toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 16, 2006

alien territory

Vanessa is 38, married with two children, and her working life was great until the small accountancy company she had worked for since graduating was taken over by a big corporation.

"I was thrilled to pieces when I heard about the take-over," admits Vanessa. "It meant more prestige, more benefits, more money and more opportunities for advancement."

"My joy turned to dismay when the move took place and I was not assigned an office of my own as befitting my seniority," says Vanessa, "and if that wasn't bad enough I was separated from my former colleagues and seated by myself in a section of the new workplace that had no bearing at all on what I was doing."

"I felt like I was in alien territory," explains Vanessa. "The people in the section I was seated with were pleasant enough, saying good-morning and good-night, but they didn’t include me in their normal work chit-chat and I suppose they resented my presence among them."

"Also," adds Vanessa, "because I wasn’t working alongside people who were doing the same work as myself, I missed out on their normal team activities, too."

"A whole day could pass by without anyone speaking to me," says Vanessa, "and if I didn't make a point to visit the stationery room and chat to the young girl there I'd go mad.”

"I'm sure she's as embarrassed as I am about the chats we have - her being a clerk and me being an accountant - but that's about the only social life I get around here."

"Whenever I need administrative assistance or feedback," says Vanessa, "I have to walk up a floor and right to the back of the building in order to talk to my old boss and the admin team. Already they are treating me like a stranger!"

"This is turning out to be a toxic situation for me to be in," says Vanessa. "I am losing interest in my work and I feel very strange being with people, and yet not being with them."

Read more about Vanessa's situation:

  • A lonely only child
  • Deliberate alienation

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