On the Wrong Tracks

Have you ever walked into a job and thought, “Oh, god, I’ve made a mistake. I shouldn’t be here.”? I have, and the first time this happened – but sadly not the last time – was when I walked into the offices of a construction firm.

Working in construction wasn’t necessarily a natural fit for me. But I was working as their Buyer, which fitted in nicely with what I had done at the local college. I was still reeling from the abrupt ending of my time at Pfizer, and was looking for something familiar, comforting, and easy to do. Working in purchasing seemed like a logical choice; I knew the essential principles, and could learn the job-specific knowledge as I went.

All well and good, if the culture of the team hadn’t been so toxic. Having worked in teams that were joyous, fun, and accepting, it was a shock when I saw teams that weren’t any of those things. At this company, it was entirely devoid of any pleasure for me as a job, and I quickly started to wake up and dread going into work.

The managing director and finance director were married, but going through a divorce – which splt them apart professionally, and those two roles need to be working very closely together. I reported to the finance director, who was decent enough. The MD, I suspect, kept me a distance because of the relationship I forged with the finance director.

I seemed to be almost instantly disliked by his office team; I was never made to feel welcome in the slightest by them, and I was glad of it. If I had fitted in, then that would have meant I had compromised some of my core ideals; I’m glad my face didn’t fit, but that meant they took it upon themselves to watch my every move and report back to our superiors. I’m not quite sure why they had the urge to do that when they had jobs of their own to do, but there it is.

I was thankful that the actual builders, joiners, and so on seemed decent enough. There was a separate joinery company working alongside us, and the manager was a wonderful excuse for a human being; our orbits occasionally connect even now, and I am grateful for it. If everyone in the business had been like him, it would have been a better place by far.

I couldn’t stay there. I just knew it, from day one. I had made a mistake of the highest order, and began looking for a way out. I couldn’t resign until I’d got a job to go to – I wasn’t willing to go through that anxiety and stress again – and so got to it.

But still, it took me eleven weeks to find a new job, just shy of three months where I woke up every weekday with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to go back to that place again.

And then, one day, I didn’t. I was offered a new job, and I could escape the place that caused me a lot of unhappinness. I left without a backward glance, and I’m sure I wasn’t missed in the slightest. The business folded later, and I was pleased to see what the decent people had done with their careers. I didn’t look up the others, and I’ve never looked back at this three-month period of my life with any glee. Onwards and upwards?

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