In February 2017, I took the difficult decision to leave my job. After two years of working for the same company, I finally had financial freedom to travel, save money and enjoy a good life. I truly enjoyed my work and know I was very good at it. Unfortunately, the work environment was the worst I had ever known in my roughly 17 years of work experience.
The Dream Job
My first year was a dream come true, I was learning new skills and proving, with success, my competences and knowledge of my craft. I was being trained to move up in the company and felt I could built a great career, moving from Marketing Coordinator, to Product Manager and eventually Director of a department. The company treated us like royalty with great benefits like free breakfast, great parties and above average insurance packages.
The nightmare started when my co-worker was fired for denouncing harassment from management. She endured many difficult months and her mistakenly reached out to HR for assistance, little did she know, the company would rectify the situation by letting her go. At the time, I didn’t know I was also going to be a victim.
Eventually, the harassment started with me. Apparently, I was in the way of someone else’s career change, a friend of the director. Fake complaints of misconduct where written about me, bad behaviour from some of my team members started, work was taken away from me and all support for my work was dropped. Within six months, I went from being important part of the team to complete trash. Thankfully, I still had some team members who believed in me, however, these employees were not part of the director’s inner circle.
Before leaving, I gave my manager one last chance to rectify the situation. I told her that I will either have to go on sick leave or quit. She told me that it was all in my head and she cannot do anything for me, so I walked out the door.
Lack of Support
Unfortunately, since I decided to leave my position, I was denied support from Employment Insurance. They stated that I had no good reason for leaving my position and therefore was not allowed any financial support. I believe this practice needs to change, even after giving them detailed information of my situation, they denied my application for not having proof of harassment. Who would? Do we truly think the Human Resources personnel would willingly admit to harassment? Or that they would even know who I was since the company employs over 900. A company where hundreds come and go every single year.
I had nowhere to go, I was stuck. I was being harassed by the friends of higher management, who fired anyone who would protest against them. Looking back, I should have taken sick leave and started to find a new job while on financial assistance. However, I was on the verge of a breakdown and any extra time in that place would have broken me.
I know I am not the only one in this situation. Workplace harassment is widespread through all industries. Since we need money to survive in the world, we put up with it for as long as we can. I decided to take the chance and hope to find a job quickly.
Welcome to my long journey through unemployment.