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Archive for November 24th, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I went on a training for the Red Cross. The course was held by the psycho-social assistance group of the Rhine-Sieg area. My Red Cross group is part of the Bonn area and the Rhine-Sieg area is sort of one area further up north. You might be able to compare it to counties.

The course was held at the fire department in Troisdorf, a town on the outskirts of Bonn.

I was totally fascinated by the clothing booth for the firemen

I have done an internship at the Red Cross alarm post in Niederkassel and there was a vehicle hall a little like the one in the fire department in Troisdorf but of course on a smaller scale. Also there were no fire trucks and alike.

One of the rack waggons

Anyway, the training was rather interesting and there were certainly things that I did not know about a burn-out, or even the bore-out syndrome.

The various stages of a burn-out circle

Sitting there, I realised that I was quite close to entering several stages of the bore-out syndrome myself a couple of years ago while working in the equal opportunity office.

It’s ironic to think that I was actually a victim of mobbing by the equal opportunity officer herself. When I first started working there my boss was great and we got along great. Then my old boss changed office and a new boss came along who didn’t like me. She was a rather objective thinking person, while I have always been rather creative. While my old boss had been creative as well, back then I suddenly ended up in a bad spot. I had one colleague who was also a rather objective thinking person.

The new boss got along great with him…I no longer fitted in there.

The mobbing started rather slow but after about 1 year the only work she gave me to do was actually filing incoming emails on new company employees. That work actually meant checking for new emails and entering that data into a statistics file. It was basically 1 hour of work daily. The rest of the time there was nothing else to do for me but to look out of the window or wish myself away. During the last six month of me working there, she started picking to pieces any work I had done for the previous boss.

One time she stood right next to me, while my colleague was sitting right opposite me (we shared one room) and she started to diss me about an old trainee document that I had changed according to her wishes.

This is bad and that is bad and I told you to do it this way. Do it again.

I was speechless and felt utterly worthless while my colleague tried to pretend he wasn’t enjoying the show.

I started believing that I was actually worthless and not able to do the work that I had done successfully the years before. I mean, I was even given a performance bonus once while my old boss had been in charge. I started feeling overwhelmed about the work that she ordered me to do and started believing that I was actually incompetent.

I also started getting sick more often, had nightmarish dreams about work and was unable to unwind. On Fridays (actually every day) I went home thinking about the bad things that had happened at work and by Sunday morning I started anticipating the terrible things that would happen once I returned to the office on Monday.

My self-esteem started shrinking like an ice-cube in the sun. I felt worthless and stupid and on the brink of crying whenever I thought about work. She did a real good job destroying my self-esteem and work ethics.

When I couldn’t take it any longer I started applying for another job in my company: So while I was on vacation, I snuck into the office late one Friday, when I knew nobody was around and turned in another application and checked for mails. That day I found out that I was invited for an interview in another department. I was looking forward to it.

When I returned to the office the following Monday, I told my boss that I would need to go to a work interview. She replied that she needed to talk to me as well and ordered me to her office, where she told me that she had analyzed the need for employees in the equal opportunity office and had come to the conclusion that she couldn’t justify two employees. She didn’t pause after that information but continued right away. Therefore I would start working in the file department in two weeks.

BOOM!!

That was it!!!

There was no, please look for a free position or anything, since she couldn’t fire me – being a state employee and all – just bare facts and degrading facts at that. Basically when it comes to reputation, the file department is the lowest there is. She wanted me out and now, but even more she wanted me out on my knees, destroyed.

After I had worked for her for 2 years, she had managed to replace my love for the work with a growing fear, my competence with a stern believe in incompetence and had managed to make me physically sick.  

An equal opportunity officer who does not treat his employees equally…what a joke … hahahahaha. Unfortunately that joke was on me.

Taking part in the burn-out training that day, many memories of my time in the equal opportunity office were suddenly put into perspective and I finally understood what had happened to me and what had been done to me.

The training was really interesting and I am really glad I went to it. Wow, what a trip down memory lane. I know I am still carrying some anguish about that time but I am good now and learned a lot from that time and the training. I also know now, that being a boss and knowing how to be a boss are two different things altogether. My current boss is great and I am happy to work for him.

Perhaps this post can help some people who have experienced similar things. Stay strong people. 😉

All is well!!

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