Long read ahead.
About 2.5 years ago, I got what I thought was my dream job, gave up my life and moved to another state. I quickly realized it was fraught with more issues than promises of a bright future and less than a year in I was asking questions like, “why did you bring me here if you weren’t interested in effecting positive change?” I had to battle to get a budget at all for a department that can’t function without a budget (explains a lot about the issues). I got promised a promotion and a pay raise; I got part of the pay raise with the understanding the rest would come with my promotion. That was in August 2019; I have yet to see my promotion finalized.
From January 2019 - December 2020 (two years) I also covered the bulk of another job in the company on top of my regular job due to some similarities. Both positions wrote press releases and interacted with the media. My position was focused at a specific location while the other job was more broad and covered all other locations. I do not report to the supervisor for the other job, and that’s really important.
Starting in August last year, the supervisor of the other role started paying a lot of attention to me and my job. Things for which I was previously celebrated became points of contention. She has criticized my work and actions multiple times in writing while copying peers on these emails. She tried to become my boss to no avail because my local Director stood up to her. The Executive Director of our organization, rather than talking to anyone and definitely not to me, just did what she wanted and ripped 30% of my position away. This makes it really difficult to do the rest of my job, and I’ve also been left with the parts that are stressful and joyless without having any of the parts I actually enjoy. He said “only xxx is going to write press releases and you’re no longer allowed to speak to the media.” So now, no one is writing press releases or pitching the media for my location because this other person is determining our communication priorities. No one is hearing me about how detrimental this is the other work that has to be done; national press is a critical component of government affairs work for our organization.
I’m also in between a rock and a hard place because my job requires me to sit on several government committees and I am the spokesperson for our local site. I cannot avoid the media. Last week, we burned a bridge with TV news because it took us 75 minutes to get permission for me to provide an interview; they needed help sooner. I wasn’t allowed to put information about a local program on the web site for the organization because I have a different brandmark locally than we have nationally and they refuse to advertise or support my programs unless I switch to the national brandmark, which won’t fly locally. But I’m not allowed to build a separate web site.
Let me be clear: I am a five star employee who always receives Superior marks in my annual reviews. My bosses brag about me to everyone. So all of this has been even more demoralizing.
I have been offered a more focused position at a similar organization which has my job written into its mission. That does not happen very often.
I was offered less money than I make now, but was able to negotiate to a bit of a raise, although not as much as the position should really be paid. The position will also come with staff; I have not had that support for the past 2.5 years. The new organization seems genuinely happy to bring me on board.
I talked to a Senior Manager in my current org yesterday and he raised alarm bells throughout our division. Our division director called to try to convince me to stay, of course. He tried telling me that my bully won’t be there much longer because the Executive Director is leaving and my bully will likely be replaced. In the meantime it’s been 7 months already and I feel more and more boxed in every month. It’ll likely be 6-8 months before we have a new Executive Director. It’ll be another 6 months before the bully is fired, if at all. But he also said something that upset me: there will be difficult people wherever you go. While true, this person is bullying me and actively impeding my job...and no one is standing up to her. I’ve been told to stand down and bide time; it’s impossible to do so because my job puts me in her crosshairs every week.
I brought up other issues, like my elusive promotion. And he of course promised to fix it...it’s been 1.5 years... He also told me they were already working on trying to get me a different job classification to make it so my bully has less leverage. That would, of course, formally remove the thing I used to love most about my job because my new classification couldn’t include it.
So I’m faced with another year of waiting for potential change, or I go to the new job.
The new job also requires a move across the country. They will give me a year to make the move but my local real estate agent has suggested I should sell my house now due to the rural area being quite popular right now. The new job will pay for the relocation costs but once they pack my house, there’s really no changing my mind because my life will move across the country.
I feel a lot of anxiety about the new job. I also feel tremendous anxiety about my current job. If the new role sucks then I have moved again, and this time in a pandemic. If I stay, I am committing to more of the same for maybe a little while or maybe a long while.
I’d like to be transparent that over the past 1.5 years, my mom died unexpectedly (and very young) and that tore my family apart, and I had a brief interaction with cancer. I’ve also realized in this time that I don’t really like the rural town I live in (and have been planning a change on that front anyway). These three things and the pandemic have impacted my worldview and what my thoughts are.
My anxiety may simply be my fear of making yet another mistake. And just going to another sucky job. I’ve been so anxious I haven’t had time to feel truly excited.
The ideal situation would be that my work just let me do my job. I know that isn’t likely to ever happen. And maybe that’s part of what is making this so hard. I want to believe it could change. I want to believe they want to help me and not just keep me from leaving. I love my colleagues and my job is to help them and I just feel like I can’t even do that anymore. Do I stay and see if things change or do I go to somewhere that will support me in this now?
If you’ve read this far, thanks.