Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Voice Within

As I have shared, I have been consumed by the tragedy in Newtown.  I love children.  I have many teachers in my family.  This hit home for me, as I know it has for millions of other people.  We all (or the vast majority of us) went to elementary school.  That in itself becomes relatable, just like how now going to the movies heightens my anxiety after the tragedy in Colorado.

But, I don't want to live in fear.  Fear allows the bad people to win.  It gives them the power, the power to make me afraid, I don't want to do it willingly.  I have come too far.  I have tried too hard.  I will live each and every day to the fullest and I will be the best person I can be. I will give my future up to chance and accept that I have a lot of control over my destiny, but freak things do happen, so I don't have total control.

A few years ago, I worked with someone who was severely bipolar.  I knew something was up with her from the moment she was first hired, nearly a year after I began working in the office she joined.  There was something about her that never allowed me to put my guard down.

As time went on, it became clear to me that she had relations pre-employment with our boss in the office.  They had worked together years before at another location and she was brought in under the pretense that she was wonderful, personable, and qualified, but the truth of the matter was that she was none of these things.  She was uneducated, unreliable, unpolished, angry, mean, and vindictive.  She slept with employees from departments that we managed, she drank at work, she cursed, she dressed unprofessionally, she cried and screamed regularly, she was always bailing one person or another out of jail.  I promise you that where I worked was prestigious, she didn't have the experience to be part of our team and business has since directly suffered because of her employment.  I hear it all of time as I am still in the industry.  She was a liability is every sense of the word.  Everyone knew it. We swept it under the rug.

I now know that she was hired because she had inappropriate sexual relations with my former boss before he worked in my office and she was there because she blackmailed him.  Sex is sometimes always the answer that can't be answered any other way.  I knew it when I worked there in my heart, but it was confirmed to me after I left.  I still feel bothered by it, sometimes.

Her being in the office greatly affected my career.  I was not promoted because my boss was afraid of this woman and wouldn't advance me without advancing her and he made that pretty clear.  But, she could never be advanced because she never did anything, but cause trouble.  I won awards, I sought higher education in my field, and I got rave client reviews and I stayed stuck in this middle ground compared to a woman who shouldn't have been there in the first place regardless of her mental illness.  She didn't want to work.  She was there to get a paycheck and I wish that paycheck went to feed and cloth all of her children, but I know it didn't.  I think about her children all the time.  How sad I am for them.

I understand and sympathize with mental illness.  I myself suffer from depression and anxiety.  I know how dark, dark can really feel.  My former co-worker refused to take her medicine correctly and would share this with the office.  This is really the biggest issue I had with her.  If only she took her medicine.  Many people work and function and exist with mental illness (myself included), but you must get the help available for you and take the medicine to stabilize you, if it is a part of your regime.  That was her personal responsibility of being a part of an office and team environment.  She had access to wonderful healthcare.  I think perhaps that is why my boss also allowed her to work there, to help her.  I know he has a heart within all of his conflict and deceit.

Everyone was afraid of her, I was the only one who took a stand, but honestly only after I was forced to.  A bunch of cowards we all were.  Too scared to do anything, but also do consumed with our own lives to truly help.  No one wanted to provoke the crazy.

One morning when we were the only two people present at an extremely early hour, she came in un-showered and hadn't slept all night.  She was agitated and annoyed she had to be at work, at her job. She told me she was out with her boyfriend the night before partying.  She then got angry when I was trying to work and not engaging her with questions about her party night, mainly because I could care less and because I was doing her work at the time, so her early morning client would be happy.  I was asked to come in and cover for her as it was never clear when she would roll into the office.  Always the people pleaser I was and still am.....I thought being this amazing, reliable person would get me promoted, it actually only made me become even more taken advantage of.

She got up in my face and threw a heavy dictionary at my head.  She told me "if I killed you, no one would know, they would blame it on you, it's clear that I am favored around here and you can't do anything about it.  I have access to guns (true, she was dating and living with someone who did) and I know how to strangle people."

She was right.  If something happened to me, she would have been protected.  My former boss' marriage and personal life was much more important to him than my safety.

I went to my boss about the occurrence and he made more excuses up.  Told me to wait it out.  I had been waiting for 6 years.  He stuttered and sought words, but the truth was that he did indeed pick her over me.  She had material to use against him and I had nothing.

The job was within my credentials and I deserved to be there, but the management was terrible and couldn't and most importantly wouldn't protect me.  Don't even get me started on my direct boss, the chess piece for cheater boss.  I resigned my position after more than 6 years and I am still upset about it sometimes.

But, my voice within lead me correctly.  I just recently found out that she was fired and she did something so terrible and so scary to get terminated.  She was untouchable there: she didn't show up, took mental leaves on the regular (where she posted photos of herself on vacations on Facebook when she was supposed to be on suicide watches), came to work drunk or hungover, didn't finish any of her assignments, upset clients on the daily...what she did was seriously so bad and caught on camera, there was no way to keep her.  Technology won.

I knew eventually it would come, but I didn't want to wait to find out.  I am sure my former boss lives everyday in fear of her and he should.  I have a feeling she isn't done with him.  I hope he has gotten a protective order.  As much as I want karma, I don't want it bad enough for anyone to get hurt.

I feel for her and I feel for her children most of all.  They were just recently taken away by the state.  I pray for all of them.  I sincerely pray for her most of all because she is sick and needs help and needs to come to terms with the fact that help is available for her and she needs it for real.  I think about her all the time.  I worry about her even though I dislike her.  At the end of the day, I feel for her most of all.  Her life is so different than mine, but her choices, her personal choices, led her to this place.  I swear it didn't have to be like this.  She came from a very good family, she is sick.

I was held back and my progress was stalled because of her, but I learned my own lessons, too.  The most simple one: life isn't fair.

Sometimes walking away from injustice is the best justice of all.  You have to trust the voice within.

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Tell me your truth and I will continue to tell you mine......