a week and I had to come in earlier to help out my remaining coworker. You have no idea how close I was to not even walking through the door today, even though I arrived there early. Everyday I had to come into work, it was like walking to my death over and over again. The office was not open at this point when I got there this morning and I was standing across the street hoping it would remain closed. No such luck.
I tried my best to not worry too much about work last night. I returned to my therapy group on Saturday and attempted to follow the advice one of my group moderators gave me about allowing myself a time slot to write down my worries and spend the rest of my time doing activities I like.
Today, my coworker blew up on me. All this time she’s been ragging on me for not speaking loudly enough on the phone but today was even worse. She was obviously stressed because of her own workload in addition to having to teach and train me in new things. Every time she criticized me, I became more afraid of approaching her for help. Then she got upset at me for seemingly sitting there and not coming to her for assistance. Secondly, when it was clear I didn’t understand the quick instructions she gave me with the expectation I move fast and get it done ASAP, she got impatient that I couldn’t be on the same wavelength as her (in terms of speed and getting several things done at once). These past weeks, I’ve tried to see this woman in a mostly positive light and that she is just trying to help me get better at my job. She got so short tempered with me that when I didn’t know where to click for a page in a document that she wanted me to print, she snapped, “Nevermind, I’ll do it myself.” But the words that really did me in were. “Can you do anything right?” Fuck you, bitch. I feel angry thinking of this now, though, at the time, her words might as well have killed me in the way they hurt me and made me feel so incompetent.
After this, I tried to carry on, even when Alan returned to the office. Oh, and conveniently, Alan was away during my coworker’s tirade but somehow she either calmed down or learned to behave in front of the boss.
My head was out of focus by now. The last thing I remember is my coworker telling me to write down a number she wanted me to call. I feebly wrote down the first six digits before I barely heard her say the last four digits. A dim voice in me pushed me to ask her to repeat what she said. The voice, my internal voice, grew weaker by the second until I could no longer hear it. None of the work was relevant to me anymore, it seemed. I gave up the fight. I felt lightheaded and I don’t know where I got the strength from but I stood up and went to my boss’s desk. I asked to speak with him outside. He studied me for two beats and asked what was wrong. I bit my lip and exhaled a breath to keep from crying as I unlocked the front door and stepped out, hoping he would just trust me and follow me out. I did not want to speak to him within earshot of my coworker.
I told Alan I didn’t think I was the right fit for this job. He seemed to understand. For a minute there, I thought he did. He was cordial about my decision to leave and seemed to emotionally distance himself from my leaving by not giving his opinion on whether I was right or wrong in doing so. He tried to end the conversation then and there by saying he had a lot of work to do and had to go, but I insisted he stay. So then he was explaining that, yes, the job moves very fast and I was expected to move at a rapid pace with multitasking because that’s the nature of how their business runs. Yet I also felt like he was holding me accountable for not being flexible and being able to keep up. He said they cannot alter the business style to fit my comfort level, especially if how people talk or interact in the office is a bit more abrasive or less polished than I am used to. I understand that, though I tried to explain that I didn’t feel strong enough to be trying to better my anxiety problems and work at a breakneck speed at the same time. He suggested I was making excuses when I’ve been able to come into work every day so far and haven’t actually done anything to ruin the business. I wanted to shout at him, “Do you even know how much it has taken out of me to make myself show up to work every day? Do you know how many times I’ve wanted to just leave?”
I was floored when he said I had mentioned that I am a bit shy and it takes me longer to open up to people. Is this what he thinks I’ve been doing all this time? Being shy? I was most hurt by him accusing me of wanting to not do work or make phone calls on the job. He outright stated that, “Maybe, for some reason, you just don’t like to work.” As if he couldn’t see that my anxiety plus such a fast paced environment with huge expectations wasn’t a dangerous combination for me. I was surprised he stated I used up too much of his time that afternoon (when I confessed to him about my social anxiety) and that he actually had a lot to do when he ended up spending an hour talking to me then. That hurt me. So he was saying I basically wasted his time?
He defended my coworker, and much like his defense that multitasking and being fast is just part of the job, he insisted that her personality is the way it is and perhaps I could use it to see that maybe I need more patience while helping her. Patience, for someone as overbearing as her and an attitude problem like her? Fine, I’ll bite, maybe I could have pulled back from the situation a little and understand she was dealing with a lot of work plus having to help me. But, she also did not need to rip into me and vent her anger onto me. I don’t even want to envision what the rest of my week might have been like under her awful reign had I walked back into that office and shouldered on.
I dread to think of what I will tell my parents about why I quit, and the fallout from my parents having already told several of their friends or family members that I found work. About a week ago, my mom even phoned the guy who referred the job to me in the first place to thank him for his help. What is likely to happen is everyone will assume I am running away from my problems again.
I realize something about myself now that I left the job. I took the job not because I wanted it, but because all this time I’ve felt pressure to maintain a job to meet the unspoken expectations I believe I have to meet. All this summer I moped around the house taking my free time for granted while being depressed about not being able to financially take care of myself. After getting the job and making money, I felt the difference, and that actually, the benefits of money became non-existent to me and what I truly wanted was a job I liked.