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This is the third part of the story about my worst job ever.  It started off as one post, but writing it got to be so long (and so therapeutic, even though these events happened seven years ago) that I decided to break it up.  In the first part we talked about the process of finding and getting the job.  Yesterday in part two we talked about how things only went down from there after some ‘changes in plans’ from when I was hired.  When we last left, my frustration was to the point that I was kicking a computer bag in the middle of Staples.

Back To The Story

After the junior audit confusion, I was put back on to lead duty.  One of the things auditors will do is re-audit something that had been audited in the past where improvement was needed.  I was given this assignment, and found that the original audit from several years prior had been done by none other than Bridgette herself.

I felt that this was great news.    I looked at the areas that were identified in the previous audit which needed attention and pulled them into my plan.  In addition, I did a great deal of research and pulled in other best practices.  In short, the scope of my proposed audit was probably double what she had done in the past.  When I met with her to outline my plan, I was confident that she would be impressed.

Which was a mistake, because of course she wasn’t.  She said that I didn’t go deep enough in scope. When I pointed out that it went further than the previous audit (not mentioning that it was hers) had gone, as well as that it brought in points tied to industry standards, she merely brushed it off.

At that point…

I Gave Up

That’s right.  I knew that no matter what I did, I was not going to please this woman.  She made it clear that her impression of me was already set and there was nothing in the world I could do to change her thoughts about me.

It was around that time where I did actually start looking around for a new job.  I also started opening up a little bit to my fiancé and she started getting a glimpse of how bad it really was and the depths of my unhappiness.

I proceeded with the audit but my heart wasn’t in it.  I knew there was no future there for me and when I came to work and had an appointment later that day for a ‘Review’ meeting, I pretty much knew what it was all about.  I went around and said my goodbyes to a few colleagues and even packed the things that would go with me into a pile from my cubicle.  Sure enough, they outlined my separation package and came in with my box of stuff.    I had worked there for nine months.

The Aftermath

When I told my parents and told others that I had been let go, they were shocked.  Looking back, the reason is that I hid so much of what I was really going through.

And I did this because I didn’t want to admit that I was failing at this job.  Whether it was my fault or the fault of the company (I take responsibility for some of my shortcomings, so I put  the blame on both elements), I had never failed at a job before.  I’d always been thought of as a hard worker, someone who learned, and someone who was a top-tier team member.  Suddenly, I was none of those things, so I had simply buried it until I no longer could.

In the end, it turned out to be a blessing.

Things went as good as they possibly could.  When I left that job, I was broken.  Yes, I was relieved that I no longer had to go to a place where I clearly didn’t fit and wasn’t contributing, but I also had to deal with the fact that I had failed.  Having not failed in a job to this degree ever before, it was gnawing.  It made me wonder, how would I ever even find a job, and once I did, how could I have the confidence that I once did?

Had it been taken away?  I really didn’t know for those first couple of weeks after ending this nightmare.

The Happy Ending

I started a new job search, and I wasn’t sure where things were going to go.  This was 2006 and the market in Michigan was already starting to soften quite a bit, as we were the first state into the great recession.  It had taken me over four months to land this job nine months earlier when the market was better, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

But, fate was with me.  I started instant messaging (no Facebook or LinkedIn yet!) with someone who had worked for me a couple of years ago.  He was working for a company that had project manager openings for a big project.  He gave me a referral and I got a call the next day after e-mailing my resume.  It was a contract position, which I’d never had before, but the contact there was great, and he got me in for a face to face interview, and I immediately hit it off with the manager.

This time, I made sure I met the qualifications (I did), and I made sure I would be working for the manager that actually hired me (I would).   We hit it off and less than six weeks after being let go from the worst job ever, I was working again.  This is not something I would have ever guessed would have happened in my wildest dreams on the day that I was let go.

On top of that, the job was a perfect match for me.  I fit right in.  I immediately contributed and was recognized as a solid team member.

In short, it was the perfect job for many reasons, but the most important is simple:

I got my confidence back. And, wow, did that feel good.

No, it felt GREAT!