This is the last time I ever have to write about this issue and knowing that makes me feel good.
After nearly three years of aggravation, anxiety, sleepless nights, and constant worry, the battle with my, now former, horrible boss is over. Last week I went into court dreading having to see her or any of my former colleagues. I slept little the night before, which didn’t help with the amount of pain I felt that morning – or my nausea. Even so, I arrived at the courts early to meet my lawyer and get settled in for what I feared would be an ugly few days. When I entered the courtroom, I didn’t make eye-contact with opposing counsel and as my former colleagues, whom I once held in high esteem, filed into the room my body tensed up. Then she came in: the woman who started it all, she who refused to let me have a moment’s peace to focus on my still very poor health.
Shortly after everyone arrived, the presiding judge came in to the courtroom and the hearing got underway. Things didn’t go as I expected. Opposing counsel had taken a very aggressive stance, but once the judge gave her introduction and discussed her preference for the proceedings they toned down their position. Instead of immediately jumping to arguing motions and hearing witness testimony, they agreed to the judge’s recommendation to try another round of mediation – which they had minutes before made clear to my lawyer they had no intention of doing. I was stumped by what felt like an abrupt about-face.
The judge separated us like a group of small children and sent us to different rooms. The judge then moved between the rooms attempting to curtail the proceedings and make us accept a judgement that neither party would walk away from feeling completely happy about – as is the intention of most hard-nosed negotiations. At the end of about three hours of back-and-forth we arrived at a point that made both sides bristle somewhat, but meant that my three-year battle would end, without any further delay. It took close to another two hours to complete the paperwork and the precise language of the binding terms of the settlement, but it was over.
I have to admit that I shed some tears. Most of it was anger over what this person believed was acceptable behaviour for the past three years. She felt that it was okay to intrude in my personal life and put my health and recovery at risk because I chose to guard my privacy. She felt that it was okay to vilify me and turn my former co-workers against me – most of whom to this day have never bothered to find out how I am. And she refused to accept responsibility or atone for pushing this issue to a level it never should have reached, during a time when I am very vulnerable, or what this unnecessary battle has cost my health.
This situation has caused me to lose a lot of the faith I had in people who profess to work for the good of others. It has made me rethink what I will do with my life and career when I am well enough to return to work. It also dimmed some of the gloss through which I used to view the world because I needed to believe better things existed to make some of the more terrible things in the world a little easier to bear, so we don’t burn out or become jaded too quickly. Now I’m not so sure if that wasn’t just me still being naïve and refusing to accept that there are people in the world who do terrible things or abuse their power, just because they can. I’m not even sure if any of this matters now.
What I’m certain of is that this is over. I no longer have any necessary connection to my former horrible boss or the company. And most importantly, I can redirect and devote all the energy I’ve had to put into fending them off them for three years, into taking care of myself. I can truthfully say that I already feel a big difference mentally and emotionally; and I hope that any physical changes will soon follow suit.
Gary Jules – Mad World