RELATIONSHIPS: Working with a Toxic boss.
My alarm rang for the third time that morning and I immediately turn it off, as usual. I was as awake as sunshine at the beginning of the day, well-rested from the previous night and fit to start off the day's activity but my body was reluctant to stand from the bed. I tossed and turned like a heavily pregnant woman struggling to find the right position that wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. Then I felt my hubby's hands and he stretched towards my side of the bed without opening his eyes.
'Babe, are you awake?'
"Yeah,' I replied almost immediately.
'Are you okay?'
He knew that it was very unlike me to stay in bed till after 5 am on a workday when it wasn't a public holiday. On days like this, my first alarm at 4.30 am was enough to get me up and going for the day, after all, my system had become accustomed to it. Wake up, say a prayer, head to the kitchen, prepare breakfast and lunch, check up on hubby as he helps to get the kids ready for school, take a bath and we'll all drive out to work and school by at least 6 am. It was as simple as ABC, right? Well, today was kinda different.
When my hubby didn’t get a response from me, he probed further.
'Are you praying?'
At that moment I wasn’t but I just didn’t know what to tell him.
As I clasped my pillow over my head that morning to talk to my creator, all I could mutter was 'Dear Lord, help me! Make a way for me out of this situation.'
I was completely reluctant to go to work that day. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see a reason to especially since I knew what, or should I say, who was waiting for me at work. My boss.
That woman didn’t like me and I didn’t need my ancestors to reveal it to me. From my observation, anytime I dressed and looked good at work, it pissed her off. She would always look for a reason to make me feel subdued and inefficient.
The day I packed my natural hair in a bun at work, I got compliments from my colleagues about how luscious and lovely my hair was and I felt so good about myself. From nowhere she walked up to me and said,
'Madam, when do you plan on making this hair?'
'Ma?' I said astonished by her question.
'You didn’t hear me? When are you going to make your hair? You cannot be packing it like this. You know it is natural hair and it looks unkempt!' she barked rudely.
Sincerely, I couldn’t believe that question was for me because I am very particular about how I wear my hair and if it truly was unkempt, I wouldn’t have gotten all those compliments from my colleagues.
'Ma, I don’t know. Whenever I can I will make it.'
'You better do something about it. This is a school and you must always look smart!' she vomited and walked out.
I quickly walked to the nearest window to have a better look at my hair in the glass and it still looked lovely so I couldn’t understand why she insisted I make it.
Another day, something happened at work and because we were not informed about it we didn’t take the right action so I went to my boss to explain the situation and to date, I will never understand her reaction.
'WAKA! Mrs. Udeh, you are mad!' she screamed raising her hands and showing me her five fingers while pointing them towards me.
'Excuse me, ma…' she didn’t let me finish.
'You are very stupid for not doing what was expected of you!'
'Ma, I …' she cut me again.
'There is no excuse for this! You better fix it!'
Only thinking about all of this while taking a bath that morning seemed to have opened the floodgate of tears as it flowed freely. I just didn’t want to return to the same workplace and meet this woman. I wasn’t the only one she spoke so harshly to anyway. I had heard her tell another colleague, 'God punish you!'
It was crazy to have such a person who was supposed to be a mother and an example to everyone use such foul language. Out of 24 hours, I spend about 10 hours of my day at work. I made up my mind to do everything expected of me and avoid her with every breath in me. Although I knew that as long as I was in the same workplace with her, our paths must always meet, so I vowed to steer clear of her venom at all cost.
On several occasions, she had called me to her office to ask me specific questions about some of my colleagues. She was fond of probing to get nasty information about people and she was always displeased whenever a staff didn't have a dirty detail to give her about another staff. I think mine was worse because she would say that I wasn’t observant enough and that I was too ignorant for her liking. I have never been one to kiss and tell so you can't get anything from me for office gossip.
Not long after that incident, there was another fall out at work and this time she called the entire staff to ridicule me over something I had done wrong. That was one of her specialties. She always made it a habit to disgrace any staff that erred in the presence of everyone and I think it just gave her unexplainable joy to belittle her subordinates because according to her, that was the best way to keep staff in check and discipline them for wrong actions.
Well, this particular day, she threatened to sack me and to be honest, I was at the point where I didn’t care anymore. Being unemployed seemed like a better option at that moment. So while she was ranting I tried to defend myself because I knew she was lying about and that infuriated her. While she was raising her voice and being so dramatic my colleagues started begging her to please forgive me, they even went as far as going on their knees. Their action even pissed me off because I knew that was what she wanted, to be begged and worshipped like she was a god!
I stood my ground because I knew I wasn’t at fault and the next thing she said was;
'Can you all see the person you are begging for? She is not even sorry. She is just standing there and talking so rudely without any form of remorse for what she did!'
My colleagues turned to me and tried convincing me to kneel with them, after a while, I unwillingly obliged. We ended up kneeling for almost an hour while she ranted and by the time we left for home, my mind was made up that such a toxic environment was not for me. I had never knelt to beg my parents irrespective of how many times I had offended them, never in my adult life had I done that. Now, this is not pride but I just couldn’t take the abuse anymore. I was sure I had taken enough to last me a lifetime.
When I told my hubby I was going to quit the job, he said he had been waiting for me to say that for a very long time because the abuse was now too much. That was all the support I needed. I turned in my resignation shortly after and she rejected it several times insisting that I wait for the management to get a replacement before I leave. I knew I was done so I went home and sent my resignation letter by mail. The last day I went to work she called me to her office saying that she would like to talk with me the following day as to how we could work things out but I told her bluntly that there was no need.
That was how I joined the unemployment market once again. I didn’t have a job or any other source of income but I had peace of mind and that was the most important thing for me. The fear of what would happen if I was out of my job evaporated. It was during the unemployed state that I developed my passion for writing and started blogging. I also started my zobo business in the same period.
So the popular quote, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, actually manifested in my life.
|I'm sure my dreads would have made her go crazy!|
Toxicity, especially in relationships, is a very terrible thing and most times the victim keeps thinking that their lives will be worse if they use the door. Unfortunately, the victims are slowly dying unknown to them and as long as they remain in that relationship, they are empowering the toxic person. Imagine giving someone a sharp object to continuously hurt and inflict harm on you. The sooner you leave such a toxic environment, the better for you and that's the best way to win such situations.
Ever been in a toxic relationship with a friend, colleague, boss, or even family member? How did you handle it? Please I would love to know your thoughts in the comment section.
Don't forget, Tory Teller loves you and is rooting for you!
© Onyinye Udeh