Life goes on…

It’s taken me longer than I expected to start feeling relaxed about leaving my old job. I suppose that’s OK. I was there for seven years and I was definitely upset on Friday about leaving without people seeming to be aware. My last memory of quite a big chapter of my life is one of disappointment. That’s sad, and it makes sense it hurts a bit and it makes sense I’m a bit angry. But that will pass.

It’s made me think more about my life though. I think in the medium-long term, I should be aiming to be self employed. There’s no reason I couldn’t do software consultancy (and do a better job than my ex-boss). Well apart from the crippling anxiety of course. But maybe I’d have less of that if I felt more in charge of my own destiny.

Other stuff: I’m not running as much because I am still having trouble with my hip/ab. I managed a very slow run today without any real discomfort though, so that’s progress. I think I just need to stick to slow runs for a few weeks and keep doing some light core work every day. It feels like an ab muscle strain but it seems linked to my hips in that if I stretch my hip adductor I can feel it pulling in my abs. It’s definitely improved though. I just need to not push it too hard, like I did before.

So I’m spending a lot of time wandering around and drinking tea (not at the same time), which are probably my two other favourite things apart from running.

I’m putting on weight again. This is good, because I am underweight. In fact, one of the things that finally convinced me to start on anti-depressants was the fact my weight was steadily declining. So I’m pleased to see it going back up again. But I have mixed feelings. If it keeps going up, then, one day, I’m going to get on the scales and think “hmm, maybe I am eating too many croissants…”. This is a day I do not look forward to. I really have to get my hip better so I can keep the calories burning and maximise my croissant intake.

Done

My boss said goodbye to me yesterday as he wouldn’t be in the office today. He apologised for not having sorted out a leaving meal/event for me, no reason given. I had noticed the conspicuous absence of this, but since I’m hardly leaving on great terms, I would have felt weird about it anyway. He also apologised for not having made an announcement that I was leaving but promised that he would.

So I went in today expecting to see the email announcing my imminent departure, and realised I’d been duped. Again. I don’t know why I was surprised – it’s just par the course at this point for the company to let me down.

I said goodbye to a few people, including my manager (note: different person to my boss) whom I’ve had a really good relationship with, but the office was pretty empty today so a lot of people won’t realise I’ve left until they figure out in a few weeks that I’m not on holiday. So I left the company in much the same manner that I’ve existed here for the past year – feeling invisible and unvalued, and as if it’s somehow my fault.

Anyway, that’s all I’m going to write about that. I hope that it’s enough to get my thoughts out and let me move on. I felt quite deflated when I left, but now, this evening, I’m feeling a lot better already. I think the next two weeks are going to be healthy for me.

Expectations

I expected after handing in my notice that work would get a lot easier. What I’ve actually found is that I’m suddenly extremely unmotivated, and, so far, I resent still being in a toxic environment for the next four weeks. I think I was upset I didn’t get a counter offer. I had started to feel very unvalued here and this just seemed to confirm my opinion was accurate. I think I resent being here slightly more now, because I see it as a one-sided relationship that needs terminating. As the meditations tell me, I deserve better.

I’ve been very confused about my emotions over the past few days. They have been a lot stronger than I thought they would be. As usual I have too many things going on at once and I don’t know what’s causing what. Finalising the offer and arranging my start date with my new employer felt a bit stressful (just because), handing in my notice felt extremely stressful, anticipating a counter offer and trying to figure out my terms was stressful (and unnecessary), and… I ran a half-marathon on Sunday which has definitely increased the stress my body is under (recovery) – my resting heart rate still isn’t back to normal! I don’t know what’s causing me to feel what.

Anyway. I have set my finish date to 15th November and my start date is the 25th, so that’s all sorted, I get a week off between the two jobs, and I can just sit and wait now.

So far nobody knows I’m leaving except my boss, my project manager and HR lady. Boss might have told Becky too, I’m not sure. I’m curious to see if Becky tries to make things up with me before I leave. It’s a lose/lose situation, because I’ve always been of the opinion that she’s not actually a nasty person, she’s just a bit broken in her own way and I’ve just been an unfortunate victim of her own problems. So if she doesn’t try to part on better terms then I’ll feel I was wrong on that. On the other hand, if she does try to make up with me, I’ll probably tell her to fuck off, because… too little, too late, you know?

I don’t know what I’ll tell people when it becomes public knowledge. I’m leaving because I got a better offer?

Actually, I went and got a better offer because I’m leaving.

Offer

So, I had an interview last night. I was kind of interested, but they wanted me to do a homework challenge and return it by Monday morning, and, after looking at it, I realised I just didn’t have time. If the challenge’s requirements came in at work I’d have estimated at least a week for it, and here I am with only four days, two of which I’m at work, one of which I’m running a half-marathon(!) and the other I don’t really want to spend in front of my PC working… because I’ve spent a lot of energy on interviews this week and I need space to relax. I decided after much deliberation (at approximately 3:50AM, which is of course the optimal time to solve your life issues) that it just wasn’t going to happen.

This morning I had another interview, which went really well. I knew it was going well when, after the technical interviewer left, instead of the first interviewer coming back to wrap up as he said he would, the HR lady came in. And then at the end of that, she said “I really want you to meet the managing director”. It was supposed to be approximately one hour involving two people, and it became two and a half involving four.

The managing director was a touch eccentric and after giving me a broad overview of everything, offered me the job there and then(!). I said the answer is almost certainly yes, but give me a day or so to think about it. So there we go. I’m intending to accept it tomorrow.

The one thing that concerns me is that I had quite a lot of time off sick last year and that may show up in a reference, but I would like to think that won’t be disclosed. ANXIETY.

Staying afloat

I had an interview yesterday and it went ok. I don’t know if they’ll offer it to me, but that in itself is positive.

I have a phone interview this evening.

I have another face to face tomorrow too.

I don’t know any more on the salary negotiation front.

I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed at times, but I’m trying to not place too much importance on any one of these things. I’ve shown myself that I can get interviews, that I can do at least okay at them, so eventually someone will offer me something.

I still feel very stressed though.

Progress?

It’s all happening! As of today, I have:

2 interviews scheduled for next week (both face to face)
1 application that has been has been deemed ‘a match’ by the recruiter and forwarded on today
1 application that’s been forwarded that I’m really pretty pretty sure I should get an interview for. If I don’t, then either they’re not still hiring or the hiring manager already knows me and really hates me (lol).
1 application that has been deemed ‘a match’ by the recruiter, but he wants to call me first, as recruiters do (I have asked him to call me tomorrow morning)
2 recruiters wanting to speak to me about about roles, one of which looks very relevant

In related news, when I got to work I had an email from my boss apologising for the delay on the salary negotiation business and saying that any increase in salary I gain will be backdated to 1st October. But I think he’s missed his chance. I’m actively looking now and I don’t think I’m going to stop until I find something else.

Mood: Improving.

Work

The other problem with work, apart from the social side of it, is the overwhelming feeling that I’m wasting my time here. I’ve been here 7 years and I haven’t progressed in any measurable way. It’s hardly surprising that I don’t feel respected by certain coworkers when my employer obviously doesn’t respect me either. Nobody else in the 7 years has been promoted, so it’s not me personally, but it’s still a problem.

The whole situation adds up to say that the company doesn’t value me, and it’s bad for my self esteem to continue working for a company that doesn’t value me – because, what does that say about me?

I was talking about this to my mum. She was horrified when I said I’d started taking anti-depressants, and, in fact, her extremely negative attitude towards them was one of the things that put me off taking them initially, because I didn’t want to deal with her disapproval (note: I know this is a bad reason).

I think she’s starting to ‘get’ it all a bit more. I told her this weekend that the most recent doctor said we were probably focusing on the wrong thing by looking at my diet for reasons as to my weight loss. I have been tracking my weight quite closely since June and I’ve lost 0.4kg since then. Mum was a lot less negative about anti-depressants this time when I mentioned the doctor again suggested I take them – she said “how do you feel about that?”, and she also said that if my job was causing me physical health problems then that’s not good and she’d support me quitting. Which is good, because, like I said, I don’t want to have to deal with her disapproval.

I feel like I’ve gone around in a circle and I’m still in the same position of “do I quit, or do I try anti-depressants?”. The two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. I am hoping that if I started anti-depressants, they’d give me the strength and motivation to get a better job. At the moment, that just feels difficult. It takes me all of my work related energy to be at work. I don’t want to come home and then start stressing about applications and interviews.

But I also see a possible alternative route in that at some point soon I will have an opportunity to voice career progression related discontent to my boss. The project I’m on is almost finished and some time in the next month or so there really should be a discussion about what I’ll be allocated to next. This gives me a natural opportunity to point to my achievements over the past 18 months or so and express surprise and/or disappointment that I haven’t been recognised for them and officially given a more senior role. It might go nowhere, but that’s good in itself because it makes things clear. At the moment I feel I’m probably wasting my time at this company, and this discussion will remove the uncertainty. The timing is bad because the company’s finances don’t seem to be doing too well, but equally, I bring in a lot more money than I cost the company, so they’ll be doing even worse if I leave.

It’s worth pursuing that a bit just because it would piss Becky off if I got promoted.

Unsent letters

To: HR Lady
CC: My boss (and yours)

Dear HR lady,

My counsellor has informed me that the company has decided against funding additional sessions, and that you would speak to me about this matter this week. I am disappointed that you have not done this, and have instead allowed a third party to deliver news to me which should have come directly from the company.

I was extremely surprised by the decision to discontinue funding counselling. In May, you wrote that my mental health and well-being was important to the company and that you would review whether I needed further support after the 5 sessions were consumed. The decision not to continue was made without consulting me, so I am therefore extremely disappointed that the company no longer considers my mental health and well-being important.

Furthermore, I have received no explanation or communication in general regarding your cancellation of the ‘late June’ follow-up meeting, which we had scheduled. I consider it a recurring problem that the company is not communicating with me to an acceptable standard on matters of professional importance.


About six months ago I would have sent this without too much deliberation.

Now…

I have a growing suspicion she might be a bit autistic. But I can’t take on responsibility for her mental health as well as my own, on the basis of a vague suspicion.

Events

I have learnt today that my employer will not be paying for any more counselling sessions. I learnt this because my counsellor texted me to let me know. I am extremely unimpressed that the company let her deliver the news instead of communicating with me directly. She said that she asked if I had been informed, and HR lady replied that she intended to speak to me later this week.

I’m disappointed but not surprised by the whole thing.

I asked my counsellor to forward me the first email that she received from my employer. I vaguely remembered she read it out to me at the time, and it seemed nice and supportive. The meat of it reads:

We very much care about [my] wellbeing and mental health and we are
aware that the is going through a difficult phase at the
current moment and we would like to support [me] as much as we can.

We would like to pay for 5 counselling sessions for him to start with
and review this at a later date to see if [I] needs further support from
the company.

I will be printing a copy of this email tomorrow morning and I will be asking what prompted the change in company policy. I will express surprise and disappointment and see where that gets me.

Unevents

Hmmm so…

Once again, nothing has happened. HR lady was in the office today and yesterday but has not spoken to me. I saw my counsellor this evening (and had to pay for it myself(!)) who agrees the situation is bizarre.

I was talking over the whole thing with my counsellor and I said that if they do withdraw the paid counselling sessions, I’m going to find it very hard not to hand in my notice shortly afterwards. The money is trivial, but the message matters. They aren’t supporting me in any other way and I don’t feel valued. Over the past four months, literally the only support they’ve given me is five sessions of counselling.

HR lady was put in charge of my situation back in February after I complained about it to my boss. I objected to the formality that her involvement would imply, but it wasn’t the first complaint I’d made and he told me, in his words “if you left right now you could take me to court for unfair dismissal which would cost me a shit load of money, so I have to do this properly and protect the company”.

I get that. But what I really can’t get my head around now is that HR lady is adding fuel to that fire. I’ve asked for a meeting and been declined, I have had one meeting cancelled without explanation or any communication whatsoever, and HR lady goes out for lunch with Becky. All of this gives me grounds for constructive dismissal (not unfair dismissal, apparently my boss doesn’t know the difference).

Boss probably doesn’t realise HR is making such a mess of this, and my counsellor raised the possibility I could go back to my boss and let him know all of this.

I’m reluctant because it’s all politics and stress. If he looks at this and is as alarmed as he should be, HR lady might find herself on the receiving end of some kind of disciplinary action. It would be her fault, but she would probably blame me. I don’t need more enemies. But the flip side to this is that I am protecting HR lady at my own expense, and that’s kind of dumb.