Not A Normal Monthly Overview

Well, around this time of the month I would usually be posting my monthly overview, covering achievements from the previous month and goals for the month ahead.

This time, I won’t be doing that. I didn’t post at all throughout May, and would like to take this opportunity to explain why.

For those of you who are familiar with my blog and have read my posts, you will know that I am not happy in my current job and haven’t been for some time.

You will also be aware that I suffered from depression in my younger years.

Anyway, let me start at the beginning.

I have been working for a recruitment agency since January 2017, in their accounts department where I process weekly payroll for the contractors. I was employed as a part-time payroll administrator to work alongside a full-time administrator, a full-time payroll queries manager and another payroll manager (yeah, I don’t know why either) who was currently off on maternity leave, to return on part-time hours.

Now, for those of you who have worked in this environment before, you will be aware that payroll is a repetitive, boring task which is well suited to someone who likes routine in their job. This is not me, for a start. I am, however, a very hard worker, and will accomplish any job quickly and efficiently if that is what I’m paid to do.

I have to admit, there were red flags right from the beginning, but the hours suited me so I persevered.

My co-worker Emma*, the full-time payroll administrator, was a friendly girl but infuriatingly chatty, which became a real issue on our busier days. She was also incredibly lazy, and clearly felt that she was above completing payroll tasks now that there was a new member of staff to do them instead.

I found myself working harder to complete tasks on my own rather than raise the issue of her laziness with the management, who spent a lot of their time sat around chatting too.

I began asking for extra tasks to do to break up the mind numbingly dull repetition of timesheets and expense forms, but the managers were totally ignorant to the fact that I was doing the majority of the work and then some.

When Emma confided in me that she had been offered another job, I encouraged her to go for it, pointing out how terrible our current jobs were. In the back of my mind, I was a little gleeful – once she left, there would be no doubt who the real worker was, and I would at last get some recognition.

Yes, in hindsight it does sound ruthless, but that wasn’t the case. I was just sick of doing all the work while somebody else took the credit for it.

Everything went to plan. Emma left and was replaced by Jen*, an older lady and a typical administrator. She wasn’t as fun as Emma but at least she was there to work, and not to gossip. I took on the task of training her up and we quickly became a formidable team. The department improved in leaps and bounds.

During this time, the second payroll manager (why?) Lorna* returned from maternity leave. I had been pre-warned about Lorna by Emma, who claimed that she was terribly lazy and shied away from hard work – pot, kettle and black came to mind but, as Lorna trained Emma up, it wasn’t difficult to detect a pattern.

Everything that I had heard about Lorna was true, and she and the other payroll manager Kirsten* proceeded to spend the majority of the day sat chatting while Jen and I worked our backsides off. We spent a great deal of time complaining amongst ourselves, but there didn’t appear to be anything else we could do. The management team were a clique of women who had worked together for years, and so it was pointless complaining because they were the best of friends.

Eventually, Jen lost all motivation and I found myself again taking on the majority of the tasks, plus extra jobs, while she dawdled and faffed around. After persevering for a few weeks, I appealed to Kirsten in the hope that she would step in as manager. Instead, they fired Jen, leaving me as the only payroll administrator.

This was at the end of March. For two months now, I have been toiling away at a two-person job with barely any help. When Kirsten or Lorna do deign to help out, it is grudgingly and Lorna in particular will do the bare minimum in very bad grace.

A couple of weeks back, I did complain about the lack of support I was getting, but nothing has changed. I am, quite honestly, losing the will to live, so to speak, and something needs to change. I have been on my own now for two months and, as I only work part-time, it is just too much.

The life coaching company I was attempting to start back in April has run aground – I am exhausted, and can’t find the motivation anymore. I haven’t even posted on the Instagram or Facebook page for weeks. How can I promote a happier life when I am just not happy?

This past week, I took annual leave but haven’t had the energy to do anything. Mid-week, I spent a lot of time in such an unhappy state that I cried. This is not right, and I need to do something about it.

Yesterday, I applied for another job.

I decided to write this down today as a therapeutic exercise. I needed to get it all off my chest so I’m not bogged down by negative thoughts all weekend. I also wanted to explain the reason behind my absence. I do apologise if it has put any of you on a downer; that’s assuming you actually read to the end. I’m trying to state facts rather than going off on an emotional rant!

Hopefully I will be back to normal very soon, and I’m sorry for the depressing post.

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Coping with Depression at Christmas

Christmas is a time for family, for giving and receiving and celebrating with those closest to you. Christmas can also be an extremely stressful time of the year, when purse strings are stretched to the limit and there is pressure to make things perfect for the people you love.

I can certainly emphasise, especially this year.

I have touched briefly on my struggle with depression in previous posts. I am no stranger to the black dog nipping at my heels. I teetered on the edge of darkness throughout my childhood, with many moments of deep despair. After leaving home at 18, my late teenage years were spent partying and drinking heavily in an attempt to fit in somewhere, anywhere, and for a while I lost myself in a social whirl. Eventually though, my darkness caught up with me, and at 21 I had a breakdown.

I can’t even begin to explain what I went through back then. I was a mess, and not even a beautiful one. I’m not even sure what that is, a beautiful mess. If you are as broken as I was, still am.. you feel anything but beautiful. You’re just a useless mess.

I gave up my job and was prescribed a heavy dosage of anti-depressants. I remember being unhappy all of the time and wishing I didn’t exist. My family didn’t know how to interact with me. I spent much of my time talking about how bad I felt, how I wanted to disappear, blink out like a burnt-out lightbulb. I guess they were scared by how unhinged I was, and how precarious I appeared to be. They didn’t understand. Eventually, I stopped telling them and learnt to keep it bottled up, to save people the embarrassment of having to listen to me.

As I said, I was a mess.

After two and a half years of deep depression, I decided that things couldn’t continue as they were, and I went out and got myself a job as a kitchen porter in a hotel kitchen. Not the most desirable of jobs, but I loved it. It got me out of the flat and provided me with a semblance of normality, a routine I had been missing. It gave me a reason to be somebody other than the sad person I had become. I look back on that job nostalgically, and with a degree of gratitude. I excelled at it, and it gave my self-esteem a massive boost when I eventually moved on to pastures new, and they asked me to stay. At last, I had made a difference, if only washing pots and emptying bins.

Years later, those long days of depression are a memory I like to keep distant, but every now and again the black dog will sneak up and whisper sibilantly in my ear, with a warning of how easy it can be to slip back into those depths of despair.

It is different these days. I guess I’m more aware of my responsibilities. I can’t break all over again, for the sake of my son, my job, my home, my family. I feel more in control these days.

It doesn’t stop those black thoughts though, and the feeling that I’m never really good enough.

Although Christmas is a time for celebration, please remember that for some, it is difficult to see the joy in the festivities when you are surrounded by such darkness. Some days, it is difficult just to get out of bed and face the day. Depression is an illness, not a choice, and those that push you away are generally the ones who need you the most. Let them know that you’re there for them this Christmas.

If you are the one suffering from depression, please don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to friends and loved ones. Often, people won’t know there is anything wrong if you don’t tell them. Be honest about money worries. Focus on the positive things about Christmas and try to avoid time alone, ruminating on life and perceived failures. If your depression is more serious, seek the help of a qualified mental health professional. You are never alone, no matter how isolated you may feel. There is always someone who wants to help if you would only give them the chance.

Merry Christmas. 💙

Friday


At last, the weekend is almost upon us, and I am grateful. This week has been an emotional one for me, with work pushing me to the limits of frustration and anger, and my tiredness due to my low vitamin B12 levels. To top it all, my maternal grandmother passed away yesterday after a short illness, which we had expected, but which obviously brought sadness and grief. Although it is a great loss for my family, I am glad that she is in a better place. In her younger years, she was such a strong-willed, vibrant, even feisty woman, and to see her slowly deteriorate over the past few years as old age and dementia took hold was not nice. I know she’s in a better place. I am now ready to celebrate the life and times of such an influential woman and appreciate the years we had with her. She won’t be forgotten. Have a fabulous Friday! 💙