An acquaintance of mine recently reached out to me to let me know that after 20 years with the US Government, she was considering leaving her job that she loved. Sound familiar? I can relate, definitely.
I too worked for the government, in the environmental field. I was completely committed to the cause of helping people understand how their everyday actions effect the planet they live on. But, in spite of being paid a decent salary, having amazing colleagues, and really loving my work, I moved on.
The story is complicated, with all the twists and turns of a best-selling novel. Suffice it to say, I was forced to leave my job because I chose to become a whistle-blower. I was bullied by two bad bosses for ten years, with no one to stand up for me and no formal complaint process to work within.
So, when I landed in the local emergency room with extremely high blood pressure, I knew my time at my job was limited. I have been through many struggles in my life, but I am not a quitter and not a victim. I did the only thing I could do: I wrote a five-page complaint to the agency’s board of directors. I meticulously laid out my misery using the detailed log I had kept for six-years. I sent the complaint to the chair of the board of directors, fully understanding the probable consequences of my actions. I had no choice. I wasn’t going to quit. That would have been the easy way out. I chose to stay and fight my battle and let the chips fall where they would.
Fall they did…after a months-long protracted process that included outside investigators and closed board of directors’ sessions, my fate was sealed. I was given a three-month pay-out and had to sign an agreement stating that I would never darken their door again. The agency’s attorney gave me the news, and I accepted it graciously. I had known the odds were against me, and that I would have to leave a career where I was respected and valued by my peers for my commitment to our cause.
During this process, I learned a lot about myself and about my journey. I don’t resent the people in my office who bullied, belittled and lied about me. I’m made of stronger stuff. I realize that they will eventually reap what they sow.
I am now walking down a new path in my life; one that is full of blind corners and potholes. But even with all I have been through I have faith in myself and my abilities to come out on the other side and create a successful future on my own terms.
I am hoping that my journey will inspire you to create a wonderful life for yourself. Never give up, because there is no satisfaction in laying down.
For more information on workplace bullying; visit the Workplace Bullying Institute at: www.workplacebullying.org.