I started working in March and thought it was going well. In fact I was beginning to feel quite proud of myself. I made it through my shirts with little to no issues, wasn’t calling in sick, was adjusting to the new routine. It was a massive improvement from my last few jobs, and I was starting to feel like maybe I was finally ready to look for permanent employment in my field.
But then I was asked into the managers office on Friday to “discuss my breakdowns”. Now, I have Panic Disorder, I’ve made no secret of this. But in saying that, I’ve only had 2 panic attacks at work since starting nearly 3 months ago. TWO. Both of which were short lived, and did not effect my job performance or duties. As they were happening I simply took a moment out, got a hold of myself, and went back. It was no big deal. Or so I thought…
It turns out my coworkers have been going to my manager with all sorts of stories. He heard from someone that I “threatened to quit if I don’t get more hours” (definitely didn’t happen), and that I “wanted fewer hours” from someone else. Someone said I was “too emotional and easily overwhelmed” (again, 2 panic attacks in 3 months- that’s a huge step for me), and someone else wants to keep me off busy shifts.
Now, I left meeting with two main thoughts: 1. I’m working in a gossip driven environment where anything and everything one says will be misconstrued and twisted, leaving me with no desire to ever have a discussion with anyone there ever again; and 2. I’m once again being slapped in the face with the reality of my standards vs their standards. What I see as accomplishments, they see as failures.
I’ve long ago accepted the simple fact that my life and accomplishments will be on a different scale from the societal norms, but I continue to struggle with how to find my fit in the larger picture. How do I find success and a sense of purpose when opportunities crash with the disparity? Because while my achievements are enough for me, they’re meaningless to them. And to survive in this world it feels like I need to reach their level. Is there truly a way to manage expectations when it comes to employment?