It’s weird. The title of this blog post suggests that this is brand new development. However, at the time of writing, I’ve been in said job for over six months. I guess I didn’t want to tempt fate. My six month probation was signed off two weeks ago, so now feels like the time I can finally share things. I got a new job. It was a completely unexpected development, but it happened. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that getting a new job was one of the things I wanted to accomplish before I turn 30 in May. For once, it’s something I managed. So, today’s post is all about how I got there.
Many of you will know that in 2018, I left a toxic job that had chipped away at my mental health for many years. However, what I kept under wraps on my blog (my friends and family felt the full brunt of my rage) was that I had clearly left one toxic job for another. In total, I spent two and a half years working in a role that once again chipped away at my already fragile mental health. It was certainly a case of better the devil you know. It was better than my previous job, but in hindsight, it wasn’t exactly a dream job. I don’t want to go into details but alongside a generally toxic work environment and ridiculous rules there was plenty of gaslighting and a generous helping of sexism and inappropriate comments. In a team of four women, I was the eldest, and with it being a small company, there was no HR department. You can bet that if there was, said comments would not have been said.
In March 2020, when my boss – who was adamant that Covid was “nothing” and would “blow over in a couple of weeks”- reluctantly decided to let us work from home, I thought things would get better. They didn’t. I never expected to be driven to the point of leaving my WFH set-up to cry my eyes out on my bed, but alas, that’s what happened. More than once. In short, it was a job that had me doubting my abilities, my knowledge, and my overall self worth. It wasn’t something I felt proud of, and both my mental and physical health took a downturn as a result.
It wasn’t until I started a course of CBT in May that I realised my job was playing a significant role in wearing me down (maybe I knew that all along but didn’t quite want to accept it). I was referred to “Employment Support,” where I felt like I could vent my issues with my current job, and I was also given support in searching for another role. Employment Support is something that I had never heard of before, but given the outcome, I am incredibly grateful for it. A – who was my main point of contact – gave me tips on improving my CV and writing job applications, often would flag up various opportunities that may have been of interest. One of which was for my local hospice, working as a communications assistant. It was a job I’d seen advertised during my own searches, but I didn’t think I would be a good fit. Mainly, because my self confidence took a crap-dive. It’s amazing how far you can downplay your own skills and achievements as a result of working in a toxic environment. Nevertheless, I mentioned this to A, who gave me enough of a pep-talk to apply for the job.
Hearing that I’d got an interview very nearly made my head explode. A was thrilled, and with his support, I was able to practice my interview skills and keep my nerves under control – something which I will be eternally grateful for. I remember sitting in the car park on the day of the interview – a good 20 minutes early – and doing a meditation exercise to calm my nerves because I felt so sick. I didn’t feel as though the interview went particularly well – I mean it didn’t go badly, but there were plenty of moments where I felt I’d fucked up – so I left feeling a bit “meh.” At the very least, it was my first interview in over two years, and I was starting to get an idea of the job I wanted, so at the very least, I had that.
Fast forward a few days, and I received a phone call offering me the job. I nearly fell down the stairs in shock. Handing in my notice was something that sent my anxiety soaring, but upon doing it, I felt this huge sense of relief.
Four weeks later, I signed off my role as a digital marketing executive on Friday, and that following Monday, began my job as a communications assistant. On my first day, I was shown to my desk which was decorated with confetti, sweets and welcome gifts. In just one week, I felt more at home than I ever have in a job. Every single person I met was lovely, and those I worked with the closest couldn’t do enough for me.
At the time of writing, I have just been signed off from my six month probation. I have lost count of all the different things that I’ve learned in that time, and much to my software engineer-Windows-till-I-die husband’s annoyance, I really enjoy using a Macbook. I feel supported to the point where I know I can ask for help at any time, yet I don’t feel like I’m constantly being watched. I was given more trust and respect in the first few weeks than I was in the entire two and half years of my last job. I work in a team with some of the kindest, loveliest people, and what I still can’t quite believe is that I felt comfortable enough to tell my colleagues about my OCD on my third day. I didn’t just casually drop it into conversation – it came up naturally – but at the same time, I could have chosen not to disclose it, but I felt safe enough to do so. As we moved into the winter months and Covid cases started spiking again, I felt comfortable enough to tell my manager that I struggle at this time of year. She was fine about it and said to work from home if and when I needed to. Yes, at times I’ve been stressed and frustrated, but that comes with fast pace and the varied nature of the role, and I absolutely cannot complain about how much respect I’ve been given on the mental health front. After working in jobs where I’ve been told to “just get on with it” because “we all have problems” and made to feel horrendously guilty for calling in sick, it’s nice to have it taken seriously.
There’s so much more I could say, but I’m aware this has been a pretty long post as it is, so I’ll start bringing things to a close. From past experience, I’ve started jobs before that have been riddled with anxiety each day because I didn’t really have any clue what I was doing. In this new job, that wasn’t the case. I don’t think I had a panic attack or an IBS flare for over a month. Considering how bad things were before, I’m 100% counting that as a win. To everyone out there working in a crappy, toxic job: I see you and I have your back. You can get out. You’ve got this. I honestly didn’t realise quite how much my job was destroying my mental health until I got out of it. I wake up in the mornings and don’t feel a horrible sense of dread. I actually look forward to it. Every single day is different, and I love telling people that I work for a local charity that is so well known and loved. For the first time EVER, I feel proud to tell people what my job is.
Oh, and this is the view I have from my office: