The Truth Hurts
As the old saying goes: ‘What goes around comes around.’ I’d made a mistake at work which meant that I had to have a meeting with my then-manager. Instead of supporting me, she used this as an opportunity to kick me while I was down. Along with some other things, she told me that she had heard from some of the other girls on my team that I frequently sat around saying that I’d done the ‘bare minimum’ that day. That really hurt. I’m still thinking about it. I hate thinking about it and hate thinking that one of my ‘friends’ would say that behind my back to gain a few brownie points in work. Why would anyone do that? Isn’t is like girl code or something to not repeat these types of things?
Maybe I did say it once? You know those Friday afternoons when you’re clock watching, waiting for the weekend to begin, I probably said it then, but it wasn’t like I was making a habit of boasting about how little work I had done that day. I couldn’t remember because it was something I obviously said in passing. Something I said between friends, in a moment. I didn’t think that a blasé sentence would be used against me in a future crisis meeting with my manager.
I wondered why my manager even said it. Firstly, did she believe it? And why hadn’t she mentioned this sooner? Did she want to sack me? Was she trying to make me paranoid? By this stage I already was. What else had these girls told her about me and my work ethic and how much of it was true? I tried really hard at my job, met deadlines and didn’t say no to taking on more work. I stayed late and even went to doctor and dentist appointments during my lunch hour. I’m not saying I was the perfect employee and nobody is, but perhaps the work version that I had created for myself wasn’t the same version that other people were seeing; which worried me. I hadn’t enjoyed working there, going on a few months and perhaps the cracks were beginning to show. For four weeks I thought about those two words, contributed to other factors and a burning desire to no longer work there, I finally plucked up the courage to resign from my post.
As women, our instinct is to want to find out information. We can’t help it. Even though we may not want to do anything with the information or if it has no relevance to us, we still want to know. Because knowing even a little piece of information about something can start conversations, bond friendships and secure relationships. Information is power. And when you work in a corporate fast-fashion organization where 90% of the workforce is female, the information becomes bitter, toxic and fuelled by jealousy.
Don’t get me wrong, I worked with a bunch of genuine, lovely and caring people but I feel like the seriousness of working in a stressful environment where success is key, and promotions are crucial, toyed with people’s emotions which are heightened.
I never confronted my team. I probably should have, but I didn’t want to bring animosity to the group and start playing the blame game when I didn’t have proof of who said it. I decided to hold my head high instead. I’m not a confrontational person, and that’s just who I am. When I told my close, out-of-work friends what had happened, most of their jaws gaped to the floor. One of them asked me if I had gone back to high school. I don’t know exactly what I would have achieved if I had confronted them or what the outcome would have been. I’m still friends with my team and actually think our friendship has strengthened since I left because none of us feel the pressure of working together. I don’t know whether I made the right decision in not confronting my team but for the most part, I’ve maintained that in this type of situation that ignorance really is bliss. Forgiving them and moving on in my own way is something I’ve done for myself, not for them.