Your workplace should NOT define you

This is not my normal content, I am aware of that but I feel this is a topic I want to address. Especially when I believe my story can help people before it spirals how it did with me. That topic is how your workplace can affect you but should not define who you are.

I started a job in January at a hotel. I previously worked for another hotel six months prior but wasn’t happy and found a job at a hotel closer to home. It started off so well. I was getting along with everyone and I was learning so much. The guests were the highlight of the job. We had a few groups that stayed for weeks so you got to know them really well. However, there are rules, especially with this company. You are not allowed to socialise with guests outside of work, you cannot have them on facebook or their number or anything like that. But you do get close to people and get to know them. I had a guest on snapchat, we would barely chat though, work found out and I think I should have been fired but at that point so much was going on with a few of us that the slate got wiped clean.

I had a run ins with a couple of people I worked with. It’s funny because both of them did the same thing which was try to be in charge and try to be above me when we did the exact same job for the exact same money. However, with the first person I ignored it and I was walked all over and the second time I did the opposite, I was firm and would say something to the management. However, having that done twice to me made me very apprehensive whenever someone new started. It knocked my confidence so much as to who I was as a person. Also, it was a small hotel and everyone gossiped which I admit I was sometimes apart of. But you couldn’t really trust anyone there and when you spend 4/5 days a week with people, different people each shift, you want to be able to trust them. In the end I had two people I fully trusted and everyone else I just tolerated and worked with. I would joke with them and tell them general things but I wouldn’t go out my way to be overly friendly with them. After a while that did have an affect on me too. I don’t have a lot of people I talk to regularly and the ones I do I rarely get to see because of distance so since I started shutting myself off from people at work I began to feel isolated.

Work always seemed to follow me home. Whether it was gossip or a situation I had found myself in with a guest that day. When you know you do all you can at work and you still get people yelling at you or issues you can’t solve, you feel bad. I always think about other people and put myself in their shoes so I always tried to be the happiest, friendliest, professional version of myself. I just felt the hotel got worse and it made me not want to go because everything I did was in vain. It was so rare you would get praise as well so I’d have all these issues or whatever and it kept building.
The hotel was short staffed as well so everyone worked super hard and if someone was ill it would be a mission to cover. I once did over a 15 hour shift and I got maximum 35 minute break and that wasn’t at the same time or with food involved. The issue never seemed to get solved and I was not the only one doing extra hours. Two other people worked their bums off more than me and they did more than me for the same money. If a shift needed covering it would more than likely be one of us three because other people were stubborn and wouldn’t want to do it. It was not fair. Near the end of my time there I was phoning around trying to get cover and I rung and messaged someone and both got ignored but when the assistant manager tried off her mobile she got an answer. It infuriated me that someone could ignore a phone call and a desperate message from a colleague but answer assistant manager who wasn’t even at work. It was just not right and I was fed up.

Along with all of this it was shift work and it was never the same and it’s impossible to have a routine. I know for some people that is fine but for me it meant I wasn’t able to look after myself properly. 75% of nights are so busy you never get a chance to sit down and eat something and you’d never have your break. So sometimes I would go days and barely eat something and other days when all I want to do is eat. I ended up getting IBS and it is embarrassing and that was a big sign for me that something needs to change. Sleep really took a hit as well, you might have a week of working until at 11:15 at night and then two days later having to be at work for 6:45am and I need sleep.
Everything just got to me physically and mentally. I was not happy and I was just making myself unwell.

 I looked for jobs for a good two to three months before I got my current job. It felt like forever because I stopped wanting to go into work and I felt like shit everytime I went. I knew I had to stay until I had a new job but it was taking so long I felt so trapped and alone. I thought I was going to be stuck there forever and there was no way out. I was so down every day and I had some of the worst thoughts I have ever had. I was the worst version of myself I ever have been and I hate that person and the things I thought. It got to the point where I had a breakdown and I was unable to work that day because I could not string a sentence together without crying. I had reached breaking point and it was either I had help or something I don’t want to think about.

A couple of days later I spoke to my doctor and he signed me off from work for two weeks. I had a job interview the week before that and I was waiting to hear back. I had worked at this place previously and I felt it had gone well but I was not going to pin my hopes on that one job because if I didn’t get that, all self-belief would have gone out the window. I started to panic thinking ‘what if I don’t get this job? I cannot go back to that place’ I had no faith or hopes, I was about ready to give up and my luck changed. I got that job and it means I am now able to look after myself and have a routine for eating and sleeping because it is set times.

It was a weight off my shoulders when I was signed off sick but getting a new job that was going to have such a positive impact on me, I never felt so relieved in my life. My life was going to change in so many ways but more importantly I was going to be able to work on my mental health.
That hotel and the people there are behind me now, except for one or two, one of them is one of my best friends in the whole world. She was there with me throughout it as well as four other people. Two who I have been BTCC with and the other two I have met on twitter through motorsport. I am so lucky and grateful I had them with me through it and I let them in. I hope one day I can repay them with that same support and care.

That hotel changed me, it destroyed me as a person and I had to break free. It made me into a completely new person and a workplace should never ever do that. Your work should not break you. The point I want to make is to realise the signs before you have a breakdown and to not sacrifice your health in any way, shape or form. You should be able to go to work and if you can, leave it there. I know with some jobs it’s not always possible. But please,

 If you are not happy and feel yourself changing, get out of there. Before it is too late.