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Friday, August 10, 2012

Long Time Coming

Some of you may know, I recently left my job of 8 years and have started a home daycare but not all of you may know why. I LOVED my job. I worked for one of the biggest banks in Canada. They hired me when I was 32 weeks pregnant with my first daughter, which is almost unheard of in the corporate world. I Thought I was going to be a lifer.

A year ago I started at a new branch. I chose to apply for a promotion, and to specifically join the team at that branch because the dynamic was out of this world. The branch manager, at the time, was amazing. He had a way of hyping everyone up, and uniting everyone in a way I have never seen before. He made everyone feel special and like they were an integral part of the team. I woke up every day in a good mood, I was looking forward to going to work, I had a drive to perform like never before and I genuinely felt a connection to every single person at the branch. Life was great!!

This past March, our branch manager notified us that he had been selected for the promotion of a lifetime. He was chosen to help start up an amazing partnership the bank had just forged with a leading retailer. While I was sad for us, I was so super happy for him. I knew he would be amazing in his new position and I felt confident that his predecessor at our branch would be inspired by the dynamic of our branch and his legacy of positivity in the workplace would shine on. I was dead wrong.

Our new manager was brought in from a competitor of our brand/bank. Our leaving manager was training her on the ins and out of our bank and branch. At first, everything seemed like it would be a seamless transition but it wasn't long after he left that things started to decay. It became evident pretty quickly that our new manager was a micro-manager. Where we used to all have open channels of communication with each other, she now told us she preferred us to bring any grievances with co-workers to her so she could handle them rather than us handling them head on as in the past. Before she came, if I was upset by something that a co-workers had done I would bring it up to them face-to-face in an adult manner. We could easily say "You are being a bitch", "No YOU are being a bitch". Tell each other to fuck off, hug it out and move on with our day. Now she had us tattling to her behind each other's backs instead of handling it head on like adults as we had in the past. Within a matter of mere weeks, we went from feeling like a family to feeling like high school rivals.

We all know I tend to complain in my blogs, but that is what my blog is for in my mind. It's like a diary to me where I get my frustration out. I am, however, one of the most positive people you will ever meet. I love people. I love to laugh and joke and I love to make people smile.

Things got so bad, so negative, in our branch because of this new manager that I got physically ill. I got migraines so bad from the stress of that place, because it got to the point that I was so stressed I couldn't sleep. I ended up taking a lot of sick days and eventually went on a 2 month sick leave because the headaches got so bad. Just before I went on my sick leave, it was brought to my attention that a co-worker of mine had a conversation with a corporate client of mine in which the two discussed the fact that I "did not deserve any vacation time" because of the sick days I had to take because of my migraines. It was unprofessional on both their parts. I was SO livid I'm sure my blood was literally boiling!!! Apparently this wasn't the only conversation had behind my back by this co-worker about my unfortunate illness and subsequent sick days. I decided to talk to my manager about it and we agreed it would be best to confront this co-worker in my manager's office so I would have a witness as to how it REALLY went down. During this confrontation, the co-worker suggested I "find a cure for migraines" and that I should "step down from my position because of the illness". I pointed out that her comments were uncalled for, discriminatory and shameful. I handed her an article on migraines hoping it would educate her on the disease and maybe bring some empathy into an otherwise deplorable situation. It did neither. In fact, as time went on, she got nastier and more ignorant.

The day that prompted my doctor to suggest a  leave was the day I called in sick and explained to my manager that I had a migraine and yet her response was "Well...can you come in anyway?". I had asked my manager, prior to this, if I could give her an article on migraines to read that would help to give her and the staff a better understanding of the disease. She "enthusiastically" agreed. Her behaviour on this particular day, however, lead me to believe that A) she didn't bother to read the article or B) she simply didn't care/didn't absorb a thing from it. SO I went on sick leave.

At the almost 2 month mark of my leave, my case worker -who was amazing and supportive which was nice for a change- from the company's insurance provider (who deals with our sick leaves), informed me that I would not qualify for long term disability. This was a turning point for me. It made me realize that not only did I not want to go back to the branch, but I also did not want to be on long term disability anyway. You all know from reading my blog that I felt like I was in jail while on leave. So I decided to submit my 2 weeks notice and leave the bank.

This decision gave me great relief, but also a bit of sadness. I was happy to be getting out of such a toxic environment, but I was sad to be leaving the company itself, after all I had given them 8 years of my life and I truly felt the company itself "had my back" the whole way through. Unfortunately I felt like in staying meant I was going to lose myself. It meant I was to become a negative, vindictive bitch like most of the people working with me.

It wasn't long after I gave my notice that it became clear I had made the right decision. Slowly but surely my migraines dissipated, I was sleeping again and most importantly, I was smiling again.

A friend of mine asked if I could watch her 8 and 10 year old for the summer and it sparked an idea in my head! Yes, this is it! I am going to start a home daycare!! SO that is what I've done and I am so glad I did. Now, I am my own boss and I got to spend the summer with my children and some other really awesome kids!! My weekends are my own, I get to choose when I take vacation and I get to spend my days doing crafts, playing outside, going for walks and playing games!!!

I am SO happy with life right now! Even though running a daycare is far from easy work, it's fulfilling work. I can have the most difficult work day and still come out of it smiling and feeling light hearted.

Another thing that has solidified to me that my decision was the right one, was that after 8 years with the company no one acknowledged that I had left. No card, no going away party (as was usual protocol), no email cascaded to the area stating my decision to leave and wishing me the best...NOTHING!

SO although part of me is sad, that I gave so much of my time and determination to the company and no one batted an eyelash after I left, there is a BIG smile happening inside and outside of me right now. I made the right choice. The world is my Oyster and I'm looking only forward from here!!!

No my name ain't baby

No my name ain't baby