That time I was fired for being harassed by a coworker
The Set Up
I know this title seems a little off, but I was literally fired from my job because I was being harassed. It’s my tea so I’ll go ahead and spill it. So some time ago I left my long time employer to accept a job working for the government. I thought this was an exciting new journey that would put my career on track, but boy was I wrong. The first red flag should’ve been when I went in at a lower grade than I was told, but I was playing it cool because I needed something different.
I started this “dream job” but again I overlooked another red flag and that was that it was an intern position. Why I allowed myself to go from a manager at my previous job to an intern at this job, I’ll never know. Anyway the first year there was okay. I did a lot of self-initiated training, standard reading and independent learning to keep me busy.
I wanted more but given the condition of the world (early pandemic) and the work environment I was just going with the flow. After the first year rolled by I finally started getting assigned projects. But here’s the problem I had not received a slick of training on how to complete any project from start to finish. Here’s the other kicker, my supervisor was completely clueless and relied on my team members to teach me EVERYTHING! Here’s the next kicker, NOBODY DID ANYTHING THE SAME. Nothing was standard. Even the things that were said to be standard varied from one individual to the next. As a person who is a process improvement subject matter expert, it was driving me crazy.
Ok so here I am in year two and little to no training or guidance with projects to complete. At this point I’m also being assigned my team members administrative work and busy work. I’m being given projects that were started by someone else, but incomplete and not organized a bit. I am also surrounded by people who hate being asked questions or asked for help. I’m at a loss. During this time, I also get assigned a new interim supervisor.
The best way to describe this individual is an insecure, micromanaging, suck up. This individual created obstacles for me daily, called my cell phone 15 times a day, emailed all day, treated me differently than every other intern or employee, insulted me and my work and talked to me like I was nothing. I thought we were cool when I first started working there but I soon realized this individual was threatened by me and would do everything possible to make me look bad to leadership.
This individual had me catching up projects for them, handling their clients, doing all kinds of tasks. I was inputting their projects in the system as well as my own. Everyday I was rolling with the punches as best I could. However, the stress of it all was eating away at me. I was miserable. The work wasn’t difficult but the treatment was so poor I cried every day I had to get up for work. It was that bad. I sought assistance from higher leadership on the matter. (Beware of cowardly leadership that doesn’t know how to resolve conflict. But that’s another post.)
In doing so leadership revealed to me that my interim supervisor had taken a blogpost of mine and brought it to them to express concern about my ability to perform my job. I had expressed in that post that I was stressed at work and with other things in life. But really who wouldn’t be. We are living in a pandemic and loved ones were falling dead left and right. Not to mention that I also was dealing with my own health issues (which they knew about). I was going to the oncologist regularly.
I explained to higher leadership my working conditions and they proceeded to say they would get me some help, switch my team, or intervene for me. Maybe a week later my permanent supervisor returns to work. He’s still clueless as ever but I think perhaps this will give me some relief from this tyrant of a leader I had. Boy was I wrong. Leadership did absolutely nothing to help me. I sent an email to my normal supervisor and interim supervisor expressing my concerns.
Neither responded and less than a few weeks later my supervisor pulled me in a meeting with the leadership that agreed to help me and they fired me. I was shocked! My mid-year and annual evaluations were on target and suddenly I was being fired. I felt sorrow and relief at the same time. I was sad because I still had bills to pay but relieved because I hated the working environment. When asked why I was being fired, I was told it was because I wasn’t a good fit and was still in my probationary period. However, the unemployment commission tells another story. They said misconduct was the cause of termination. You should’ve saw my face when I heard that.
The hurt and shame of unemployment and my tarnished reputation plagued my very soul. I have never in my life since I’ve been working, been unemployed, fired, called incompetent, or accused of misconduct. I take pride in my work. This whole situation sent me spiraling into a severe state of depression and anxiety. I felt like I had done something wrong. The embarrassment of it all made me feel less than. I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. Well today I am choosing not to cry over it anymore. I am spilling my tea because telling my story is freeing me. I refused to hide it like my dirty little secret because I did nothing wrong. In the process I have learned several lessons in all of this and I’d like to share them with you.
- Money ain’t everything. No job and no amount of money is worth your peace or your sanity. I made decent money but by the time Uncle Sam got done with my check, it wasn’t enough and I was still miserable on the job every day. It was costing me my peace and that was far too expensive.
- My value is not determined by others, my work, or my financial status. Losing my job didn’t make me any less intelligent, any less beautiful inside or out, and any less anointed. I am still me and I have so much to offer the world and people around me.
- It’s okay to BE. I am so used to being busy that I spent every day unemployed trying to make something happen. Really, I was more busy unemployed than employed because instead of spending eight hours working, I was spending 20 hours working. I have learned that I still deserve time to relax and pamper myself.
- God is the source of everything I need. A job is a resource but it is not the be all or end all to anything. I can start again and as long as God is for me nothing can stand against me. Yes I’ve had losses but I have also had wins. With not a slick of unemployment I have started a business consulting firm, I’m back in school, my makeup artistry business is takin off, my credit score is up, and yes I still drive my Benz and the payment is not behind. God has literally provided everything that I need. That’s what he does, HE PROVIDES.
- Embrace the journey. I am trudging forward. As an entrepreneur at heart I am all about securing multiple streams of income. I still have a few gigs up my sleeve. There are days where I beat myself up but I am reminded by those around me that God’s love for me has never changed. I’m walking in my truth and that’s all that matters.
Where I am Today
Oh and to top it all off I get to work with my fiancé every day. Working as the Director of Business Development for Vision Enterprises brings me purpose and enjoyment. His business went from being my first client as a consultant to working on it daily. Don’t mind me though, I’m just building my empire.
How I’m moving in 2022
In stepping into this new year I want to encourage each and every one of you not to sell yourself short. Show up for yourself and know that you are worthy with or without a job, money, friends, education, and more. You are valuable because God created you and he said you were GOOD. Leave the past hurt behind you and move forward.
Have you been discriminated against in the work place? If so, here is an article about your rights.
New here? Check out my last blog here.
Also, here’s a song I love to sing when I’m battling from day to day.