Call me “Crispy”

I made it three weeks in Cytology, at which point I was begging my old boss for anything back in the lab portion of the building. There’s a small part of me, listening to the voices of old programmed responses in my head, telling me that I’m a failure. On the other side of the coin? I’m giving myself credit for not staying in a toxic environment, and putting my own mental health first.

It wasn’t the work itself that was unbearable – I was able to do most packets in 30 minutes or so,. I got told much later after the whole “15 minutes” lecture, that the expectation was 30 – 40 minutes. I met that goal. I was on time. I was accurate. I followed the few standard operating procedures that were presented. I enjoyed the work when I wasn’t being denigrated. I had made some plans for filling in gaps I saw. The plan was never to go in for a bit, and then pop back into my old role.

What I didn’t do so well with? Being told by three different people what I was doing was wrong because I wasn’t doing it their way. Constantly hearing ugly, lowed voiced whispers and conversations featuring “she” or “her” followed by cackling. It’s a cube farm people, voices travel. The constant criticism of being told I was stupid, completely useless or “Just hand that to me, you’ve messed it up enough.” I know now that when someone asks in a job interview “How would you handle a clash with a co-worker” they already know that the people they have working for them are problematic. Finally, and most likely the pettiest of issues, was the incredible abuse and ignorance of any kind of proper English grammar. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, I just know that it ate at me.

Tomorrow I return to the laboratory, where yes, there will be a few updated things I need to pick up. That’s normal. I’ll miss being (kind of) able to drink my coffee at my desk, and looking for the things to make my desk personalized. Yup, a little money got spent. I fully intended to work through all of this. I actually like the shift, and the work I could do without being berated, I enjoyed. I didn’t enjoy being told that “We don’t take no breaks – we don’t have the time, You don’t get a lunch on this shift.” Slightly illegal that. I’m slightly bummed out, because I was developing a way to distribute the slides to the pathologists that worked for me. However, I’m not going to miss the whirlies that came with the smell of every fresh batch of slides.

Having the Hubz tell me he was worried I’d have to revisit the psyche ward was just the wake up call I needed. I was coming home too tired to do anything, say anything, be myself. I’ve worked too bloody long towards having good mental health, and a positive outlook, to throw it down the well. It was not a healthy choice to stay.

Some of the people I enjoyed working with in the lab will have left for other jobs or internships. I’ll be working with different techs and a different lead. That’s OK. I believe those are changes that I can roll with, and if they aren’t, then I move on. It’s not the backbone of steel that I want, but it’s getting there. I like that I feel strong enough to say “This is a bad fit”. Truth be told, the first time I was taken aside and given a dressing down for not getting the slides out before 7 am (see above about SOPs and three different people with no teaching skill or patience) I interrupted my manager and said “I think we can agree that the only thing I’m good at here is coming in on time..” Because I was sure I was being fired, I wanted to give myself that lead in. No, just more verbal abuse. To be fair to myself, I needed to be wearing readers over my bifocals, as I couldn’t read the numbers on the pages or screens. That slowed me down. First cataract goes out Thursday – woo hoo!

I realized that I was too tired and numb to cry more than 3 tears when my uncle passed. (Minus several million points for spelling “Unkle” in a condolence card…) Don’t misunderstand me, I will miss him, I regret not getting more of his stories, and I know he was more than ready to die when death mercifully came. When you don’t have the spoons in the emotional drawer to cry any more than that for a loved one, or you’re so overwhelmed that seeing the yard signs for a nephew’s graduation brought on tears at work – it’s time to get out of Dodge.

Now I’m going to be absolutely and incredibly blunt. I understand that I am blessed enough to be able to walk out of a job that made me miserable, and into another job in the same building with a schedule I like. I am fully aware that most people don’t have that freedom, and whether it comes from ensuring a good relationship with my lab managers, my work ethic, or sheer blind luck – I can make a change that is healthier for me. Yes, I realize there is something rather odd about saying “Working in the SARS-COVID lab is heathier for me than merging paperwork into systems.” Go figure that a pandemic is healthier for me than office politics.

It will be a bit before I’ve recovered from these events. I’ll get some of that recovery while healing from my cataracts and a nasty “bursa” thing on my foot that requires surgery. It’s not ideal, but heck, sleep is sleep.

It really was going to be a very pretty desk. *sigh*


7 thoughts on “Call me “Crispy”

  1. I’m so sorry to read that the new job has failed you. In the end, tho, they don’t deserve you and you’re absolutely right to put your mental health first.


    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment. I’m trying not to cross over into “I’m better than this” with my nose in the air, but I do deserve better. Breaking that bad line of code in my head is liberating!


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