Forgiveness: agita, anxiety, and alienation

March 15, 2016 2 comments

At my Christian counseling session recently, I was challenged to forgive my former boss for the wrongs she had done against me. While I’m not super bitter about it or angry at her, somehow extending forgiveness to my former boss seemed like a challenge.

It still is.

Last night, I prayed and meditated on trying to forgive her. I tossed and turned the idea over and over until I fell asleep, unable to extend forgiveness.

True forgiveness is not necessarily about me telling her that I absolve her of the wrongs she committed against me but rather that I let it go in my heart, mind, and soul.

Of all people, Jillian Michaels wrote about forgiveness in her book, Unlimited: How to Build an Exceptional Life.

“Here’s the thing, though: forgiving the a*****e isn’t for their well-being, it’s for yours. If you can’t forgive the things that have been done to you…then you won’t be able to move on with your life. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Nor does it have to mean letting the person back into your life to hurt you again. It simply means healing the hurt that’s been done to you and continuing to pursue a prosperous, meaning-filled life.”

Michaels goes on and, I think, imparts some wisdom:

“[Forgiveness] will enable you to stop taking on other people’s issues and stop allowing their shortcomings to define who you are. You will understand that what happened to you wasn’t because of your limitations but because of the other person’s. For this reason, forgiveness comes when you are truly able to gain understanding and empathy for the person who hurt you.”

Forgiveness has physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Holding on to a grudge can cause a host of ailments, including (what I like to call) agita, ulcers, and high blood pressure, to name a few. Not letting go of a wrong can cause anxiety, depression, and obsessive thoughts. And spiritually, it can alienate you from God or, perhaps, whomever or whatever you call a higher force. Being consumed with anger and bitterness can also get in the way of relationships with other people. There’s a fear that someone will treat you similarly.

I was in the fortunate position of knowing that I wasn’t the only one my former boss mistreated. Time after time, God showed me that I was well liked among my former coworkers. This gave me the confidence to move on to my next job without pretending to be someone I was not.

I’m trying to extend forgiveness. Trying to put myself in her shoes. Trying to accept the fact that she feels she’s done nothing wrong but is who she is. I am who I am. And I am a person who will extend forgiveness to her.

Right now is just not that time.

 

Categories: Personal

Learning Experience — Part VI

February 25, 2016 1 comment

This is Part VI, the final part of a 6-part series of posts. To start from the beginning, click one of the following links:

An opportunity for another job presented itself shortly after our conflict. I had already had one foot in the door as a former freelancer, and I was eager to get the other foot in, simply to get away from Karina. I took a day off, interviewed, put my best foot forward, and left it in God’s hands. I later learned that the team loved meeting me, I aced my editing test, and that a job offer would be coming soon. I asked for a pay raise but didn’t care if I ended up with the same salary with a city tax that would cut into my wage. I simply wanted to be away from my boss.

I was offered the position on a Friday, accepted the offer over the weekend, and was giddy to hand in my resignation on Monday. My boss said she’d be in meetings all day but I told her I only needed 5 minutes of her time.

When I finally caught her, I closed the door to her office and handed her an envelope with my resignation inside. I said, “I wanted to talk to you to let you know that I am resigning from my position, effective 2 weeks from now.” She looked at the envelope and looked up at me. Then she said, “Thank you.” She opened the envelope and read the letter that said the same thing I had just said out loud. She looked back at me and said, “Thank you for this.” Read more…

Categories: Careers & Jobs, Personal

Learning Experience — Part V

February 24, 2016 5 comments

This is Part V of a 6-part series of posts. To jump ahead to Part VI, click here. To start from the beginning, click one of the following links:

The next day, she pulled me into her office in a much calmer manner. I had hoped that she would apologize for her overreaction and that we could settle our differences. She never admitted that she was wrong for anything and we went around and around in circles until I finally declared that we were at an impasse and wouldn’t be able to resolve this issue. She agreed and on my way I went.

We both approached Sarah from HR, asking for help to mediate the conflict between us. Our first meeting seemed to be going well. Until Karina dropped a bomb that I had a history of “overstepping my bounds” and “being difficult” before she arrived at the company. I looked at her questioningly. Who had said this? went through my mind but I was keen enough not to ask. But Karina offered a name anyway: Jane. Read more…

Categories: Careers & Jobs, Personal

Learning Experience – Part IV

February 23, 2016 5 comments

This is Part IV of a 6-part series of posts. To jump ahead to Parts V and VI, click here and here, respectively. To start from the beginning, click one of the following links:

I figured that evening would be a night where I would get out around 7:30 or 8:00. Again, shame on me. At 6 pm, a 40-plus slide PowerPoint with text-heavy slides and speaker’s notes was dumped in my lap . The sheer amount of work before me had me estimating a 3-hour job to get the work clean and out to client. Wondering why such a text-heavy job needed to go out the door tonight, I went to my fellow editor and asked if the job had been on her radar. She looked at her list of jobs for the day and said that it was going to the client without editorial review. I asked my boss if this was really necessary to do tonight and she said yes it was. I couldn’t resolve the conflict in my head that the project manager in charge of the job said it was with the client and my boss who said that it needed to be done right away. Having no idea that I was making a major mistake, I asked the account supervisor—the person who would know best—whether the job needed an editor’s eye. To my dismay, he confirmed my boss’s assertion. Satisfied that I had heard the answer from “the horse’s mouth,” I sat down to complete my job thoroughly. Read more…

Categories: Careers & Jobs, Personal

Learning Experience — Part III

February 22, 2016 5 comments

This is Part III of a 6-part series of posts. Parts I and II can be found here and here, respectively. To jump ahead, click one of the following links:

Karina, to her credit, was incredibly supportive during this time. She texted and emailed me to see how I was doing and said she would support whatever decision was best for me: to bow out of my job and take care of my health or to make a slow return to work. I told her that I wanted to return to my position.

Constrained by limited days and hours set by my psychiatrist, settling back into work was difficult for me. I worked from home for a few weeks, a pain in my rear end in which I grew lonely and missed being around coworkers. Not only that but the agency was not set up adequately to easily work from home. My fellow editor had to run between her desk at the back of the office to the scanner at the front of the office to send me paper-based work all day. Electronic comments were relegated to workers off-site. Track changes in Word docs were something only external clients did; without anyone saying anything out loud, it was frowned upon internally. Employees rarely did it.

From the end of September to the end of January, I took leave and made a slow transition back into a normal workweek. Once I made the transition back into the office, coworkers were extremely glad to see me come back. The comfortable working relationship I had longed for since the beginning of my tenure there was finally realized. I came back to hugs (from the women) and emphatic, friendly hellos (from the guys).

However, I did have one concern about my leave and it was something that I obviously could not control: that my temporary departure would give Karina the upper hand in determining what I could and couldn’t do. She was finally the one in the dominant position now because I was not “up” on what was going on in the agency. I feared she might leverage this against me now that I was in vulnerable position. Read more…

Categories: Careers & Jobs, Personal

Learning Experience — Part II

February 18, 2016 6 comments

This is Part II of a 6-part series of posts. Part I can be found here. To jump ahead, click one of the following links:

I (wrongly) assumed that Karina would come in, sit back for a while and assess the situation of how the department was running, then jump in to fix things that needed fixing. Apparently, to her, everything needed fixing. Immediately. Including my perceived actions of “overstepping my bounds” and “undermining” her authority. Read more…

Categories: Personal

Learning Experience — Part I

February 18, 2016 5 comments

This is Part I of a 6-part series of posts. If you’re reading this after all posts have been published, you may jump ahead. To do so, click one of the following links (links will become active as available):


The past year has been a serious learning experience for me. I have tried, and failed, to work with someone whom I consider to be extremely difficult to work with. Lucky for me, many other people within my company consider this person to be extremely difficult to work with as well.

Let’s refer to this person as Karina for the remainder of this post. Karina is my boss. She’s been my boss for the past year. She’s essentially a newcomer to the company while I am old hat. New employee for a year but I’ve had a long history with the company as a freelancer for 7 years. I’ve seen many people come and go but have had the privilege of staying around.

Now, it’s time for me to depart. Read more…

Categories: Careers & Jobs, Personal
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