it’s all surface…

a year and half ago i took on a new job. what an exciting thing to do when you are in your mid-fourties! i loved the new challenge, i loved the fact that it meant growth in so many ways. and, after all, i was meant to have an experienced colleague at my side, who would train me to take over his job in 2024. what could possibly go wrong?

a lot, it seems. while i got along fine with said colleague and the working atmosphere couldn’t have been better i did not realize that in terms of „training on the job“ he left me out in the rain. i still need to work out whether he has done it on purpose or whether he isn’t aware of the effect his complete and utter lack of support had on me. for it didn’t show right away and for everyone, including me, everything seemed fine. which meant that my workload and my responsibility increased. last year was stressful, not because of covid19, no, we just had a ton of audits to complete and i had two challenging audits to lead and wasn’t prepared for it at all. it didn’t show until the end of november when i became acutely aware of my shortcomings and the fact that there was no way i could cope with it (or even try to cover it up). the consequences in mind (external recipients of both audits sitting in Brussels….), i not only was shocked, i had a nervous breakdown while on the phone with my line manager the week before christmas. due to a few concomitant circumstances things got worse and i had (and still have) to deal with a full-blown severe depression. that i am still alive today is almost a miracle…

with the help of medication and time and distancing myself from the situation i finally managed to reflect on a few things, knowing that it’s far from over. and while i am trying not to put blame on anyone (we all made mistakes, myself, my colleague, my line manager…), i need to become aware of a few things in order to avoid them in the future. and writing down usually helps me.

but, back to my headline and my colleague: it’s all surface. my colleague gives the impression of being an amiable caring guy, always concerned about everyone’s wellbeing, initiating/running projects about sound therapy and burn-out prevention(!). you would think that he would have the antennae and the empathy to perceive and stop the above before it even begins. far from it! a few conversations later i can’t help but come to the conclusion that he’s but a wannabe, not noticing someone’s need of help until you thrust a bleeding arm right into his face. he is a „jack of all trades“ but when it comes to showing support to anyone but himself there is nothing but idle words. at the same time an „i’ve done it already“ is of no help to anyone who needs to learn the ropes. i am a quick learner but unless someone at least teaches me the basics (of the software, the processes and whatever else i need to know) even i can’t know which questions to ask… i was doomed to fail. and i can tell you it’s the most unpleasant experience ever.

gosh, i have learned a lot these past few weeks. i am about to bounce back (i hope, i guess, i pray). from a complete lack of feelings while i was surrounded by the utmost darkness, i have returned to… feeling something. as i don’t trust myself yet to have a conversation with my colleague all by myself (my voice still gives me away sometimes), i have asked for a mediated yet open and frank discussion where my line manager and someone from our social services department takes part. how else would i be supposed to work with him again in the future even if it was remotely? i can’t just brush it off and consider it a thing of the past. it nearly killed me. literally.

i am still willing to hold on to my job as much as my line manager is willing to hold on to me. my training is up to her now and the fact that she believes in me and wants to make up for mistakes made, kindles that tiny spark of optimism that i have found in me the other day.

oh, and the one thing i desperately need to do is to keep away from his fb page. i need to keep away from those people who post nothing but (esoteric) thoughts of others. i prefer people who are authentic. people who are genuine, who fail, who smile, cry, get angry, care for each other.

people who forgive me for being honest about how i feel.

people with more than a seemingly shiny surface.

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