This week, I was told that I would  get several of the accommodations I had asked for at work.  Prior to this week, I’d been told that the review of some of my requests had been postponed indefinitely, and some of my requests had been just flat out denied without review.  With my body having learned the new trick of very delayed gastric emptying, it made for an exceptionally stressful 3 1/2 months.  The levels of despair I had at having a job that I had loved start to crumble around me while trying to take care of my decaying body, they were significant.  Last week, I saw someone at my husband’s employee assistance program for a referral to mental health.  Husband works at a BATH, I figured his EAP was more likely to have a good referral list than my employer.  Also, the degree of separation made me feel better about disclosing about work stuff.  And lastly, given what I’ve seen of my employer’s HR practices in my first year there, and especially these last few months, I didn’t have any sense that the EAP they had chosen would be better than a high school guidance counselor.  trip hazard caution sign

I’m glad I went.  I think what made me feel best about it was that I asked “what if the first person I see isn’t a good fit?”  I was told they wanted to hear feedback on that and if it wasn’t a good fit, they’d try to find someone else.  The day I went, I’d had a big, I guess what they call “come to jesus” talk with my boss.  The general theme, without getting into details I”d prefer not to on my blog, was that “this is not ok”.  I needed that counseling appointment after, believe me.  “What was the worst that could happen?” my husband asked me that morning on the way in to work.  “Well, it could end in tears and cops.”  Elaborating with the counselor:  I could run from the meeting crying and lock myself in my office and they’d have to call security to come take me out,”  “that’s not so bad….” says the counselor.  I laughed.  I don’t want to cry in front of them.  “why?”  Yeah, that’s a tough one.  Why does anyone not want to cry at work?  Or in front of people in general?  I don’t think that’s weird but it is tough to but words to why I don’t want to.

Little brother made someone cry at work this week.  He was at a doctor’s appointment and his supervisory staff decided to take a long lunch, he told me.  When he got back, there was bedlam – he was set upon by several employees at once with demands for this and that right now and outrage that “no one was here!”  The person who he made cry is sort of thin skinned I think.  I’ve met her, so I’m not basing this just on him.  That said, I think my brother would be really tough to work for.  I think he and my boss are similar in some regards, not the least of which is they both seem to think it’s ok to blow up at work.  I don’t.  I think you need to express when you’re angry or upset but you owe it to yourself and your coworkers to find a more productive way to handle that than what comes across as rage, either seething or explosive.  But as my brother put it:  “I offered for her to go home, I know she was upset.  Instead, she runs into the break room where everyone is…I mean come on.  At least go into the bathroom or something.  So now she’s done that, and everyone is like ‘oh god what did you do to her?’ and I’m like ‘you know what?  you only get to do that once and have that effect.  you can’t unring that bell.  you cry again any time in the next 5 years and everyone’s going to start thinking maybe you’re unstable.”

That about sums it up.  So even with good cause, that’s a pretty good summary of why not to cry at work, at least not visibly (or audibly, as I’ve been witness to sometimes…closed door but screaming and swearing and crying, oh boy).  Go out, take a walk, sit on a bench, clear your head.  Get therapy.  Talk to your peeps.  Post a blog.  but try to keep the waterworks out of the office if you can.  Unless someone died.

I’d like to say I am optimistic about work now, but I am not.  I want to be.  Maybe it’s because the same day I was told they’d try out some accommodations, some massive screwup happened that I am attached to (I didn’t cause it but I was a part of it).  I know that took the wind out of my sails a bit.  But I think the reason runs deeper.  My trust is broken there.  3 and 1/2 months of this, it takes a chunk out of you.  It leaves a mark.  So I proceed, with caution and with good faith and a desire for this to work, if not actual hope.

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  1. Anaphylaxing

     /  June 28, 2013

    Gosh you’ve been through so much. Good luck.

  2. So sorry about all the BS at work. I’m glad you got in with the EAP–I did that back home before. I’d agree that crying at work is not the most appropriate, but it happened to me once after I got sick (the infamous paint-the-building job). I had to take a position that was maybe 4 levels below my former, full-time job since this was part-time and my supervisor (who would still be below me) had massive issues with me due to my college degree and loads of CEU-type credits w/the non-profit I worked for. She seemed to be the type who was intimidated by females in general, unless they were way below her in every sense.

    I should add that under 15% of people here even have a BA or BS and I have half my MPA (had to drop out when I got sick). It was just in my resume! So, it was my first day and she was telling me everything I had to do like some peon when I used to hire for this job. Then she told me I had to mop the floors every night (I did disclose my physical limitations in the app.) and this had nothing to do with my job. I’m really tough and used to fire people right and left who didn’t perform, but my eyes welled up and I turned and walked into the closet (literally). It had come to being a janitor after all my education and hard work? I stayed for nearly 2 yrs, but was she the biggest bitch ever and they essentially forced me to quit (long story involving a trip to WA they knew about and then denied at the last minute for no reason, so I had no choice as I ran a seasonal business up there for yrs). She thought she was so special because she worked at freakin’ Macy’s before that! Lol!!!

    That’s how I can relate since I haven’t worked at all since ’07 or ’08. I do know what it’s like, but unlike you, I never liked any of the jobs. That part must really suck seeing that you did enjoy it and they’re barely making an effort to make accommodations for you. I so hope something will change there, but at least you have a counselor you like it seems, which is always good. Yippee. That is a big step for a lot of people. If anything, I guess you’ll know more of your limitations (hate that word) if another job is on the horizon.

    • Macy’s! LOL! Seriously, I just snorted coffee onto my desk reading that.

      A – I’ve cried at work too. This is how I know I hate it. At my last job, when I approached my boss about the hours and the apparent expectations (won’t outline them here, they were awful) she told me I was making myself sick. I left her office, packed my stuff up, and was sobbing by the time I hit the parking lot. At this job, I cried in my office in March and again in May after meetings with my boss and HR. But I did it quietly, with the door closed, and I didn’t inject myself into social interactions until I felt like I had regained my composure.

      So I should add to “someone died” the circumstance of Being sick with a painful, energy robbing illness and told that you need to do something you can’t do without hurting yourself and possibly depriving you of the means to support yourself. Because I think anyone would feel a a wall of intense grief, fear, and a loss of that really low level of trust that we need to have in the people and world around us (which is already tenuous for someone with a chronic, evolving, mystery illness). I.e., totally legit reason for crying at work. Btw, the boss you describe sounds like the same kind of psycho I had for a boss at my last job. If I didn’t know my psycho-former-boss was here in Northeastern State making everyone around her miserable back then, I’d wonder if they were one and the same.

      The insecurity women in power can display can be truly, horribly dysfunctional, can’t it? I mean, just embrace your role. You’re in charge – you have a responsibility not to be a dick! I wonder if this will change as this wave of female supervisors gives way to a younger generation who were not subject to quite the same coming up the ladder in their work lives shit.

      • Glad you got a laugh and thanks for sharing–I know it’s hard to admit it all. This loony was Brenda (hate that I remember) and she wore dressy clothes to a freaking Boys & Girls Club! Idk, but I’m from the Pac NW and you wear jeans unless you’re an attorney or MD. She was a unit director (I had that job so many times), but just sat in her office all day to feel important and had no clue how to interact with kids and I only work in the projects and/or with at-risk youth so she was just worthless. She was older than I am (less than 10 yrs) so you may be right about not knowing what to do with all her BIG power. I was never like that with good staff–we were a team (yes, a team needs a leader) as that’s how you get things done and I even mentored some of my staff for yrs. after working with them. I don’t get it at all! A lot of non-profit was like that (too many women!). I was in so much pain after my shift, that I’d cry the whole 45 min drive home if that helps (no traffic and all for $10/hr!).

        I did almost lose it when I had to tell the kids I was leaving and they ran up and grabbed me and were sobbing. I don’t know how I held it in. I never wanted kids and hate babies, but Clubs were just a perfect fit for me and they’re not daycare (yuck), although more are breaking the rules and going that route. I ran old school Clubs, Well, I guess I was good at my job due to how the kids reacted. Duh. I never had a problem leaving before b/c I could visit the kids back home and in CA, I just didn’t make connections as I only had short-lived jobs. One was actually good–I had a contract position to overhaul an entire Club in 3 mos and then they offered me the Executive Director position (primarily fundraising), but I’m an operations person and I knew I couldn’t do full-time. There’s an example of how it can work (too bad it was just a contract thing). So, there’s the rest of it. You probably didn’t need my partial resume there!

        I really do feel bad about your situation as I’ve been there 3 times at least–and I was such the exemplary employee pre-illness. I’m sure you were, as well. I so hope you can figure it out, but I just couldn’t and my idiotic pain is just too much. The alternative is just swell as you can see. Actually, I never had the crying crap in Seattle when I 1st got sick b/c the pain was so bad (the barfing days) that I literally was like a zombie. I don’t even leave this damn motel room except for appts./errands a couple days a week for a couple hrs, but I can’t even imagine working for even an hour. It’s exhausting just to get up and take a shower, which takes 8 hrs unless I have an appt. I just don’t understand this life.

        Gee, hope I didn’t depress you more!

        Btw, I feel that you are a strong person like me and this is not how you would be at all if not for the health garbage. This is what was just adding to my problems. So, I will warn you about the going part-time/taking a lower position aspect. It’s horribly demeaning and anyone would feel that way.

        A x

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