Learning Experience — Part II
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:
- Learning Experience — Part III
- Learning Experience — Part IV
- Learning Experience — Part V
- Learning Experience — Part VI
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.
The department had run autonomously without her. Sure, the department needed a manager, a creative head who could guide the employees, but we really needed someone to oversee the department rather than take on a micromanaging approach, involving herself in every situation.
Every little thing brought me into her office. And I mean, every little thing. I sent a document to the department delineating the difference between a writer’s job and editor’s job for citations in a document. She pulled me into her office and told me that I had “overstepped my bounds” and that it was her role to tell her employees what to do and what not to do. Again, this was within the first 2 months of her arrival so there’s no way she could’ve known how to outline and resolve the issue. I sent out a half-hearted email, basically retracting what I had said and redirecting all questions to Karina (who would have no idea how to answer them without my help). At that point, I deemed my document null and void. She told me that it was not place to do things like this so I basically put the document out of my mind. (Silly me, how could I have not known that she would want me to refer to it later after berating me for sending it to the team?)
In another instance, I had conflict with a colleague whom I was friends with. We were both stressed and flipping out. I later sent an email apologizing for my actions and she too apologized for being short with me. We resolved the issue between ourselves and moved on.
Silly me for not bringing a resolved issue to my boss’s attention. She pulled me into her office 4 weeks later, questioning why I hadn’t made her aware of this situation. I stared at her, puzzled, reiterating that the “issue was resolved” and there was no need for her involvement. She told me that anything that directly affected her employees was her business and that she should be made aware of it. OK. Whatever, lady.
We had a few more bouts like this in which I did something that I thought was completely normal but left her pissed off as though I were undermining her. She was stressing me. Carrying the work of the entire agency was stressing me. My son, who was reacting to the aftereffects of my PPD, was stressing me.
So, at the end of September, I broke down. I had a panic attack, notified my boss that I needed to take medical leave, immediately escaped from work, and checked into a partial hospitalization program (PHP). I worked closely with my psychiatrist, psychologist, and therapists at the PHP. I learned strategies for coping with stress and situations that weren’t in my favor. It took some time for me to recover. More time than I would have liked. However, the best result is that my relationship with my son dramatically improved. Sure, he was now a toddler and annoying the heck out of me, but I had the opportunity to become more involved in his life and his attachment to me began to grow.
This is Part II of a 6-part series of posts. To read Part III, click here.