如何避免讓工作習慣變成你的生活習慣 – how I nearly let the work get me down

Over a year ago, after a long break, I landed a job in the same company as my husband. You may remember my ‘與老公一起上班 – working with a spouse‘ post. I was so eager and excited. It was not only opportunity to finally socialize with other people, but image (23)I could also spend more time with the man I love and get some real work experience to my resume.

Today, I feel like a loser and a winner at the same time. I gave up all the ambitions and goals for this job. I feel ashamed to admit this, as I do not like to quit. I once told Sing we will be married until one of us dies because I don’t like quitting. So far, so good.
But I’m also happy work has not become me, it doesn’t define me and that at the end, it did not bring me down.

I will try to make this story short.

Last year when I started my current job as RMA/RTV administrator it was just me and my boss. He wasn’t officially named as ‘the boss’ but he taught me everything. System work, logistics, how to handle human relationships on business level. I love that man and he is someone I can always go to if I’m confused. He is also a die-hard Chelsea fan so of course Sing was happy that he will be looking after me.

I did the best I could, I picked up the way our system works in no time. I was on my own after a month, without my then-boss supervising me. Longer I was in the company, harder I worked. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else that I got this job because I’m really good and not only because I’m a manager’s wife.

I would respond to my e-mails image (25)at 11PM just to provide the correct postal code so our super-important-customer gets his part withing next business day. I also learnt that Fedex is more reliable than UPS when it comes to fast delivery, however UPS is cheaper.
I would spend an hour on a call with a vendor and do the logistics for a node for another super-important-customer.
I didn’t need anyone to tell me what to do, my colleagues would rely on me and feel confident asking me for help. I was proud of myself and so was Sing. We made a great team, I’m not only his wife but also his left hand. Right hand is production team lead, you pervs.

Our department was growing, we got a new guy in and one of the other colleagues got moved to our department as well. I knew that my then-boss will soon get a promotion to a different department. It motivated me even more – I thought it’s my time to shine, I will finally be a team lead. I had the knowledge of this department, I had the experience, I had people’s respect and trust. What else a good team lead needs?

Apparently something else, because it was not me who got promoted.

A guy who got moved from production became my boss. Someone who has not been fully trained, who doesn’t have the same knowledge and experience. Someone who still was makes plenty of mistakes till today. Because of lack of his knowledge, he misleads the other teammate, he slacks of the important tasks, his productivity is very low. Like, very low – for my over 300 orders in 3 months he did only 40.
To be is great at customer service and talking, but he is terrible when it goes to RMA/RTV itself.image (22)
He is not a person that anyone trusts. All the tasks will go to me at the end, because people know how he works. He is not a leader, either, because I openly said I won’t listen to someone who cannot even approve his own orders and I do not have time to babysit him. After a year in the company, 6 months in this department and 3 months as my official team lead it should not happen.

I know it sounds bitter and I was bitter for a long time. I had that anger inside me – ‘Why him and not me?’. And what would make me the most annoyed was the fact my new-boss was making silly mistakes I had to cover up and wasted my time. I would come back home and swear at the-supreme-team-lead. I wasn’t happy and it was killing me inside.

I couldn’t sleep well at night, I didn’t eat much, yet due to stress I couldn’t even lose weight. That would make me annoyed even more because I would blame myself how I suck so badly I cannot even lose weight in a situation a normal person would. I tried telling myself to suck it up, but it didn’t help. 

Sing kept saying ‘If you really don’t like it, tell it to the guy who promoted Supreme Team Lead’. For a long time, I hesitated. I told Sing ‘What will this change? What good it will do?’. And I kept shut until last week. I had enough of Supreme Team Lead’s slacking off, problems he is causing and the workload I’m getting when he does nothing.

I spoke privately to our vice general manager who promoted him about all image (26)the things that were bothering me, including how come STL got promoted but I wasn’t even considered? I swear to you, if I could get away with slapping him, I would do that. I never felt so disrespected as the moment he said ‘I don’t know, I don’t have time for this type of conversation’. 

It was the moment something inside me broke. I knew there’s no return from that point. And it made me happier. It’s like that moment when you realize your relationship won’t work out and you just let it go. Do you know that feeling of relief?

I still feel upset about what happened, but I feel like I cut ties with my work. I won’t check my e-mails that often, I uninstalled the app from my phone. All of the sudden I have much more space on my phone to take pictures of food and Biscuit the cat.
I don’t feel that pressure when I’m asleep. I haven’t had a work-related dream recently, which is a huge change as well. We try to talk less about work and more about future. How much should we save before having a baby, where to go during our trip to Hong Kong and Tokyo, should we keep buying that cheese-bread at Lidl?

Even my workaholic Sing changed a bit. He said he was proud of me before confronting vice-GM, but now he is even more proud. Well, at least one of us has balls in this relationship.
Sing will engage more in cooking or help me around the house. image (24)

Very wise man told us few years ago ‘Don’t let work become you. Why would you want to spend time on work, when you can enjoy precious moments with your family?’. And the moment I let all out all the steam, this sentence start making sense.

Why would I waste precious time I could spend with Sing or our friends for a boss that won’t appreciate me? I know people can count on me. I made my husband proud, I made my parents proud. I made good friends at work that I can talk to about anything.
I won’t quit this job just because I don’t like a person or two, that would be silly. But this harsh experience taught me how to balance my life.

To be honest, I’m so jealous of you who can say ‘I love my job, I’m so happy doing it’. And I wish you all the best. For those who are not so fortunate, I hope one day you will be able to say the same thing.
Let me know how do you feel about your work? How do you handle everyday responsibilities? Share your stories and experience!

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23 thoughts on “如何避免讓工作習慣變成你的生活習慣 – how I nearly let the work get me down

  1. Aha…. Now this is a tough one… For many years, my work became me. I rose to a very high level in the corporate world. Thrice – once when I was working in Shanghai, once when I was working in Singapore and once when I was working in India (my boss was Austrian, and member of the Global Managing Board) – I got screwed by corporate politics.

    Now, I am struggling to get my own business up, It will come… but… I am more relaxed and don’t feel trapped

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  2. I am so sorry to hear what happened at work. Sucks to hear that your team leader isn’t pulling his weight, and sucks even more someone higher up doesn’t appreciate your efforts. You know, sometimes people get caught up in work and lose themselves. But good to know your colleagues trust you and you get along with them. I am sure if you needed help in your job, they will come and help you 🙂

    It has been just over six months at my current job. In this time there have been new people in the team, and these new people have been taught more harder things than me, and even have the same job title. It seems that the bosses picked them out to teach them. I don’t fully know why, but my bosses did explain to me that they are permanent staff and I am not, so that is why. For me it sucks not being able to learn new things, but I still like my job. Not love, just like 🙂

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  3. I, too, have dealt with “men who are great with the customers” and yet I’ve been the one doing the actual work, while they get promotions and pats on the head. It is soul-killing.

    I think your decision was excellent. You were patient, tried to see if the job would improve, and then spoke about the problem to your boss. Nothing changed, and since you can’t change them, you simply set boundaries to avoid increasing resentment. Good job.

    Also, no eighty-year-old ever said, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

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    1. Thank you, Sing was proud of me as well. I’m proud of myself too, I never thought I will have enough courage. At least later today I heard first ever real ‘thank you’ from the big boss.
      And even got a smiley face in the e-mail. Nearly as good as promotion.

      I hope soon you will get your well deserved promotion!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ugh, this is too real. I just got overlooked for a promotion that should have been mine too. It’s possible there is sexism at play in your case (not in mine though). I thought this was going to be about you quitting so I’m glad it turns out you are staying but you are pulling back a bit. That’s really good.

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  5. this is a reflection of what’s wrong all over. People who make it to the top by focusing on themselves and not caring about the people they serve below them in the hierarchy.

    I won’t repeat my experiences which, fortunately, were few and far between, but they were always related to gender.

    Anyway, If this is a poll, I have loved, and still love, my career, and I do realize how very fortunate I’ve been.

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  6. This is just work, and life, in a nutshell. I have seen so many undeserving and incompetent people being promoted over others who are more worthy, because they are friends with the boss, or just because they look like somoene the boss likes. Yes, sexism might have played a role, just like old white men tend to promote young white men over others.

    It’s important to remember at this point that it is not about your ability. You’ve taken a step back, and realised it yourself. You know everything, you can do everything better than your lead. Many many people will just put up and shut up for years, decades their entire life – just because they don’t want to lose that job. But really, when they look back, they will find they are the losers in life. Because they let people more stupid, more unable than them to get better income and status than them.

    Maybe you could have pressured the conversation with the guy who promoted him more, illustrate calmly just how much work you do, and how much better you are than the lead. If anything, it’s much better than bottling up.

    And if all else fails, you have taken the correct route. Just do the bare minimum. Do not let that job become your life. In the mean time, look for work elsewhere (unless you want to stay there for Sing). What you will find is, when one door closes, many more open up. Ones that will treat you better.

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    1. I try to stick with the company as it saves us money I would spend to get to work and I know if it’s not me, he will be left with Supreme Team Lead and have even more work pressure. In HQ, there’s one guy doing one job. Sing is now overlooking 3 departments plus maintenance of the facility, I wouldn’t do that to him. At least not now.

      It looks like working with a spouse is not a good idea after all haha.

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  7. Oh Lina, I know how you feel/ felt. You might remember that I was long time ill and quit my job earlier this year. The thing is I was also happy to quit my job because I knew it was senseless to continue there as my contract was just temporary and barely any hope of achieving anything. I mean the stuff I was proficient in and studied/ worked in before I was not able to do as someone else got that job who had no idea at all what it even is…plus getting with that job four pay grades higher than me. Basically I had the highest qualification from my whole team but had the lowest position and also lowest wages, just ridiculous.
    Now every time I pass by my old work places i turn in my mind towards the building and say “good luck losers” 😀

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  8. Apart from speaking to the manager, I think the best thing you did was deleting the app from your phone. It is not healthy to send work emails at 11 pm. This kind of thing happened in my old job (not to myself, as I was just a lowly assistant), but to my engineer colleague and to the financial manager, who was even younger than me. The boss in Spain would randomly phone them during night time in China, and on the weekends. I hated that. I couldn’t understand how they allowed the boss to do that to them. And it was not because one day there was a real emergency, no, it was a regular occurrence. Coincidentally both of them ended up leaving the company…
    Having a clear separation between work and private life is extremely important! If you allow it to, work will invade everything!

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  9. It is normal, I think most working class professionals go through the same stage that you did. When we are new, of course we would work triple hard to impress. Sadly, the good bits always goes to those who can talk much better than walking the talk.
    You took the right step to cut emotional ties at work. Remember, the company will cut you off without hesitation if they have to, so there’s no reason for you to be too attached to it.
    Also, not covering up for STL is the way to go. If you cover up for him, what the big bosses see will be “He’s a good leader because he gets things done, the results is more important than the process”. I’m not telling you to sabotage him, but more like, let things take its natural course. If things blow up because of his mistakes, then once in awhile it is good to not go out of your way to cover and prevent it from happening. If you have to spend 200% effort to save something, after some time, in the eyes of the bosses, that is the new normal 100% of you. Worse in this case, not you but STL. You’ll kill yourself in the long run.

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  10. In your case, it is very difficult to establish whether being passed off for a promotion was directly linked to sexism. Usually, an unspoken discontentment tend to form among colleagues and bosses when a husband and wife work within the same company. You may think they are unbiased but prejudice already formed the moment you step into the company regardless whether you’re an efficient worker or not. I have a very talented colleague but her bosses gave her a tough time just because her husband work in the same company although in another department. She will probably be better off and get the promotion she deserves if she can proof herself in a different company. She is a nice person but everyone around her is wary as her husband is in managerial position. Who in their right mind would want to offend her except for her bosses because only they can get away with it.

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  11. I took an almost two persons job as one of my colleague resigned but humbly because I manage my work well, make use of Macros and am quick, I manage to go home on time almost everyday (those whom I replaced need to stay back most of the time). Instead of hearing things like I am efficient; there were one or two hinting me that I am not staying back at work. Well; I guess I can’t please everyone 🙂

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  12. I do like my work, but it’s just a job. Some days and some tasks remind me why it’s called “work,” but for the most part, I enjoy what I do. I would hate to spend my days being miserable. If I didn’t like my job, I’d definitely look for a new one.

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