Two months ago, I lost my job. I hadn’t done anything wrong-I’d had my first ever review three days before and been told how well I was doing-it was a case of my face didn’t fit. Being an ex trade union official, I’ve seen this SO MANY TIMES. Sadly, I’d not worked there for two years so I couldn’t take an Unfair Dismissal case to Employment Tribunal, as my employer well knew.
I’d been at work on the Friday, waiting on one of the manager’s updating me on some training I was due (I had no proper training either-fun times) I was called into the office and went in expecting to hear when my training was happening. Instead I was told I was having a disciplinary hearing. I refused this as I knew that legally I needed at least 48 hours notice, and to prepare my case-so it was rearranged for a weeks time. Frustratingly (and illegally) I wasn’t given the evidence pack at all before the hearing, despite requesting this. Even more frustratingly, again I can’t raise this at a tribunal. I knew as soon as I was refused the evidence I’m entitled to that I would be losing my job.
I thought I would find the week really difficult, mental health wise. I thought I’d be having panic attacks daily, not able to sleep, really down-it didn’t happen. Instead I felt so calm, and so relieved-and this was before any decision had been made.
During the hearing it was very clear that nothing I said would have made a difference. The points I raised, that they should have gone away and looked into, were not checked-there was a 15 minute interval between the hearing finishing and my being informed of their decision to dismiss me. My colleague who I’d asked to accompany me, who has been amazing throughout this, stuck up for me so much. That made no difference either. And, you know what? I didn’t have a panic attack.
It’s been two months, and I still haven’t. Compare that to this post, which I wrote after a particularly bad day there-and it’s just amazing. You don’t realise how bad a toxic environment is for your mental health, do you?
I now know that even though they were completely out of order, they did me a massive favour. And the colleague who was so supportive to me? I’ve seen him around once a fortnight since I left, for a drink. He will very clearly always be my friend.
Have you had a bad experience that’s actually positively impacted on your mental health?