anxiety · job anxiety · life · social anxiety

He Doesn’t Understand After All

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.


9 thoughts on “He Doesn’t Understand After All

  1. Please try to take some time and consider what will actually make you happy… someone a lot wiser than me said “do something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. In my experience, finding the thing you love is the hardest part!

    I hope you are soon over this experience and you can plan a better future for yourself xx


  2. I was getting angry on your behalf reading this post. I am outraged by how you were treated. I hope you know that there are people who will understand, and I hope that you do end up finding a job that you enjoy and are comfortable in. I have been lucky enough to find a job where my employer is understanding and accommodating when I need help, and I hope that you are able to find this as well. Sending love and hope that you are feeling better today, as anxiety and anger and being treated unfairly is super draining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support, it means the world to me that sharing my experiences has given me the opportunity to connect with people like you who get what I went through and why I chose to leave in the end. Maybe a more mentally stronger person in my shoes might have stuck with the job, but I feel I simply could not.

      I am expecting backlash from some people in my personal life because I left the job. Coming from an asian background, I feel the idea of what it means to have a job is ten times worse. I get the sense it’s about being successful and endurance even if the people at the job suck or how I am treated on the job is unfair. This whole time I thought my boss (Alan) understood me but he really does not. He wasn’t even there for most of the time when my coworker would go off on me, and it annoys me to think he might end up believing whatever my coworker says about my behavior. Either way, to hell with both of them and goodd riddance I no longer have to work in such a stressful and stupid environment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I too am sorry about how things ended for me, but I’m glad I made a decision in the end. Yes, I do think my anxiety motivated me into leaving, but somehow I think even if I didn’t have this, I would’ve been unhappy with the job which required so much of me in such a short amount of time and probably still might have disliked my coworker just as much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Earlier this year I left one of my jobs because I hated the way the boss yelled at me and she would tell me to ask for help if i needed it and then when I’d ask for help she would act like I was dumb for not knowing so I had so much anxiety and I just stopped going.

        I’m glad you were at least brave enough to tell him that you were quitting and I understand your pain in working with someone that is so harsh. I would have quit too.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What hurts is that I know some people in my personal life might not understand why I couldn’t just tolerate the circumstances and continue on because a job is a job. But I really reached my limit with that coworker. I can’t even mention the number of times she told me to do one thing only to criticize me for not doing the opposite. Like, she would scold me for writing down every single instruction she was giving me, and at a later point, yell at me for not taking notes. I knew there was no way I could survive there if she would be the only one training me. That’s when I knew I had to get out. I didn’t tell my boss, Alan, in detail how my coworker treated me so poorly, but I got the sense because he has known her for a long time that he is unbothered by her brash attitude, and also because the line of business they work in has no room for things like being anxious or afraid, so it seems like their personalities are the same way.

        I also get what you mean by being afraid asking for help because the person is intimidating and then to have your worst nightmare actually come true. Ugh!


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