Earlier this year, I quit a job without a backup plan – now, this isn’t the first time I did it. The first time I quit a job without another job lined up was back in my first year of university which in hindsight, it wasn’t that big of a deal since I didn’t have any bills or rent to pay for. However, earlier this year, I was paying rent, in addition to student loans and credit cards, and cell phone bills.
I was an “office administrator” earlier this year for about a month or so. Noticed the quotation marks around office administrator? Long story short, it was essentially a receptionists gig that the firm never told me about when interviewing, nor on the job description that they posted.
When I signed the agreement and arrived on my first day of work, the current receptionist was training me. I figured – hey, as an office admin, I’m sure I have to provide some back up to the receptionist and cover her breaks or if she ever took a vacation.
It didn’t take too long to dawn on me that my “office administrator” position was essentially a glorified receptionist. I didn’t know how I felt about this after coming out of another receptionist gig at a local gym. I was tired of being “trapped” behind a desk and trying to please people so being in another receptionist role sort of gave me doubts.
However, as the weeks progressed, I was getting more unhappy. I felt lonely at my new gig, and it’s not because I was literally on my own, but none of my colleagues took the time to chat with me and get to know me (except for one). Most of them treated me like their personal assistant, and only a handful of them took the time to make small conversation about work and the weather. I rarely got any meaningful feedback or a genuine ‘thank you’.
To add to my loneliness, during the time I was with the company, there was a birthday one day. I was asked to make a PA announcement for everyone to head over to the kitchen for some cake… and guess what. Everyone went, but me. I wasn’t invited and nobody noticed I wasn’t there to join the party. When the singing was over and everyone got a piece of cake, one of the girls came up behind me and asked if I wanted some cake. No! I was in such an awkward position, and a shitty position to sit there and watch the birthday celebration occur without being invited. I wasn’t allowed out of my desk essentially, in case anyone calls or comes through the elevators (which didn’t happen too much). It hurts, even more, when not one employee noticed I was still at my desk and invited me over.
Similarly, there was a day when the President decided to cater lunch. As the food was laid out in the kitchen, everyone was lining up and grabbing their food. I wasn’t invited until everyone got their meals and I essentially was picking out the leftover scraps out of the containers. Since I was the last one to enter the kitchen and grab a plate of food, everyone else was done eating so once again, I was left alone.
When it wasn’t feeling lonely and left out, I also felt that I was being singled out. One a few occasions, the receptionist training me wore extremely unprofessional outfits to work – I’m talking crop-top hoodies with holes and leggings with a lot of piling. One day, I decided to wear a simple, fitting black hoodie. After lunch, my supervisor came up to me and said, “Umm… Claire, [President] wanted to me tell you something. He wasn’t too happy with you wearing a hoodie because it’s very, you know… unprofessional and too casual.” I apologized and nodded, noting not to wear a hoodie anymore, despite the fact that I looked more professional than the previous receptionist.
Another incident, the previous receptionist was 15 minutes late and didn’t care. I was 5 minutes late because my bus came late and one of the senior supervisors yelled at me. He literally stood by my desk and waited for me to come in.
However, the one incident that drove me up the wall was when my supervisor came up to me and told me that from now on, I have to check in with her whenever I went to use the bathroom… which was literally in front of my desk. It was a 10-second walk and it wasn’t like I was in the bathroom texting. I was probably in and out within a minute or so.
That was the cherry on top. On top of being lonely and made to feel like a servant, I also felt unfairly singled out and babysat. This was officially worse than the gym – and I would happily take a pay cut and go back to the gym.
I was so unhappy, and this job was making me feel depressed. I was unhappy at work and lived for the weekends. When Sunday evening rolled around, I was already dreading the work week and seeing everyone there. The feeling of being treated like shit and loneliness piled on me every Sunday evening until Friday after work. One time, I took a day off on a Wednesday and I felt so free – that one day break from all that negative emotions made me so happy. I welcomed that free day with open arms and like always, dreaded going back to work.
In the mornings, it was hard to get out of bed and go to work. All I wanted was to snooze my alarm, call in sick or not even show up. But, I needed the paychecks to pay rent and pay bills. I thought I’m a grown adult – I shouldn’t complain about my job when I’m earning decent money and working 9-5 in a trendy neighbourhood.
Eventually, as much as I tried to push past the negativity and tried to psych myself up that this is a job and I need it, one day, I cracked. I woke up and looked at the clock. I knew I was going to be late if I didn’t get ready now. Instead, I looked at the clock and continued to look at the clock. I had no motivation to go to work. I dreaded it so much, I wanted to cry. I snoozed and eventually turned off my phone and went back to sleep.
I woke up and continued to keep my phone off for the rest of the day. When the workday was over, I turned it back on. My mum left me a message saying my work called her and asked where I was. Dan told me that he got a call from my supervisor. I felt so ashamed, I didn’t tell them that I pulled a no-show. I told my mom not to worry about it and when Dan came home, I told him how I felt about the company and my job, and he supported me quitting.
I left my phone off for about a week and didn’t bother playing any of the voicemails they left me. Yes, I no-showed this job and didn’t officially quit and I didn’t feel guilty about. I felt so much anger at how they treated me, I felt like they deserved to stress and scramble to find someone. I felt no remorse leaving the job the way that I did.
I knew I couldn’t continue at this job any longer when the idea of going to work made me want to cry and stay in bed. Sure, work is work, but it shouldn’t make you feel as bad as making you cry and feel like shit. Even my first job at Dairy Queen wasn’t even this bad!
I get that we all have bad days at work and can sometimes dread coming to work, but I think it’s mentally and physically unhealthy to dread to the point where it upsets you to tears. This wasn’t your “the weekend is coming to an end” dread – this was more like, “I have to endure another week of being bullied” dread. I essentially felt bullied at this workplace.
I got lucky and shortly after, I landed an interview with my current employer and accepted the offer. I’m in a much more happier work environment where I’m respected and liked. I hang out with my colleagues outside of work and can throw banters around. I’m not stuck behind my desk nor have strict bathroom rules. I can have my lunch wherever and whenever I want and leave the office whenever I want as well. I’ve never felt left out or singled out by any employees here.
I told Dan the other day that the thought of moving to Australia and quitting my current job makes me upset. That’s how much I genuinely enjoy working at my company! Every Sunday evening and Monday morning, I look forward to work and don’t even mind coming to work. I’ve never contemplated lying and calling in sick.
My advice to anyone that’s genuinely unhappy, and even possibly bullied, at work: quit.
When you’re pushed to tears, fear to go to work, and literally have to drag yourself out of bed on a daily basis, chances are, that job isn’t for you. Bullying isn’t just among teenagers – it’s also common in the workplace as well. It’s harder said than done, but if you plan financially, and really commit to a job search, the end results would be worth it. Mental and physical happiness at work is so important when work is essentially your second home and family.