Bingo! I was up half the night thinking about my last post (Emotional Triggers) and then all of a sudden, it dawned on me the ‘real reason’ why returning to my former job (when it reopens at some point in the future) is no longer viable. Trust and/or trust issues. My daughter and I touched on the topic briefly the other day and I started to think about how important it is to me, or rather, how important it is that others trust me. Trust is tremendous. Without it, where does it leave us? Paranoid, unsettled and anxious. If you hire me to do a job, I NEED you to trust me. It’s critical. If I don’t feel as if you do, I’m not sticking around, plain and simple. And, yes, after processing things that ‘triggered’ me yesterday, I realized that I should have included that as well, because it’s a biggie. And it probably is mixed up or associated with ‘being accused of things I didn’t do’ because that has a great deal to do with trust. And when it really stings? When I’m accused of ‘stealing’.
Guess what I’m going to talk about with my therapist at my next session? Yep, I knew you would! Whether it’s being accused of stealing ‘time’ or stealing ‘money’, I don’t respond well. It definitely strikes a very real and raw nerve. When I first started at my last job, everything was very easygoing. People were exceedingly trustworthy and you rarely heard an accusation (other than about the older Polish lady that liked to pilfer stuff from the kitchen). However, ever-so-slowly things began to change. It started with a security system. Ok, I get it. You want to make sure everything is on the ‘up and up’. The issue I had with it was that at the station where I sat, at the reception desk, they put in a camera with a special lens that saw EVERYTHING. I no longer had any privacy whatsoever. If I wanted to, which I didn’t and I don’t because it’s gross, I couldn’t even pick my nose without it being recorded. Everything I did and every move I made was now under scrutiny. If everyone was subjected to this I would have understood. But I was the only person sitting behind a desk with a fisheye lens positioned directly over my workspace.
How did it make me feel? I was so upset that I could hardly see straight! Where was the trust? Did they think I was embezzling cash or playing Texas Hold’em on the computer when I was on the clock? I have never taken anything from any of my employers, not even as much as a nickel. I couldn’t live with myself if I did. And then out of the blue, I’m being constantly ‘surveilled’? No, not ok! I almost quit then and there, but before I took it to the extreme, I went and talked to my boss. “How would you feel?” I asked him, “If someone put a camera directly behind your desk?” As I said, none of the other office staff had been subjected to this, only me. I was livid! I then went on to ask him the purpose of the camera and why was it necessary to observe every move I made and that I found it incredibly invasive. When he clarified that the intent of placing the camera there was to record people entering and exiting the building, I then questioned why it included my entire work area as well. I wanted to quit and I told him point blank that I didn’t want to work in an environment where I was continually being monitored and scrutinized.
Fortunately, he didn’t want to lose me and the solution was relatively easy. It was just a matter of changing the lens on the camera. Once I viewed the monitor and saw proof that the lens had actually been changed, I relaxed (a little). When I had confirmation that should I have an itch that I need to scratch that I don’t necessarily want the whole world to witness someday, I was able to breathe again. And just when I started to get comfortable, something else unexpected happened. I went to enter the kitchen to greet my fellow coworkers, to be met by the following sign, “KITCHEN STAFF ONLY”. It was written in BOLD type in LARGE red font and taped to the outer kitchen door. “What the heck is this all about?” I thought to myself. First the security cameras, now this? I went and asked my boss about it and his ‘story’ didn’t exactly add up, but I had to accept it even though I didn’t agree with it. The next major change? I was no longer allowed to count the cash from the monthly raffle. “This is starting to feel a little personal,” I remember thinking to myself.
And it didn’t just involve ‘counting’ the cash, it also involved ‘removing’ or ‘revoking’ the responsibility I previously had of putting the transaction on my daily log sheet and entering it into the database. Again, I was left scratching my head. Now, I should mention that a new bookkeeper entered the picture when most of these changes started taking place. But the bookkeeper was not ‘new’ to the staff. She actually had my position before she quit and when she changed her mind 2-3 months later and asked for it back, I had already been hired and my boss told her ‘no’. We ‘mix’ like oil and water. Hmm, makes me wonder. Anyway, up to this point, a camera had been installed over my workspace, my access was removed from the kitchen, and I was no longer permitted to count or handle the raffle money in any way, shape or form. I started feeling as if I was under suspicion for some type of thievery, which really rubbed me wrong.
It just keeps getting better! The next thing of ‘note’ happened on an ordinary work day. I got up from my desk to enter the office because I needed to use the paper cutter, and to my surprise, the door was locked. What???!!! The door had never been locked before. For three years, it was a welcoming space. You could come and go as you pleased. And I needed access to it quite frequently because it also housed our time cards and all of the office paper and supplies as well as the postage machine, the laminator and the paper cutter. What else did it have? The safe. I can see having concerns about the safe if the office door was unlocked as well as the safe, but the safe was locked up tight as a tick. And that was actually yet another one of the changes. The safe was closed and locked unless the bookkeeper was physically in the room and if she left, she locked the safe and the office door. The problem that I have with that scenario is that once again, accessibility was removed from me.
Prior to that, I accessed the safe whenever necessary. We kept the ‘flower’ money in there so if someone bought one of the silk flower arrangements, I was told the money was to be placed directly into the safe and not stored in the cash drawer. Ok, not a problem. However, it’s a little hard to put it into the safe when it is now continually locked. And the way I was ‘notified’ that I was no longer allowed access was so abrupt and unprofessional that I could hardly believe it when it happened. I had been working the reception desk and then a gal working in the thrift store appeared and told me she needed change right away. The change was kept in the safe. I got up immediately to assist and when I tried to open the office door, it was locked. Oh, great! The bookkeeper was nowhere to be found so I asked my boss if he could unlock the office so I could fulfill the request and the other staff member could return to her post. Immediately after my boss unlocked the door, the bookkeeper appeared and demanded to know what I was doing.
“The thrift store needs some change, I was just getting it for ‘B’.” I responded. “I’ll take care of it!” she said haughtily as she walked towards the safe in the back of the room. Since I wasn’t needed any longer, I returned to my desk. A couple of minutes later, I saw the lady that initially made the request (‘B’) emerge from the office, round the corner, and head down the hallway towards the thrift store. And then I heard loud shouting coming from the office, “Nobody needs to be back here! The only people that need to access the safe are ME and ‘D’!!” Ok, there had never been an issue before. Why was the safe suddenly off-limits? And what was the shouting all about?! Grrr, that made my hackles rise! Only two people were going to be permitted access and I wasn’t among them? “Am I missing something?” I wondered to myself after I said a few swear words under my breath. I felt like I was being treated like a common criminal. All of these ‘permissions’ were slowly being revoked and there was no explanation. They just happened randomly without any warning or notification.
The final straw? I was working at my desk, minding my own business, when the bookkeeper sidled up and said, “Can I ask you a question?” “Sure!” I said enthusiastically. “Do you ever use the company credit card to make personal purchases?” she asked without even batting an eyelash. I have to tell you, I almost lost it! It was such an insulting thing to say to me that I immediately reacted. My face turned beet red as I loudly sputtered, “NO!!!” “Ok, just checking,” she responded, after which she turned around and headed back to her office. I have to tell you, it was all becoming a ‘bit too much’. To be accused of using the company card to make personal purchases was way out of bounds. I finally decided it was time to speak to my boss. But it was a Friday and he was out of the office, so I had to wait until Monday. Come Monday, I went directly into his office and said, “Do you have several minutes? We need to talk!” “How long do you need?” he asked, looking a bit concerned and puzzled. “At least a half an hour!” I said, knowing that a full summary of grievances was going to take 30 minutes minimum.
After he gave me the go ahead, I launched into all of the things that were frustrating me, especially the matters concerning the office, the safe and the recent accusation. He listened while I shared my concerns and then he assured me that he would talk to the bookkeeper right away. But then guess what happened? Covid-19. Yep, believe it or not, the following week they closed to the public and all part-time staff were laid off (me included). It’s actually been good for me because it’s given me much-needed time to process a lot of the things that happened and helped me to recognize it’s somewhere I don’t want to return to. There were already enough ‘reasons’ I had summed up previously as to why it was best for me to move on, but the ‘trust issue’ put the final nail in the coffin. I have no desire to work somewhere where my integrity is constantly being questioned. Once the ‘joy’ goes, then I tend to cut ties. The whole thing makes me a bit sad because I had intended to work there through retirement but it’s not meant to be. Oh, well. Adios, amigos! Where I end up? God only knows.
Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.