Heh. Get this. Yesterday I was speaking with a colleague on a seriously overdue topic. During this conversation she informed me that in the office, I was known anymore as “The Fallen Star”.
Say it with me now: OUCH.
I guess this requires a bit of back-story. When I started at my job I think my lack of complete and total incapability came as a shock to my superiors because they were used to dealing with a lot more ineptitude and a lot less consistency and determination from their employees. I know this sounds harsh on my co-workers and seems like I’m just painting myself as a brown-nosing douchette, but honestly, I’m just telling it like it is.
(not an actual falling star. I will let the artist explain here)
When I first started my job I was the only member of my team to have a college degree, which IMHO is completely overrated and plenty of college educated folks are nothing more than moronic automatons no matter how you slice it, HOW-EVER, the corporation I work for ranks having a diploma just below its celebratory view of nepotism. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Being the “college gal”, the expectations for my output were high, and only continued to grow as my performance began to match my credentials. This wasn’t a problem for me since I have always been a very focused (read: OCD) over-achiever (due to a cripplingly low level of self-esteem) and can’t help but give my all to any project I’m working on.
Needless to say, my bosses just loooooved me. I was the “go-to girl” for all inquiries and issues in my department. I’m talking people employed with the company for 20+ years were coming to me, ME, with questions on procedure or suggestions on how to better execute a plan. I was told that I “energized” the group with my positive attitude and general zeal and fervor for the tasks at hand. In reality all that excitement was due to my need to remain occupied in an otherwise boring boring BO-RING job. I figured that the busier I kept the less I would have to absorb of my surroundings thus denying the realization of how truly UN-fulfilling my job actually was.
This worked well for a time. Then one day all that positivity came crashing down around me practically knocking the marbles right out of my mind. For the span of at least a few months I would cry almost daily at my desk. Sometimes it would just be quiet tears, other times body quaking sobs which would cause those close by to furrow their brows and query “Is everything OK?” I might be a sarcastic bitch on paper but I’m usually pretty nice and composed when face to face so I would just politely nod and excuse myself until I could regain at least the smallest bit of composure to complete the rest of my work day.
I genuinely hadn’t a CLUE what it was that was tearing me up. I figured it had something to do with the job, just resenting how mindless and at times abusive it could be to my psyche. Now, I’ve mentioned this before, but seriously kids, Customer Service? DON’T DO IT! Even when they offer you an absurd amount of money to essentially answer phones and stare at a computer screen, you must realize THIS. IS. A. TRAP! You tell yourself you would be a fool NOT to work there what with all the medical benefits and paid vacation time. That is, until you realize that what you’ve traded for all that is your sanity and now you are left with a compromised mental state and prescriptions for medications you swore you’d never take again.
Anyway, it’s taken me months, close to a year, to figure out what it is that has been eating me up inside. This all goes back to that conversation with the colleague I told you about seemingly 20 paragraphs ago. She said she could relate as she was once The Star of the office and too learned early on that it’s most definitely not all that it’s cracked up to be. You see, The Star is rarely ever praised but behind closed doors. Sure, The Star is appreciated for all the hard work they perform and the trustworthiness they provide the team but it’s not as if they are given awards or monetary supplements, just more crap heaped upon their shoulders. Speaking of the team, they secretly loathe the fond affection The Star receives and retaliate by shirking their own duties and often slinging them off on said object. Are you beginning to see how this star lost her shine?
It became quite upsetting when I would be running around the office trying to get things done only to find one of my co-workers sleeping, you heard me right, SLEEPING, at their desk. If you’re wondering whether or not that person still works here: you better fucking believe they do. I was tired (not sleeping at my desk tired) of being what seemed like the ONLY responsible one, the ONLY one who seemed to give a rat’s ass about ANYTHING to do with our office. The same year I was hired I received an “exceeds expectations” commendation from management which they told me was quite an exclusive honor since I was the only one being awarded as such that year. I was really flattered, not entirely surprised, because when it came down to it, I fucking deserved that honor and probably more for just how much I had gone above and beyond my role in the short time I had been there.
I dealt with the fact that the recession had caused the company to tighten their purse strings and put the quash on bonuses for those who received commendations. I had never gotten a bonus before anyway so what did it matter? Right? WRONG. It started to get to me that the same people who were dragging the team down due to their frequent disappearing acts (30 minutes trips to the cafeteria for breakfast?) which, when your job revolves around being logged into a call center, really adds unneeded pressure to everyone else who is actually DOING their job, were the same people bitching about others getting up from their desk to go to the bathroom without alerting the entire team. I mean, ARE you kidding me?
So you wanna know what happened next? I. JUST. STOPPED. CARING. I figured why should I when no one else does? Why should I work HARDER than most people and make LESS than they do just because of some seniority issue? How is that in any way fair? In retrospect I should have just gone to my superiors and TOLD them of all the -ish that I was privy to, but I had never fancied myself a “snitch”. Little did I know then that it wasn’t snitching so much as standing up for myself. Instead I just made it seem like I stepped off the deep end and left everyone in the office questioning my sanity on a daily basis.
Instead of exhibiting any sense, I resorted to complete immaturity and started acting out. An obvious lapse in judgment, I know this now. I was depressed as hell, hating all things in my life and it was seeping out of my very being during each and every work day. I quit giving a shit about my banal duties. I started slacking majorly, using the majority of my work day to surf the web, pouring my heart out into emails and word documents, some sent, some never seeing the light of day and, TRUST, we are all better off that they didn’t. I truly thought I was losing it. I took on a defensive/morose tone with callers without really meaning to, it just became a part of the natural course of the way things were going. I felt trapped in my job and resentful that I couldn’t seem to escape the hell that it had become for me.
I have finally reached the stage where I know I need to just confront the issues at hand, however sticky they may be. I don’t like being the negative one, bringing bad news to the troops, but I’m past the point of giving a shit. I plan on meeting with my bosses within the next week to just unearth all the crap that has been going for good or for bad because however clichéd it may sound this year is about turning over a new leaf. This time I mean it. I’m not sure how much longer I will (or can bearably) remain in the job I have. I just know that if there is any possible way that I can, I have to quit silently suffering and start working the squeaky wheel angle.
What’s the saying? “The squeaky wheel gets the worm”?
Something like that…