This post is long overdue.
It has been sitting on the backburner of my mind for a while.
I was put on performance review at work because of my actions within two months of starting my new job.
There is a restriction on cell phone use at work because of the nature of the information we have access to. I disregarded the rule on a pretty frequent basis and got busted repeatedly.
I also tried really hard to control who my team lead was going to be once I was put under review because I wanted to be evaluated fairly.
I made other mistakes which required asking for guidance and approval in specific cases and did neither.
Not a series of actions I am proud of.
In typical fashion, my body spoke my mind and a host of not so mysterious ailments started appearing such as sinus headaches from irritation, insomnia which speaks to fear, guilt and not trusting the process of life, migraines from a dislike of being driven and resisting the flow of life according to Louise Hay. I started calling in sick and not showing up to work which is yet another pattern that has operated in the past.
When I was 22 years old, I was put under performance review when I arrived at my unit after graduation because of a series of actions and trouble I got into in my last year after I was sexually assaulted at military college. These actions were a normal response to the trauma I had experienced and had to pack into a box and shove deep down.
I naively believed the words of my commanding officer that I would be evaluated fairly despite my past actions. I busted my ass for a year and was denied a promotion that came automatically because I was doing work above my rank due to operational requirements. I had therefore not been evaluated doing work at my rank level and they wanted to extend the period of my evaluation.
Perception is everything and I was in a time in the military when officers ate their young. I was also in a big boys club, where a woman had to be twice as good as a man to be considered half as much. I went into a massive depression, which is anger turned inwards, and was released medically a year afterwards.
I did not have the tools at 22 years old to deal with any of it. All of a sudden my past came flying into my present when I was put under performance review at work. I no longer knew what was real and what was the past. I transposed a situation from the past into my present and operated from that place. That is post traumatic stress disorder.
I went on short term disability when I contracted Covid and was down with the virus for three weeks. I white knuckled my way back to work and lasted maybe a week and a half before I went on short term disability once again.
This time I did things differently and asked for help.
I sought the help of a counsellor through my employee assistance program, leaned into my sponsor in my 12 step program and reached out to a friend who is a life coach.
I was wallowing in victim mode. Knowing full well a pattern was repeating in my work place yet again and feeling powerless to stop it.
I worked on grieving with my EAP counsellor. A lot of people get stuck between anger and depression in the five stages of grief.
I grieved the parents I have. I grieved what I thought my life would look like and came to acceptance of what is. I grieved for the little girl who had to grow up too fast in my family and who lived through actions no child should ever be exposed to. That is a truck load of grief.
I processed my anger, rage and sadness at my parents with my sponsor.
My life coach friend reminded me of what I already knew deep down but had lost sight of in my pain. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees when you’re lost in the woods. We did an inventory of work experiences and pulled out the common threads.
In recovery this is called a step four. I did a step five with her by sharing my findings with her.
They boiled down to patterns from my family of origin: over giving, over achieving, insufficient support, a problem with authority, any kind of feedback is taken personally, a lack of boundaries, not trusting myself, trying to control through being defensive and fighting.
I am to seek guidance when I need support. To trust myself because once I do, I will trust others more easily. To surrender versus trying to control.
My personal boundaries at work are to not gossip, that my personal life stays private, to stay positive and to reframe from the negative to the positive on a consistent basis.
I have an affirmation I use when I need to: I am learning, I am well, I’ve got this.
My return to work has gone better than I had hoped.
I am being given a fresh start. I am being retrained which is a gift because I am absorbing more the second time around. I wake up excited to learn and have fun with the people I work with.
It is nothing short of a miracle.
I am grateful that I learned a long time ago to ask for help. I bring courage to the work that needs to be done to unpack my past, process the feelings and grow. It is not for the faint of heart.
I am proud of myself for creating an experience at work where I get to show up fully, make a difference and be happy.
It is a first in my life.