I heard my name called from the other room and was asked to join the others. I was sure it was something I had done wrong, again, and sighed as I approached the board room.
We all walked on egg shells, held our breath, and asked how high when we were told to jump. The tension in the office was thick and even I, at 22, could tell we were being treated unfairly.
Walking into the board room I found my two other coworkers seated at the long mahogany table along with the director at the helm. She wore a serious face, as she always did. Unless she was bringing her personal life into the office and pulling us into her drama, she demanded professionalism. She asked that I sit and clasped her hands together. She leaned forward and explained that she’d called the meeting because she felt I was not pulling my weight as a team member. And so did the other girls.
I looked from one coworker to the next. Their faces dropping in surprise, reaching for me, telepathically telling me they had nothing to do with what the director was saying. My body began to curl into itself. Why hadn’t she done this one on one?
She expressed her disappointment in me, in my performance, and informed me that my coworkers felt the same, and told me I was on thin ice. While she spoke I stared at the wall thinking of all the times I had walked her through personal crisis’, helped her get up and get on with the day when she was living at the office, talked her through her marriage falling apart, encouraged her to stay focused. And she was questioning my professionalism?
Once she wrapped up the meeting she clapped her hands together, walked over to me and put her hand on my shoulder and explained that she cared about me and was doing this for my own good.
So should I be grateful?
I know now that a boss like that comes around rarely but they teach you a lesson about yourself.
And I am grateful.
I learned from her inappropriate leadership qualities, her unprofessionalism, and her bullying that I would never be that type of boss or teamplayer. I would always work fairly and honestly, and I would be transparent.
But there’s a part of me that will always look back and wonder what I did wrong.
Why did she choose me to pick apart? Why couldn’t I do anything right in her eyes?
Her passive aggressive behaviour, childish rants, ignoring, and drama made the work place impossible to be comfortable in and if anything she taught me what kind of workplace I didn’t want to work in.
I could look back and be bitter but instead I’m happy to have had the experience. I’m stronger for it and know that I was doing my best and wasn’t wrong.
And I’m where I am today because of the lessons I learned.
So, to her I say, thanks.
For modleing everything I never want to be.