You've probably been unhappy with your circumstances in life at one point or another, haven't you? Maybe you majored in a particular subject in university to please your parents, even though you wanted to study something else. Maybe you've stayed in a dead-end relationship out of fear of being alone. Or maybe, like me, you've stayed at a job you hated because of your fear of failure. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of feeling weak.
I've been reminded numerous times that 'it could always be worse' and 'only the strong survive', so when difficult situations have arisen in my life I've done my best to shrug them off and keep moving. But I had an epiphany this week that changed that to a certain degree.
Nine weeks ago, I was granted my UK Spouse Visa. After months and years of separation and headaches, it felt like my husband and I had reached the finish line. We could finally start our life together! Getting a job, getting a home, domestic bliss and stability; it was all in sight! So with my visa in my possession and our dreams in mind, I began applying for jobs. And three weeks later, I secured one. I became a department manager for a well-known international brand, making a nice salary. I excitedly told everyone in my life who were so proud of me. After not working for over a year while I transitioned my life to a new country, it felt wonderful to see financial independence in sight and to be able to give back to my family who had helped me for such a long time.
On my first day of work, I completed the standard new employee paperwork for my first hour, watched a health and safety video, and then was put on the shop floor shortly before lunch with only a fifteen minute explanation of management's expectations to go on. I was supposed to manage a whole section with less than two hours of training under my belt. I regularly assumed someone would come fetch me to watch more videos in the office or read some product knowledge books, but it never happened. Eventually I was given a volume of small books to read, at my constant request, which I was expected to study in what little free time I had. The same was expected of me in relation to watching the department informational videos. The company wanted me to train myself outside of work hours and they weren't going to pay me for it. More so, if the department failed, that meant I had failed, but no one was investing in me as a valued employee. This rubbed me the wrong way, but I overlooked it.
I even overlooked my immense anger when I realised I was working an extra one to two hours for free each week that the company had no intention of compensating me for. All employees were expected to be ready for a chat-in ten minutes before their shift. The chat-ins were unpaid and never lasted more than a minute or two before you were sent onto the floor. At the end of the day, closing could sometimes take an extra half hour or more if there were promotional changes. All of this time worked was expected to be free labour. But still, I gritted my teeth and let it go...
The last straw came when management started to talk down to me, as well as about me. Despite an apparent ban on the break room for employees, a supervisor encouraged me to eat lunch in there with her and another associate. When the assistant store manager found out, she asked me what happened and I explained I had only done so at my supervisor's behest which led to them getting in trouble. She later confronted me and called me selfish and said, 'If I told you to jump off a bridge, would you? I ask you to make money [for my department], and you don't do that, so...' She then took to telling other sales associates what had played out in the office and blaming me for her getting in trouble. That was it.
I explained the situation to my husband when I got home, and stressed I didn't want to go back. I had been explaining my discontent for weeks, but had agreed I would stay with the job until I found something else, but in light of this I didn't feel comfortable working there anymore. He explained that if I made this decision it meant putting out homeowner dreams on hold, in spite of us finding our dream property and beginning the process of getting a mortgage for it. I thought about the decision for a while feeling torn up and conflicted, until the words almost unconsciously came out.
'I'm sorry, but no house is worth my mental health.'
And with my husband's support, I made the decision to quit. I needed a lot of reassurance I was making the right decision, which he gave me over the next two days, but I couldn't help feeling weak. Why couldn't I just push through it? And the answer to that is because I have different limits than everyone else, and that's okay. Some people can put up with years of bullshit, but should you really have to? If I was that unhappy with my situation after only six weeks, it wasn't going to get better with time and a change needed to be made.
There's no honour in putting up with bullshit if it's at the cost of your mental health. You deserve to be happy at every stage of your life, and if you're not then don't be afraid to make that necessary change. Depending on what you believe, you might only get one chance at this life. Plus, life is too short for shit jobs, bad relationships, and putting up with things or people that make you anxious or depressed.