As you guys know, I’ve been really, really sick these last few weeks. I’ve had to stay in at home and it hasn’t been a “fun” illness where I can lay in bed and read books…it’s absolutely knocked me for 6 and I’ve suffered terribly.
So when 2 people at my work who are “close contacts” because their S.O’s are at home WITH COVID are allowed to freely roam the office I work in, I was really distressed. Imagine my panic to later see them in the staff kitchen (on my lunch break) without masks on, touching everything and not hand sanitising.
A normal person would have said something. Maybe:
1. To them: “Oi you muppets, put your masks on and have lunch in your appointed lunch room down the hall – not here in the communal kitchen. FFS.
2. Mentioned it to the Manager, it would be sorted…all ok.
For me, though? My first reaction was fear (oh noooooo. I’m terrified of being ill again!!!) then anger (how effing dare you? You’ve been told to be separated from the rest of the staff – what is wrong with you? Honestly???), then anxiety (I’m going to get sick all over AGAIN when after 4 long weeks I’m only starting to feel better. Omg. I can’t go through that pain, discomfort and suffering again!!!) which quickly tumbled into suicidal thoughts – I would literally rather DIE than be that sick again.
Emotions were churning and I was panicking. Do I just go home? Hand in my notice? Because I literally can’t afford to catch fucking COVID right now. Do I quit my job in order to protect my health? Am I overreacting here?
In my anxious state, I couldn’t think clearly and rage was starting to build, knowing that 2 potentially infectious people paid no regard to the well being of others and were happily breaking the rules.
Shaking, I started to type out an email to my boss about what I’d seen in the kitchen and how worried I was about potentially getting COVID for goodness sakes.
As I was typing, I was crying – this was concerning to me because it probably wasn’t that big a deal. Calm down JD. Why was I getting sooo upset?
But remembering how unwell I’ve been really scared me to think of returning to that.
Being really unwell has made me incredibly emotional too, so as I was typing the email to complain – I was thinking of how hard it was to even be back in work, how much I’ve suffered in the last month…and then grief decided to join in and tell me I couldn’t call my Dad and get his take on this…which made me cry more.
I sent the emotional, long, “ranty” email and trembled as I awaited the response.
It didn’t take long. I saw my Boss get up and gesture to the 2 staff…let’s call them “Bill” and “Jill”. All 3 of them disappeared into another office.
A few minutes later, my boss came back alone. She came over to me.
“Can we have a quick chat in the next room, Janet?”
Anxiety up 1000 notches.
“Quick chats” are never any fun in my experience 😒
Heart racing, palms sweating, gulping nervously and unsure what to expect, I followed “Gail” to the next room.
“We are going to investigate and ask Bill and Jill their side and get back to you”
Oh great. You’re going to ask them if they were breaking rules and putting others in danger. I can’t see this going well. They’re never going to admit to that.
Noone is going to believe me.
That in itself is a huge trigger for me…when something has distressed me and noone believes me when I try to address what happened.
Anxiety up another 1000 notches.
As I sat in my seat awaiting the outcome…I was a mess. I felt that Bill and Jill wouldn’t admit to wrongdoing and I’d be fired as some sort of “crybaby” and/or “trouble maker” at work. Bill & Jill are both full time employees and I am just a temp so if anyone is going to get bollocked and suffer a loss here, it’s going to be me.
A few more minutes of waiting.
Anxiety was so high I had to fight to physically not run away.
They’re going to fire me.
I’m going to lose this job because I’m trying to defend my right to a healthy workplace. Great.
Omg…What am I going to do?
How long will it take to get a new job?
Why is it that I have to lose a job when it is my health at risk? This is sooo unfair!!!
If I get fired AND get Covid, I’m going to burn this building down, I swear to God.
The verdict arrived. Bill and Jill got gently reminded to wear their masks, hand sanitise and be mindful of other staff.
I got told to calm down (!!!) and that the kitchen was going to be used by Bill and Jill because they were wearing masks and the boss was happy with that. I was reminded that as I’m wearing my own mask, I shouldn’t be so anxious.
So…is this a win for team Janet?
All I know is that the “kitchen incident” pushed me to my limits mentally and emotionally…distressed about my physical health.
It’s a day later and I’m still trying to calm down. I’ve legit lost sleep over this, guys.
This is not good. I am not in a good way.