Time to Think

clockA week and a half ago I wrote about how my personal life is causing issues in my professional life. My boyfriend and I, who have been together for almost two years, happen to work for the same company. We don’t work in the same department. Our relationship is not against any company rules. Despite that, my boss decided to inform me that she has a huge problem with my relationship.

The way the situation was handled was completely inappropriate. I was caught off guard, and felt humiliated and hurt. I decided to take a couple of days off work to think over my options. I’d love to say that I came up with a plan, some clarity on what my next move should be. Unfortunately, I let my emotions get the best of me. I returned to work the next Monday feeling pretty raw. It was not a good place to be.

I came back to work feeling angry about what had happened, and panicked about what it meant for my job. My boss had a huge problem with me. Was this going to cost me my job? I’ve never been fired from a job before! I suddenly felt pressure to find a new job. Any job! I needed to get out of there!

For once in my life, my anger and indignation ended up being a good thing. And the first few days back to work, I was angry. Who I date is not the company’s business! I’ve never told anyone at work who I’m dating; as far as I know, most of the office isn’t even aware who I’m seeing. I do my job well. I haven’t broken any rules. Why was I concerned about losing my job? Why was I feeling desperate to find a new job?

Desperation isn’t the best place to be when you’re looking for a new job. I want to make sure that I’m making decisions that will benefit me. Not rash decisions based on feelings of desperation. I had to step back, and take a look at the situation rationally. Does my boss have a problem with me? Yes. Am I breaking any company rules? No. Is it likely I’ll be fired over this? No. In the unlikely chance that I do get fired, what would I do? Hmmm… What would I do? Obviously, I’d find another job. That part is a given. But I also need to consider how I’m going to protect myself, so I don’t have to find a job in desperation. How? I’d demand a severance package. A large severance package.

That decision feels somehow dirty. Uncomfortable. Demanding money for being fired? It feels wrong. But companies pay severances all the time. In the past my company has always paid a severance to exempt team members when they are let go, even if the employee is at fault. Sometimes in life you have to be willing to be uncomfortable in order to protect yourself. Having extra money in the bank would relieve the desperation of having to find a new job.

The reality is, I’m not getting fired. Things have already gone back to the way they were, as though nothing ever happened. But it did happen. And my boss made it very clear that she doesn’t see me as Cindy in Accounting; I’m seen as X’s girlfriend. And everything I say and do is seen under that lens. I’m entirely too independent of a woman for my career to be seen as something other than my own doing.

What does all this mean? It’s time to move on. But not with a sense of panic and desperation. I need to make a calm, thoughtful decision. I need to make a choice that is right for me, and where I want to go. It’s time to get serious about finding a new job. But I don’t need to jump at the first thing to come along.

– Cindy W.

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