I quit my job this week. It wasn’t pretty. It was quite dramatic. I didn’t give a notice. I don’t have a back-up plan. I just walked away. I walked away and I’m never looking back. And you know what? I’m going to be okay.
Let me set the scene for you. I hadn’t been working for about a year and half when we relocated. I had been staying at home, making sure the our new blended family had everything it needed to thrive and be a success. But when we relocated 1,000 miles away, and our boys decided they wanted to stay in their hometown with their other parents, I was left with a lot of time on my hands. And being a housewife wasn’t cutting it. I needed more. So I got a job working in a small, yet successful law firm. I started as a receptionist, and rather quickly found my education coming back to me. (I have an associates degree in Paralegal Studies.) I loved the work I was tasked with completing. I did not love the office drama, the various office personalities, or the lack of professionalism by some of my co-workers. I was unhappy.
So what did I do? I tried to quit my job, but after meeting with my office manager and one of the partners, addressing my various concerns, I was lured back in with promises and money, and unfortunately we live in a society where money talks. We made an action plan. A mutual plan where both the firm and myself could continue to move toward a happier, work environment. And it worked, if only temporarily. The changes that were implemented allowed for a boost in morale as well as an improvement in those aspects of unprofessional behavior. For the most part. Now, keep in mind, this wasn’t an issue of working with an office “mean girl”. “A mean girl at work is a woman who practices some form of covert competition or indirect aggression toward another woman,” says Katherine Crowley, psychotherapist and co-author of “Mean Girls at Work: How to Stay Professional When Things Get Personal.” I could deal with our office mean girl. While it’s frustrating and unprofessional, once you have come to the realization that she is the “mean girl” you learn how to work with a person like her.
Surprisingly, the events that led to my walking away from job did not involve the office mean girl, but rather a different type of difficult co-worker. This relationship was almost dysfunctional. There were many instances of tears and drama, both professionally and personally with this individual. She was difficult to work with. You could not be direct, but instead needed to handle any work issues with kid gloves, for fear that she would become upset. This person lacked basic professionalism, but was someone that I was required to work closely with. Things were becoming tense between the two of us. I tried to address elephant in the room with my office manager, who seemed too preoccupied by other ventures to be concerned about office dynamics and what would become an explosive situation.
Cut to the day in question. While attempting to work with this individual, things became heated, whether by misunderstanding, or just the fact that the work environment was permitted to become toxic. We both stood our position, firmly, if not stubbornly. I chose to back down and walk away. The growing dysfunction of this work relationship was not worth potential reprimand in my opinion, so I walked away assuming that we would both “cool off”. And then she said it. She uttered words that should never be uttered in a professional office environment. She called me a bitch. In that moment, I knew I had a choice to make. I knew that I could continue to walk away and pretend I didn’t hear what she said. I knew that I could walk to my office managers office and report the incident, but from past experience I was almost certain nothing would be resolved had I chosen this avenue. My third option was to confront her. I chose option three.
I chose to confront the 55 year old woman who called me a bitch, who should have known better. I chose to not allow anyone to speak to me in a manner that I am uncomfortable with, or in a way that I would not speak to someone else. I confronted her through hot angry tears. I did not call her any names. I did not get in her personal space. I did not yell. But I let her know that I heard what she said. That what she said was not professional. That I would no longer be willing to subject myself to her lack of professionalism. I walked into my office managers office and informed her of the events and that I would not continue to work in such an environment. I walked to my desk and with shaking fingers I sent a message to my husband, “I just quit. Call you in 5.”
With that I walked out of the office. While driving home I replayed the events for my wonderful husband, who told me he was proud of me and that he was glad I quit. I was unhappy. He was unhappy. While we don’t have a back-up plan at this point, we are taking this a blessing in disguise. Our kids will be here this summer. I will be able to be home with them. Making memories, not spending my days wishing I was home with them and then coming home frustrated or unhappy about that days’ events. A plan will come in time. For now, my time will be free to take care of my family (and maybe even pursue some of my passions) and my heart is happy.
Please share in the comments if you have ever been called a name at work, or if you work with mean girls, how do you handle it! I would love to hear from you!
Until Next Time: Peace, Love and Adventures