I hardly slept the night after my colleague’s outburst. I awoke at around 3:00 a.m., and the flurry of angry, hurtful, and frustrated thoughts returned in the heavy rush that can only be ascribed to the silence and solitude of that hour of the night. I felt a heavy sense of dread about going into work that morning, and had I not needed to bank every single hour of vacation time I could spare for maternity leave, I’d have called in sick.
I spent the morning in the office alone, my colleagues not usually arriving until about an hour or so after I do. I wrote, trying to get my busy brain contained. Before I’d left that night, my supervisor gave me a “just so you know” talk, where he basically implied that my behavior was the issue, not hers. It was clear that I’d get no backing from him, and that a report to Human Resources about the outburst would have no support for me.
As my colleagues arrived, everyone but the new hire (who must have felt like she stumbled into a crazy house after overhearing the outburst), rallied around the bully as though she were the victim of some horrible wronging. It was insulting to say the least, but nothing I didn’t expect from them. The bully said nothing to me, as she hasn’t in the months prior.
The new hire, who I’d been training for the last month, asked if I wanted to go out at lunch time. She was clearly feeling sorry for me, and perhaps wanted a bit of understanding of what was going on. I went along, mostly to have the time away, and told her exactly what had happened. She had been aware of some of the issues, discovering them on her own. She asked perfectly rational questions, to which I had no rational answer.
“Will this issue be addressed?” She asked.
“No,” I sighed, “Probably not.” She looked at me blankly, and I felt the need to explain.
“We’re like a dysfunctional family. This person is like the elephant in the room, having drug practically everyone into Human Resources for racial complaints. No one crosses her, and I made that mistake.”
I could have asked her exactly what the bully had said, as she would have been able to hear better. Her desk was directly across from her office. But I didn’t. Frankly, I’m not sure I’d really want to know. It would probably only upset me further, and since I had given up any hope of reporting this to Human Resources, I had no need for further evidence. Plus, I didn’t want to come off as gossipy or catty, so I bit my tongue and let this perfectly nice person make up her own mind about the people she’ll have to work with.
I did slip and say that I’m considering leaving, that after I return from my maternity leave, I’ll be looking for another job. It’s probably not prudent to say, but it’s true. I have had enough. In the coming weeks, my water will break, my baby will be born and I’ll have my time off to focus on what’s important. I’ll use that time to also consider what options I have for the future, limited as they might be. I have no idea what else is out there, but I can’t help but feel my time here has run its course.