This weeks heartbreaking and inspirational guest blog comes from @ALtillMom.
I was top of the leader board every month, held company revenue record, closed the largest deals, managed the biggest client base, had the best retention numbers, and I was also the target of the CEO’s daily office bullying. Just because I was a top performer did not mean I got a free pass from his toxic tirades.
For 3 years I gave this small HR resource firm my all, including my identity. The irony was, our clients were businesses in Canada who required support, advice and documentation to support proper Human Resources practices. We did not practice what we preached. Every day I was subject to belittling, screaming, yelling, name calling, sexual innuendo, discrimination and ultimatums. I was called upon daily to train staff, lead the team to success and support operations in addition to hitting my required sales targets. I did it willingly because I was great at it and I loved my clients and my colleagues. However, I was also constantly told I was toxic, people hated me and I was a horrible employee. I was paid really well and therefore lived in the false reality that the money made this abuse ok.
One Monday my reality cracked, my daughter begged me not to go to work, explaining I was mean when I came home. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the person I saw. Reflected was a person who drank daily, dreaded getting up, was on anti-depressants, and was 40 pounds overweight and borderline suicidal. The very next day I started looking for another job, but every lead was at half my current income, so back into the misery I cowered as the primary provider for my young family.
Fast forward one month to the day, I got fired! I thought my life was over, how was I going to feed my family? Where was I going to get a job? I lived in a city with a 10% unemployment rate and I was a horrible toxic employee who was worth nothing! Right? -- WRONG!
In a matter of hours my network of good people started recommending me for jobs, I had 10 interviews in 6 days and 3 offers within 10 days, but most importantly I rediscovered my value and self-worth.
I eventually chose the brilliant company I work for now, not for the money but for their corporate values: respect, integrity, relationships, excellence, leadership and collaboration. All the things I was missing under my previous CEO’s reign. It’s been 18 months and I finally recognize myself in the mirror again! I’ve lost 40 pounds, rarely drink, eat clean, exercise daily, no more anti-depressants, and most importantly my family is happy again!
Do I still get haunted by my former boss? Yes, in my nightmares, occasionally on twitter, and every time I get a bill from my lawyer. But I survived, and if you are in the same spot I was, you will too, but you have to choose you first. You are worth it, you are a good person, and you are not the problem. You can break the cycle for you, one step at a time.
Be Brave, you are not alone!