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What’s something you can’t stop thinking about?

This is a writing exercise from the Creators Workshop Series: What’s something you can’t stop thinking about?

I can’t stop thinking about my last job and how it ended or why it ended the way ti did. What did I do along the way to get it so wrong? Why do I feel so personally wronged?

The situation is that upon returning from maternity leave, I had a new boss, a new team, a chance for promotion, and a chance to do what I really wanted, or at least what I thought I really wanted to do. Fast forward 11 moths later and I quit.

I suppose I feel like my trust was betrayed and maybe like I showed the real me and was rejected. I feel embarrassed, not good enough, like a bad worker for not taking all the shit and then asking for more.

The new VP seemed a little sketchy, a little shady. Red flags went up after a few interactions with him but I still trusted him. Why? Maybe because he saw potential in me, he believed in me, or at least he made me think he did. So I gave it my all, worked nights and weekends to try to live up to his expectations. It wasn’t enough. I somehow got it wrong. I was supposed to read his mind because he sure as hell wasn’t giving direction or offering guidance. Then I saw someone else come in and deliver what he wanted. A peer who would become my boss as I got demoted. She worked not just nights and weekends but around the clock, sometimes not sleeping. She at his bullshit and asked for more with a smile on her face.

And of course he always had more and expected more. He’s a user, a taker, only cares about your well-being to the extent that it gets him what he wants. It bothers me that he gets away with treating people that way. That so many people are willing to overlook their own well being to help him achieve his goals. I guess he bothers me.

It’s been almost a year since I left that team and yet I still replay certain moments and decisions. I trace the steps that lead to my demotion and wonder when it was exactly that he lost trust or faith or believe in me. Because he never told me anything was wrong. IN fact he told me the opposite. That I’d be promoted, that I was doing great, that I could do anything I wanted on the team.

Then I came back from two weeks of leave and I no longer reported to him, essentially was demoted, my role changed and the promotion I was promised never came. And no honest explanation as to why. He’s a coward. He’s weak.

I raised it with HR, shared it with the appropriate channels and left. They tried to keep me, came up with a new role and gave their best spin to get me to stay. I agreed, hoping it would improve but nothing changed. I had to go.

So why can’t I let it go?

Because I actually tried. At so many jobs before and even in school I gave just enough. I never had to try much and I never liked what I was doing much. I gave this one 110% and I trusted someone who didn’t deserve it.

It felt good to try and to care about what I was doing. Ultimately that line of work isn’t where I want to focus but it showed me that it’s possible to enjoy your work and how nice that is. That experience led me to discover writing as a full time option for me which I never seriously considered before.

In some ways I want things to always be perfect — meaning I want to love my job, be paid well, have great colleagues and bosses, and never to make a mistake. When I do make mistakes I have a hard time getting over them, replaying them in my head, feeling them grow inside me and holding me back from trying. But all those mistakes and let downs had to unfold exactly as they did. There’re lessons that needed learning, necessary growth to get me ready for the next thing. I can forgive myself and forgive my former boss for not being perfect. And maybe even say ‘Thank you’ for getting me ready for the next thing.