Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer give me hope that our country is moving in the right direction. As a personal victim of work place harassment, I can tell you that it not only impacts the individual on an emotional and mental level, it also has a ripple effect on their career. We’re taught not to speak up about things because if we do it’s somehow a poor reflection on us. It doesn’t matter if your company stands by you and fires the ahole… the victim is left with the aftermath. You’re forced to be silent and not talk about the situation (especially if it’s one that was handled discretely).
In my experience, my company at the time did everything possible to make up for the horrible months I endured while working under this individual. That said, when they fired him, they didn’t let employees know why. He was incredibly senior and I was in a position where I worked with essentially everyone in my department as well as everyone within the C-Suite.
People didn’t know why he was let go and constantly went to me for clarity. I had to act like I didn’t know and act like I was ok. I wasn’t and because of this I threw myself into a new another opportunity. I was desperate to start over and put this situation behind me and unfortunately my desperation led me to an even more devastating role where I was bullied and mistreated to the point of spending day after day crying in the bathroom stall.
One poor position after another spun me into a downward spiral of what should have been my career progression.
I’ve been wanting to blog about this, but I’ve been so afraid of the red tape that would potentially be associated with my name. So, years later I’m still paying for this jerk’s abuse of power. Paying by having to make up reasons for my sporadic resume and seemingly impulsive career moves.
My hope that eventually more people will speak out and our society will reach a place where when we talk through our resumes, where we can be honest and finally stop hiding and feeling punished for what happened to us.
Until then, I don’t define myself as a victim anymore. What happened was tragic and horrible and very devastating; however, I believe that life is messy and we can turn tragedy into beauty. I needed time to wallow and heal and build myself back up again, but now years later, I am stronger than ever and far less intimidated.
I encourage all of you to stand up for yourself and never let anyone scare you. I never reported the abuse I was enduring, but I had guardian angels looking out for me and because of them the universe got rid of him. I wish I could go back to that place with the knowledge that being nice doesn’t mean you tolerate inappropriate behavior. I wish I would have known that I was more important than anything he could have ever done to me. I wish I would have known I was worth more.
At least I know now. I’ve been through so much and maybe it was all necessary to learn that I am worth so much more than that and to find the voice I lost around fifteen. I hope that you’ll find your voice if you’ve lost it and know that you’re not alone.
I think we all have a choice when life hands us sour lemons, we can pucker up and cry about it, or we can keep going until we find a sweet one.
Sometimes life spins you out of control, but it is up to us to find ground again. In my next post, I’m going to share what I’m currently working on which is learning how to find balance without risking becoming a master of none. I believe that you can have it all, but not all at once. You have to make small consistent strides in your most valued environments in order to design a life you not only thrive in, but also enjoy.