Saturday, January 03, 2009

Get Over It

A few weeks ago I was to have a Christmas dinner with a few of my former co-workers. Only one of the four of us is still at that place.

I chose to not go. Now to be honest, my excuse of sickness was not a lie. I was in fact sick, and most likely I should not have gone to the dinner. But that isn't why I canceled. I canceled because I didn't want to go.

I had gone to a concert a few weeks earlier with one of those ex co-workers and found that we didn't have much to say to each other. (Or rather, she talked about herself and didn't seem interested in my life) She had been at the job much longer, and had left more recently than I had. I was surprised at her lack of knowledge of the person who took over her position and what was going on there since her departure.

She told me that she didn't care and that she had moved on, and that I needed to "get over it."

A few weeks prior to that I had sent the one remaining co-worker an email about something that I thought my ex-boss would be interested in. I asked her to forward it along, but to please keep my name out of it.

She said no, and told me to "get over it."

Hmmm, solid advice, no?

I do in fact need to "get over it." It's been almost 8 months since I've left. I need to immerse myself in my new job and forget about the past.

So why did I cancel on the Christmas dinner? Because I realized that I am not in fact over it. And to be callously told to do so may be tough love in their minds, but quite honestly was hurtful in mine. While at dinner, I would have wanted to talk about it. I would have then resisted the urge to do so, because I know they wouldn't have wanted to talk about it, and I would have simply sat there resenting the fact that I had to keep my mouth shut.

You see it kills me the way I left my last job. There are some people there who think very badly of me and there is nothing I can do about it. I have on more than one occasion started writing an email to my former boss in the hopes that her and I can come to some sort of resolution. But I know that such a communication would not be welcomed and would most likely just cause more damage.

Now I know that they most likely don't think about me much at all anymore. They have probably moved on with their work and projects and rarely give me a passing thought. But when that thought does occur? It's negative. They think I was irresponsible. They resent the way that I left. They don't understand why I feel vicitimized, when I believe that they think that they are the victims of my behaviour. I know that they feel that they treated me as best as they could.

And the problem is? I understand how they feel. Even if they don't understand me. I frequently try to convince myself that I want to forget all about the past seven years of my life. But that's silly. I learned a lot from that job. Both good and bad. I learned how to be a better employee, and I learned about the kind of person that I don't want to become. And I had a lot of good moments with my former boss.

I guess what I'm looking for is closure- although I hate that word. But I can't stand the fact that I still dream about my last job all the time. And I want to be able to rise above the wish that they would somehow miss me, and acknowledge that maybe I did more than they realized, and that perhaps some things should have been done differently or better, and maybe I would have stayed.

I know that I am in a better place now. A place where my work is genuinely praised, and not in a backhanded way. A place where I am not afraid to send an email for fear that the wording will be criticized. A place where I can keep my calculator wherever I want because really? It's a calculator, so who cares? A place that pays me appropriately for the work that I do, and gives amazing benefits and holidays. A place where my only complaint is that I have to take lunch at a certain time.

I need to get over this. But at this time of year especially, when I am seeing and hearing promotion for the big events that I've worked on at this time for the past seven years, it's impossible. I feel inundated with reminders of how things were, and how things should have been.

Ugh. "Get over it." Not helpful advice.


Backpacker momma said...

I think about my last job all the time. Especially since the event I left went in the tanker once I was gone. Its hard to hear it from participants and volunteers and even other staff. Yet I know that there is and was nothing that could have been done to make the outcome any different. I left things as good as I could. I left after giving it an almighty try and more of my time that I probably should have. So yeah, its ok to think about the last job. I also like to chat with former coworkers and see whats going on. Not because I plan to become volunteer of the year and make tons of changes, but, well, because human beings are nosy by nature.

Everyone gets over things in their own time. And knowing what you know about your potential dinner companions, you made the right choice. You'd leave feeling frustrated and thinking about the whole thing even more. Distance, in this instance, is probably a good thing. You're the best judge of how YOU want to deal with it.

Crys said...

i'm kind of new here so i'm not sure what happened, but you are completely normal to take your time getting over something that was clearly somewhat traumatic to you. it sounds like you invested a lot in that company on good faith --- and they did not do the same.

you ARE in a better place. good for you!

Nat said...

If it was a truly bad experience it's very difficult to move on. I left my previous employer because he was unreasonable and mean. I hoped I'd make things better for the employees that followed but some things never change.

I'm still not entirely sure I'm over that job.

the frog princess said...

"...the wish that they would somehow miss me, and acknowledge that maybe I did more than they realized, and that perhaps some things should have been done differently or better, and maybe I would have stayed."

Put simply: Never. Gonna. Happen.

And I think you know that, but sometimes it helps to remind yourself. Sort of like I want the Evil Ex Roommate to realize how horrible her behavior was and apologize. Again: Never. Gonna. Happen.

When people so firmly believe they are in the right and refuse to hear evidence to the contrary, there is nothing you can do but walk away. Totally sucks, but ask yourself this: are they worth all the energy you expend feeling angry, hurt, and frustrated?

I'm guessing not.

Hang in there kiddo... eventually, I think you will "get over it," but not because anybody told you to.

AmyTree said...

I left a job badly about - oh my - 7 years ago (!) now. I had a few opportunities to meet up with former colleagues and I did a couple of times, but stopped because I kept thinking they were pitying me (long, painful story full of reasons I should have left earlier). I resented them for what I perceived as looking down on me, but mostly I resented them for still having jobs and for still working at the same place that was so horrible to me. It took me a LONG time to get over it. In some ways, I'm still not, but I can joke (albeit bitterly) about it now.
Take your time, you'll 'get over it' when you do and it's no one else's call when that might be. Just keep it in perspective - the place was NOT HEALTHY and you're better now, yes? x

MisstressM said...

No Get over it isnt very helpful. But here is the thing. You did the best that you could and thats all that counts. What other's think of you is their problem. And not yours. All that being said you are stressing over this for all the reasons which you shouldn't stress over. Just know that you did the best you could, keep your head up high, and keep moving.

Happy New Year.

Nance said...

I hate when people say flip, trendy soundbite types of things like "get over it" and "it is what it is." Those phrases are not helpful advice. Those phrases are bullshit. They are simply conversational speedbumps--code for "I don't want to talk about this rather personal and intimate thing because it is too personal or boring to me."

Those people need to get over it.

Jen said...

I believe that when you leave on not the best terms due to so many past "hurts" or "un-acknowledgements" or "criticisms", etc. then you can't just "get over it." You can't.

I've been there myself and all I can really say is that you won't get over it and you shouldn't have to. You'll move on when you're ready to do so. Mostly, that takes time - a lot of time. The worst bit is that you'll always remember it even if you've finally let it go to move on. But at least when that happens, you'll be able to only have a passing glint of the memory instead of dreaming it. In leaving it behind (or trying to do so) sometimes you lose people too. Sometimes that is for the best.

Chin up buttercup - it does eventually ease away.

Chief Rock Chef said...

I think I know what your "problem" is - you are too nice! Most people move on and couldn't give a monkey's about the place they just left, even if they left on good terms! Most people leaving in the circumstances that you left would probably be happy to see the place burn to the ground, but you want to make it right! Too nice, I am afraid!

"Get over it" is not a good way to put it, but maybe "care a bit less" might work?

Glamourpuss said...

I've said this before, but I think you were abused in your last job. Abusers will do anything to avoid taking responsibility for their actions, so it doesn't surprise me that she played the victim. You do need to get over it, but in order to heal, you need to acknowledge the injustice, allow yourself to feel the pain and, above all, get angry with that effing cow for behaving so terribly. The sad thing is, most people just don't want to engage with other people's troubles, so yes, avoid the ex-colleagues, but don't feel bad for still being cut up about what happened.

If it's any consolation, I left my job more than three years ago and I still regularly curse those bastards for the shit they put me through.


Sheila (Charm School Reject) said...

Geesh. I am so lost. But I think that your old co-workers are douchebags. Maybe they need to just get over themselves.

I feel like I should write this really long comment bc everyone else did which is why I am filling space with these words explaining why I am typing nothing that is constructive in any way, shape or form.


Princess Pointful said...

Last line says it in a nutshell.
Sure, we all think that about people sometimes-- but saying it? How is that supposed to be relatively helpful? Does anyone think saying "get over it" actually helps start the process?

Really, though, from what little I do know about your job-- it took a lot out of you, and there was a lot of drama that would be hard on anyone. Nothing wrong with being aware of that.

Captain Smack said...

I hate the word "closure" too. There was a great writer who said the same thing, except he said it in a brilliant way, but I can't remember his name. Some Russian dude. He died poor and alone, I believe, so that's closure for you.

Whenever a relationship between me and a girl would end, I would always feel this need for her to "understand" me. I felt like if I could just put her in my brain for 5 minutes, so she could know who I really was and see where I was coming from, then everything would be ok, and I would be satisfied and move on. And it probably would have worked, too (as long as she didn't get nosy and start poking around in my brain's Forbidden Zone, which, I'm sure, would've made her run away screaming into the night.)

Anyway, I can imagine a 7-year stint at some job which ended badly having the same effect, but I'm sure it'll iron itself out in your sick, twisted brain the same way all my past relationships ironed themselves out in my sick, twisted brain, which is: you'll eventually stop giving a shit about these people, because, really, who cares? You have better things to focus on, like your current situation (which will also end in disaster, and then the next thing, etc., etc., until you die poor and alone like that brilliant Russian dude.)

Miss Britt said...

I had a job like that. I think what bothered me the most was the idea of people thinking badly of me and me not being in a place to defend myself.

THAT is what I had to "get over" and "let go of" - the idea that people will think "unfairly" of me.

Alice said...

Wow.. sounds to me that we have this in common... I worked for a place for 10 years and hated it for the last 3 but dealt with it because there were good times and I felt that I was failing them when I told them it was my time to leave. I worry what my team thought (all 150+ of them) I still think about them and how they still think neg of me. I think it will take time but hopefully not much longer.

Psychgrad said...

My brain is still on vacation let's see if I can make some sense.

It seems like you were dealing with a boss who was pretty irrational (this is based on the way she treated you when you were working there). It's beyond frustrating not being able to talk reason into irrational people. But, I think "letting it go" is about moving past that frustration because no matter how many letters you send or attempts to end on better terms, it won't help. Irrational people believe what they want to believe. It's in your boss's best interests to think negatively about you because if she didn't, she would have to face her own poor performance. It's way easier for her to blame someone else than to recognize her own role in the problems. Maybe I'm projecting my own frustrations on your situation.

In any case, you're in a better place now. In your own time, your negative feelings about the job will fade. We forget pain, don't we?

Amber said...

Hi there, my favorite "other" Princess!

How's the crown been treating you, sweetie?

Sorry I've been such a slacker on the whole commenting thing lately. I'm afraid it's only going to get worse next week when I start classes again :(. But I'm always behind the scenes, reading along in GR! I hope that counts for something at least, lol.


I just wanted to say that I can totally relate to this entry. I feel your pain!

I had to leave my last job in order to go back to school. But it was also a very stressful, hostile, environment due to the doctor I worked for being a complete and total BI-POLAR PSYCHO!

And my brother was Bi-Polar, so I don't use that term lightly.

She made my life a living hell more days than not.

Yet, oddly, even though I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there... I still miss her some days. We *did* have good days/times and she taught me a LOT about being a good nurse.

I also miss my patients INSANELY!

She was a new doctor and had just started building her practice. As such, the majority of her patients, I got to start out building relationships with the same time she did. I got to know them and their stories, their families... just everything.

I emailed the doctor a few weeks ago and was honest with her about why I left and the circumstances in which I did. I told her everything - both negative AND all the positive.

I've yet to hear back.

"Get over it" is crap advice and pretty heartless and rude to say.

After posting this incredibly long comment, I'm going to leave you with a piece of ass-vice that, I HOPE, will help you at least a little bit.

I've learned that, sometimes, you're not going to get closure. You're not going to get the opportunity to do all the things left undone or say all the things left unsaid. We're not always going to get forgiveness or peace or mend broken bridges or get the response that we want.

But, while we can't control what other people think/do, we CAN control what WE think/do about ourselves. How we handle it within ourselves. Maybe, there are things in life that we can't just "get over." However, we do have the power to move on with our lives and let time... and acceptance of what is... heal our own hearts.

It's not a door that we will always leave closed, but perhaps, it will be a door that isn't opened quite as often.

For better or for worse, you have/had your reasons for leaving the job that you were in. I hope that you'll be able to take comfort in knowing that you made the best decision for yourself. Sometimes, we have choices to make that have crappy parts to both. I think you're an intelligent, kind, funny, loving person. And eventually, when you're ready... you'll be able to let go of what was to embrace what is more fully. It doesn't mean your heart won't ache sometimes... but you'll be an even better person for having to go through it.

Email me if you need a friend to talk to, okay? I'm always available by email and I'll send you my cell if you need to chat!

XOXO :).

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