This was my laptop screen seconds before I hit ‘send’ to inform the school I’ve worked at for nearly 12 years I’d had enough and I wouldn’t be returning to my job.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been away from work since going back for one week at the start of September. My roles at work were designing and creating displays around the school – from children’s work to information posters, learning/teaching resources and other stuff like certificates etc. Oh, and painting the backdrops for the school productions and making props and costumes – so, anything creative and designy I did. I also designed one website and edited the content of the new improved one. So, quite a tailor-made job for me, the artistic creative bod that I am. And I loved it. In fact I loved it so much I’d take it home and play about with it here as well. There was only one problem, and that was having to share responsibilities for the display side of the work with a rather lakadaisical colleague who I shall call A.N. Other.
A.N. Other’s attitude to work affected me – deeply, to the point that I was bringing her home with me and laying her lazy arse at the foot of my husband who would then kick her around our house until I was calm enough to perform normal household duties. Then I’d have a terrible sleep, wake early and do it all over again. At weekends I would simply sit and breathe and try not to think about Monday rolling round. I was beginning to feel how I had when I was a schoolchild – feeling sick at the sound of the Antiques Roadshow tune because for me it was the toll of dread.
I finally became so frustrated by her poor timekeeping, her selfish attitude and the way she’d always push me to do the donkeyshare of the work, that I decided I needed to speak to management about it.; I’d let it go on long enough (12 years is long enough I think) and it was affecting my homelife to the point that my marriage was actually suffering. But Management proved to be A.N.Other’s equal in that they really didn’t care how much or how this affected me, so long as the work continued to get done.
After 3 months of being away from work, and after 2 ‘return to work’ meetings at the school, the only ‘solution’ the school offered me was to work on the days that A.N.Other didn’t – thereby reducing the friction I felt between us (although she had no idea she was the cause of the depression I’d been suffering with). However, this didn’t address the problem, it simply avoided it – but I’ve come to learn that Management is good with this.
I toyed with the idea of biding some more (paid) time and asking the doctor to sign me off for a few more months, but who would I be kidding? I’d be doing what they were doing: avoiding the issue, letting it fester and delaying the inevitable is not a nice place to be.
I’m lucky that I have such a supportive family, although both husband and daughter have been telling me for years to leave; it never did me any good working with somebody who sucked the enjoyment out of me daily and even less so, working for people who didn’t notice or appreciate how much I’d put up with (silently, I add – I have assertiveness issues which are currently being addressed).
So there I am. The wrong side of 49 and unemployed. I can’t say that I am full of the joys of positivity because I’m not in that ‘place’ quite yet. But I can definitely feel the weight of the burden of carrying all that frustration and angst, loosening its grip on my sanity, and I’m starting to lift my head more and seeing things around me again.
The other morning I was in Sainsbury’s and a local lower school came in and started to sing carols, and for the briefest of moments I felt what I remember happiness feeling like. Such a simple pleasure. One that I wouldn’t have had headspace for a few months back.