Friday, 13 May 2011

The Incredible Shrinking Psycho

The year is 2007. I have been suffering from work related stress for over a year without diagnosis. My body is subject to random pains, my weight has dropped, and I'm shrouded by an almost continual bleakness that subsides only briefly at the weekend. My boss is a political animal with a personal agenda and she has decided on a course of action with a probable success rate of somewhere between one and two percent. I know this because it was I that provided the statistics. There's a saying that people often get promoted to the edge of incompetence, and she was living proof. And her decisions were having an adverse effect on my body, my mind, and my marriage. Day after day, week after week, month after month it goes on. The primary feeling I had was one of entrapment; I was a husband and a father to two young children. I couldn't just walk away. Did I also mention the fact that my Dad was losing his battle with Lung cancer? Or that my faith was on a fast track down the toilet? Or that Joy and I were going through probably our roughest patch? 2007 was pretty much the perfect storm, but as is often the case it is under the storm clouds when we are truly defined; when we learn about ourselves. As things transpired my life was turned around on the back of two simple statements from two different people. Joy was of course increasingly concerned at the gradual erosion of the man she had married, and one day said words to the effect of "I'd rather live on value baked beans than see you like this" 
This simple statement was the key that freed me from the self imposed prison of responsibility I'd caged myself in. The 2nd statement came via one of the Field Sales Engineers, a kindly man, an honest northerner in the finest sense. I was explaining to him, as I had explained to everyone in Management why the  "Vision" had no chance of achieving it's goals. And he simply observed that, "If you feel that strongly you need to do something sooner rather than later"
Now any normal person would reflect on this. I'm not normal. I got up from the desk, walked casually over to the Office Managers room, stood in the doorway and said, "I can't do this anymore". And that was my resignation. No fanfare, no histrionics. 2007, whilst awful in so many ways was to define me in life enhancing ways. I changed. I lost 90% of my fear. I came to value truth above falsehood, honesty above deception, and fact above faith. I bare no Ill towards those who made my life such a misery; well OK perhaps I've rejected a couple of Facebook friend requests, but by and large I now see that year as pivotal and essential. More important still, never again will I remain in a situation where the incompetence of others effects the quality of my life or the life of my family. Your incompetence is your problem; it's not fertilizer so please don't spread it around. 

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