It has taken me a time to appreciate how life is and works. It is only now that the bell has rung for me and put me in my place. I am not special; I am nothing. I am just a member of the animal kingdom. The two accidents and the lack of caring for my own wellbeing brought me to this state. The time off I have had has given me so much thinking time that it’s a life changer for me.
You think you and your family are special and then reality kicks in … you’re not special, your family, while precious, are just a part of the animal kingdom who have learned to speak and communicate with others, and horrible just take with no regard to other animals we live along side.
This communication stuff, between humans, has actually caused the whole of mankind more problems than we need. For many thousands of years’ animals and sea creatures have lived side by side and just eat each other where required with no malice and no wars. Some are vegetarians, some are meat eaters and each species has developed so as to balance the natural use of the environment.
This was all well and good right through pre-history and until us humans managed to utter a few sounds with regularity and others associated a fixed meaning with them. This, I suspect, used in conjunction with body language meant patterns of exchange between humans could be repeated with predictable results; much like hunting animals when operating in packs.
We then discovered deceit. Yes, say one thing and mean something else. That means we can lie to others and get what we want without fair exchange. We can justify that with the good old moral feeling that we are correct and got what we wanted and we don’t have to feel guilty – it was our right to be able to do it.
Through periods of history science has allowed us to understand far more about our environment and once writing was created we could record it for posterity. Good, yes and on the whole admirable as otherwise I would not be typing this and making it possible for people the other side of the world potentially to see it within moments of being published.
I feel very let down by the car insurance industry in much the same was as many people feel about PPI and Banks.
On the evening of the car accident I was spoken to by the police who said in a consoling way that I should not worry about the damage to my car as I would be protected by the Non-Insured Drivers Fund. It was not something I was really worried about at the time and did not give it a second thought.
The car was repaired, but that was borderline as the repair cost was just about the same as the value of the car and with a little juggling the garage did the repairs at a satisfactory cost.
Then the bite, a very big bit. My insurance was renewed and it went from £350 to £1100 in one go. I questioned it and after discussing with them in an open and frank manner on the telephone they said take it or leave it, but we will look into it.
As the lady suicide victim was not a car drive and they had no one to claim from it is not considered as a ‘no fault accident’ and they will just stuff me by getting all their money back over a two-year period by increasing my premium.
They paid out because I was insured, but make the assumption I was in some way at fault.
How the bleeding hell am I in any way shape or form responsible for being involved in this accident? It beggars belief, and I really can only place them in the same category as politicians for their blue faced arrogance in the way in which they stitch up the general public. Somewhere amongst the semantics’ there is sharp practice going on in redefining ‘no fault accident’.
This accident was not foreseeable on my part, it was not based on negligence on my part and I could not take any evasive action. There was a party at fault: the lady that jumped off the bridge. This fact is being conveniently ignored by the insurance company.
My insurance is/was ‘fully comprehensive’ and there now seems doubt in my mind as to what ‘fully comprehensive’ means. It seems sharp practice to just say stuff you we will knock your no claims discount off.
The really niggle bit is the buggers hassled the garage to reduce the cost of the repairs knowing full well they were going to screw me over to reclaim ALL THE COST. Where is the commercial risk? They have taken my money knowing full well they had no intention of paying out.
It had to come, that fateful day when I had to return to work. I am sure some of those who knew a little would think it was just a holiday, a break, but I know different.
I am lucky I do enjoy my work, that is the type of work, I am not saying I like the crap that surrounds it: I now despise what has happened to me and I cannot see a way of forgiving them.
Unexpectedly I was greeted when I opened the main door by a lady who has a very nice cense of humour and a whitty tounge that is not hurtful, thought provoking, and nothing else. Not much given away by me – just off sick.
The office was very quite which was good as it allowed me to get sorted without the fear of being caught by inquisitive people.
Offices coffee spots are a strange creation but are only just utilitarian in nature. Busy sometimes, quite other times: sometimes private but mostly not. While you see people regularly only sometimes do you get to know someone outside of your immediate work colleagues, so I was surprised to be asked questions about my plight by a relative stranger who appeared to know than the average person. I naturally do have things to say but at work it’s different – caution, so I resisted to elaborate to much. Yes, glad to be back, shame the group was still having problems but things will improve.
I had returned on a quite day but people in the team arrived and it became clear things had not progress as perhaps the masters had anticipated or the client had expected.
Two people are leaving the group as they are not happy with how we are being run. Other people are very reticent about how the work is being piled onto them as unrealistic deadlines are agreed with no reference to the available resources and no one seems to be getting a grip by managing the project. but it ain’t my worry.
If robing Peter to pay Paul was an Olympic sport we would have gold winners every time.
I was allocated some work and duly started. My aim was just to comply and get through the future and not take on any responsibility greater than for which I am paid. Now, this is difficult as I am a proactive person who will hunt our work and problems and get them sorted. I will look at problems and solve them with elegance and grace but for now I have to degrade my service and skills and not use my ability to the full; but it is essential that I work diligently and grow back to where I want to be.
I know there are going to be rough times in the very near future and I know I am going to be in the firing line but I fear not.
At the appointed time the phone rang and I was asked whether I was expecting the call. I was relaxed as this was now coming to the end of my fourth week at home, so had been able to keep away from the ignition of my problem that caused me concern.
I pointed this out as it had an impact on the scoring I had made on the standard questionnaire I had completed. I don’t compare the result myself as I, well, just as …
During the conversation I was asked about my feelings and yes I did feel better and looked back at this time as convalescing and I mentioned I had not really valued the benefit of convalescing before but it had had a recognisable benefit for me. Time to think, time to judge, time to plan and all with out the pressure of work and trying to avoid people of pressure.
We talked in general terms and while talking I expressed my real concern with having to let go of my feeling towards the people in the accidents. I dont have graphic flashbacks that stop me in my tracks or need working through at the time before I can move on, but I do have very vivid memories of the situation that I roll forward and backwards while quesioning what happened. I also have generated new images in my mind which are from different positions of the accidents that I was not physically in, but I need to see. I still don’t want to forget them but I need to move on. I am scared to just close the door on them, the events I am happy to forget but the people no.
I said I was surprised how the treatment so far had gone in as much as I had been told to expect one-to-one sessions and was told that is the next stage of the CBT action plan. I was now sixth on the list and these telephone calls were just a way of monitoring events. A date could not be given yet but soon was as close as she could get.
So I move on.
Last night a TV drama was on and it appeared a lady had risked her own life to save someone from a burning car accident. It transpired that the rescuer was in fact the lady who caused the accident by walking out in front of moving traffic to commit suicide and I froze, I physically had shivers from head to toe and I felt emotionally scared. I did not know what to do. The situation and circumstances were different but it had that act of suicide in where I was not able to help.
I acknowledge I was not hypnotised during the first session and was happy with the feeling of knowing more about me. Again I went with anticipation of not being troubled where the questioning would take me as I felt safe. I knew there was a chance of more crying but that did not phase me as it was a release I had not allowed myself to explore. The crying was not the release it was the inquiring questions and reconciling them with cogent answers that was the release and good. I was given no cause not to be open and honest.
Questions were asked around what good would come from holding onto punishing myself. There is no good, but I must not let go otherwise I have failed those people again. I don’t know them but they are a part of me. They are not close friends or even acquaintances but they have still an active part in my mind. I don’t know their families, I don’t know their particular circumstances and I really don’t know how many they number; BUT they are still a part of me and my history.
It is the case that I could sit down with them now without feeling awkward or embarrassed. I would not judge them, I would not think ill of them and would understand if they did either of these things to me.
It was considered I have a strong biblical attitude towards self-punishment. Not sure whether that is good or bad.
I was asked to manage these feeling by finding somewhere I could keep these memories, as I am not prepared to forget them. I can visit them whenever I choose and get upset if I want, but on my terms. I do not want to share anymore of that as I am still scared of forgetting them entirely which will rock me. I am scared that time will trick me into forgetting and I will become uncaring about helping people where I can.
It was pointed out that any help I give is good and I should not expect any more than good.
I was starting to think I could let go after all and not suffer any repercussions inflicted on me be me. Help is good, help is needed but it does have boundaries. I don’t work where people are exposed every day to traumas, so I can afford to protect myself from these feelings for the need to punish myself.
I explained I had a plan set in my minds eye on how to cope with the near to middling future and I was happy to ‘park those feeling’ in a safe, secure and private place and revisit them when I want.
Later that week I had another appointment but for the EMDR treatment. This was for assessment. The lady appeared very young and I was not sure whether her practice was underpinned and supported by her life’s experiences. Having empathy with someone, should, I feel, be based upon mutual trust where both parties have something in common.
This happens to be why I don’t trust career politicians who come from wealthy backgrounds and who have never wanted for anything and are happy to prostitute themselves by telling people ‘… well I will move into your area if you vote for me … <GRIN> <GRIN> …’ or even worse when they have the audacity to tell voters they got it wrong …
This consultation was ok but I did not make the same connection with this lady as I had with the first. I feel the treatment is about being able to work with someone and does not involve personalities. I had difficulty maintaining eye contact with her, not on my part, but from her good self. The process of losing eye contact was very reminiscent of the way in which I would lose eye contact with a particular person I was working with. It was as though he considered I had said enough, and the look said, I don’t believe you so you must move on as I am busy. I am 100% sure this is not the message she was trying to give out, and for that I say sorry in making this analogy but that is what my mind kicked me into thinking.
It was explained the consultations would revolve around being close to but not reliving the events while being distracted by stimulation of the eyes. The idea is to allow the mind to revisit something and process the locked in memory. The Amygdala and the Hippocampus should play a double act in processing the information during a trauma but for unknown reason don’t always complete the process.
It was not what I thought it would be. The lady was very very searching without being pushy, we talked as though we had known each other a long time. I don’t do that! I am a private person who holds his thoughts close but not always my younger. Recent times have proved that.
When I considered this option I had to say to my self trust the lady, trust the privacy and trust the confidentiality: Without that I can’t make progress. It will not be like to talking to someone where everything you may say will be used against you and considered ammunition for future berating. It will only be put to use to help me: again this is a strange concept to me – letting people pass my guard and to think they may help without having to trade emotions – yes I have to pay, but this is due to me greatly disliking the current me. I had considered ‘…what next … ‘ and did not like the prognosis. Why should this or these events in my life give me grief when I still have a great life and enjoy what I do – except dealing with irrational people who just lie anyway.
But I was stuck just not able to move do this left on my own I was happy in my shell of contentment. I have hid this side of me well!
The customary curtesy were passed and I trusted her straightaway. Background info was captured and the event relived. I can’t, in fact don’t want to simply reprod a word by word account of the session but it transpired that it was thought I just wanted to punish my self for my failure of not helping the people in need.
I described wanting to sit with the lady and hold her hands while on the bridge. When asked about her I could not see her face but saw a whole person with no emotions or movement. I could not speak to her as I had no words that would fit the serenity of the time. I cannot leave here alone to face this future by her self. I would sit with her and just hold her hands in mine and wait for whenever she wanted to leave in a safe way.
An fare question was asked: what good does that do? Or along those lines. Who benefits from this. I could not answer really other than to say I had failed her, just like the people in the train accident. I should have done more, should have done more – just more.
I don’t know this lady or the people in the train crash but I know the driver of the train had been drinking, he was found guilty of whatever and spent time in Ford Open Prision and died after he was released. I do not know the other people involved in the accident and I don’t know the family history of the lady suicide victim: and I cannot understand how a person can go that far done a path and not find help somewhere. I keep saying I don’t know her and want to but life has moved on and to just forget about her is, I feel, a betrayal of a person.
I said at the top it was not what I thought. I don’t believe I was hypnotised as I just sat an talked to the lady. I sat with closed eyes and cried my heart out. This was the first time I had in all that time spoken about either of the events I had been through.
It was pointed out that after both events I just went to work the next day and did not look back. Well I did make a vow to help others and when it counted I did not.
Many years later I listened to a young chap on a Radio programme describing how he felt after he was involved in a traumatic event an he summed it up far better than I could even now. He said that telling people about what he had been to was like talking to people who just did not understand but nodded at the right time. It would not matter what he said, people just did not get it. That’s me!
Three weeks sick leave, after a first week sick leave seemed impossible to get through, as sometimes I feel really good and with no warning I feel lethargic and unresponsive to things around me. I was, and still am happy to be amongst people but not interact with them. Cafes are good place for me to sit and muse about what is and what’s not.
I will still be busy …
I had an appointment with a different Doctor – not a problem I trust the practice I go to. My distress came through straight away and options for treatment were discussed. Medication – no. Help from the NHS (Time to Talk) – not good – takes to long to start, private EMDR from a recommended councillor – viable but at a cost to me.
I did not want medication to relieve the symptoms. I appreciate they are not addictive, but swapping my moods by the use of drugs is something that is not really me and is not what I want. Mind-drugs in our society – not medication, irrespective of whether they are recreational or not, are wrong on so many levels that I could not accept them.
This whole area is a difficult as drug usage appears to be out of control and has affected various parts of our family and seems to be penetrating it further. Being boring and not self righteous I have got through life without every taking mind-drugs, or even drinking and it is not until you have to confront it head on in your own immediate family does the message start to appear.
Initially the Doctor described two options Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). A third option popped-up after speaking to a non-medical person whoes values I trust: Hypnotheropy.
The outcome I want from any one of them is the same: Help me understand why I am feeling like this and then to return me to ‘my normal’. This I acknowledge is difficult as I can’t turn back the clocks to un-live what happened, my memories are naturally contaminated with the elapse of time and consistent uncertianty about what is happening, and the real conundrum: I might not like what I was.
My thought process says to me that I had failed to help people in both accidents. It is that simple. I must not let go of the people who I had failed, otherwise I am letting them down again, letting their familes down. Forgetting them is a cheats way of finding mental wellbeing, and for last 25 odd years since the train crash I had lived with that and thought, it worked then, it will work now – I can cope, I am man. But I had not appreciated I would be up against the most complex piece of apparatus we know of in our current universe – our brain; from which memories are never extinguished but lurk to upset and interfer when a magical trigger is pressed. It builds links to existing memories that we do not know existed and recompliles new meanings at the drop of a hat but it does not always tell you it has done so. Its a crafty little thing!
On research and to the layman the methodology is different and each has a preferred type of client. I considered that any of them would be a good.
During this week I was able to relax and think a great deal about what had happened, why it happened all without the pressure of work. More importantly I could think whenever I wanted, which was frequent and would materialise without any warning and for no apparent reason. I kept myself busy which is not a hard for me.
My sleep was disturbed – often between 4:00am and 4:15am, not so much about the accident but about work and what I was being put through. I would constantly go through the same scenario I had lived through to make sure I would win arguments again. It was futile, but that’s the mind for you. Irrational people do irrational things and they design their irrationality so as to screw you over.
During this week I made a statement for the forthcomingn inquest for the lady suicide victim. Giving the statement was a harrowing experience as I had to take them through the time line of the accident. I was not interrupted and it flowed easily as it was and still is very vivid in my minds eye. It hurt me greatly and both people recognised that. My voice faltered, my pace of delivery often slowed and there were moments of silence where my mind was blank and I needed to search for the next thing to say. I could relive it at anytime – even now. I was asked a number of questions to expand on my job and such. Later In the week I made a few very minor amendments and returned it the same day.
I returned to my doctor and but still felt very disturbed about work and felt that while the ‘thing time’ was good I did not feel I was making the progress I wanted. During the conversation I openly cried about what state I was in. I said I did not want medication and I was going to solve this problem my self. I say my self but what I meant was I did not want other people to fight my battles.
The problem that surrounded Time to Talk and my treatment was discussed and it was thought I might like to seek private help. A name was suggested and EMDR treatment.
I was signed off unfit to work for three weeks.
Not by any overt planning I had managed to line up a counselling session, a doctors appointment and a dentist appointment all in one morning and was still going to be at work by 1:00pm
He was not impressed at all with the Time to Talk session or how they were dealing with my PTSD. We discussed the problems I was having and he gave me a his honest thoughts about what I should do with regards work.
All through the appointment I held back from crying but it was noticeable that I was holding back, so it was agreed that I would take a weeks sick leave and go back the following week.
I telephoned into work and surprised them. I was surprised also.
I’ll start at the end – I felt underwhelmed and let down.
I went through the questions that I had been told were going to be a part of the tracking process – but not all of them.
We talked about the events of the accident and what was causing me concern at work and how I responded. Partially locked memories were talked about, which I did find interesting, and the necessity to unlock them was discussed.
Very quickly the conversation was brought to an abrupt end and ‘… I’ll call you in three weeks …’
I had been told to expect a number of weekly sessions of counselling at a centre with a specialist
I had a scheduled telephone call from TtT team who wanted to go through a set of standard questions I had already completed. There was a problem; I had completed the questions while on holiday and I felt good or rather the catalysis where my problems manifested themselves was not present. This conversation was happening just two days after returning to work and I was suffering as it was as though the Christmas had not happened.
It was decided to redo the questions and then follow up with supporting qualiative questions. During the session I broke down and cried deeply. With help it transpired my hurt and my crossness revolved around not being able to do good for the lady who had committed suicide.
Many years previous I had been involved in a train crash in London while travelling to work on a Saturday. I was not physically hurt but emotionally shaken. I could not help people in the carriage that had rolled down the embankment but I could hear them calling for help. It devastated me. I was healthy, had a small family, a good wife, running a small business and working 60 hours a week as the business was growing. Life for me was really good and in a flash I met, well didn’t, people whose life changed at the flick of a switch. Gone, buggered, stuffed. No matter how I thought of it I could not reconcile my actions with the severity of what had happened and my inability to help.
We were escorted from the carriage to the station and waited out side as we were told transport would be laid on to get us to our destination, I can’t remember who made a quip to the Network Rail chap but he flew at us all and with real aggression bellowed ‘ …. can’t you see we have had a bloody accident …’ We were all shocked and stunned into silence. The group broke up and I went into a cafe opposite and ordered a tea and sat down. I don’t remember paying but I was crying and crying and all I could think of why was it not me. Why had I not been hurt. Why had other people been hurt why were those chosen. Why not me. I even asked other customers why!
I left the cafe and boarded the coach still upset and sat near a window. As we left the station forecourt our exit was blocked by a very generous driver had abandoned his car across the road so we could not leave. There were a number of policemen outside around the car who took time to decide what to do and I am just hope it was the confusion of the event that caused their delay.
I know why: Blood. I fear it, but that is no excuse not to help – I felt. I did not stop my life to get help. I went home that day and went to work the on the Sunday. I vowed from that day I would go out of my way, without ‘interfering’, to help people regardless of circumstance. With the suicide lady I had failed completely. Please do tell me it was not fault. My life’s values took a big hit on this day.
The interview continued and at the end the ladies considered thought was I was suffering from PTSD. They would be in contact to arrange one to one counselling and possible group work after she had discussed my situation with her line manager.
Subsequently I received a treatment plan.
I went to the doctors and explained the situation at work primarily, but did mention a few of the outside incidents. I mentioned it was a group of student I teach that had urged me to seek help as they had noticed a decline in my well being.
I had to confide in someone through tears while crying and feeling physically sick. This is something I had never done: I have never let this level of personal feelings out to anyone before.
I was helped with empathy and care. I was referred to the Time to Talk team as there is no in-house counselling service: This had been cut in April 2011.
We, as a family, have had nine deaths to contend with over a 14 month period. Our house has burst at the seems to include six adults and two dogs. Our finances have been stretched accordingly.
Family have died, close friends have died, work friends have died, neighbours have died and friends of our children have died.
Our children have been in car accidents, their partners have had problems and my bank account was hacked.
If our life was a soap opera you would not believed the plots that we have been through.
All of this plays its toll on your ability to deal with life in everyday situations. Enter stage centre irrational people and my daily toil started to flake at the edges.
I enjoy my work greatly. This is the third major change in the tool set engineering had for me to use. I went from pencil, pen and ink to Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and now 3D modelling. This last stage is far far bigger than just modelling. It involves the integration of external data into a homogenous, seem less data set.
While there are other organisations who are both further advanced with the technical aspects of the work and the ethos behind there working practice I have independently kept pace with development, so it is with a little trepidation I consider myself to be knowledgeable – not complete but knowledgeable.
I have had great support from my immediate line manager but in essence that is where it stopped.
It appears to me that I am not trusted, not valued and considered to have no skills suitable for the work. I have hit brick walls everywhere I turn and with the new regime in place who are even less receptive I have gone into a mental meltdown through trying to fight my corner for the company.
The meltdown is me getting very agitated, cross, verbally aggressive in arguments and dismissive of others. This was happening more regularly and while those who believed my path forward was valid to my betters considered I was an impediment to progress. I have already described the situations and the ways I feel I have been treated but not the frustration and internal termile it caused me.
Adding to this incendiary device that was me were a good number of life’s rich trip-you-ups.
On the night of car accident I cried on the side of the road while in the pitch blackness. I cried in front of the two ladies who comforted me after they told me I had hit the lady. I cried in front of the policemen who released my car so I could drive home. I told the policemen that I would cry tomorrow and the day after and the day after; and I did.
I cried in front of a chap at work, but I held back my tears when another chap at work sighed with incredulity and told me in front of a small group of coworkers, ‘… well it is not as if you killed her …’ as though this was an everyday event and I should just get over it. I walked away and cried.
Not all crying is visible. My heart aches and I cry inside. I see things and hear things and I cry inside. I have very little control over it, which I accept.
I really do not want to be amongst people who are not compassionate. I do not want sympathy, I have to recover on my own terms. I do not want to feel beholden to people so as to stop them from taken advantage of me – yes. I feel some have.
I enjoy solitude more than ever.
Strangers are good, they know me not.
I don’t believe this is a medical condition and I am not sure whether it is a life choice but people who are irrational in the workplace are a danger to themselves, a danger to other people and a danger to organizations.
If you ever have the misfortune to encounter an irrational person, whether socially or in the workplace the best course of action is to have empathy and not get drawn into debate with them.
If you can’t avoid them don’t trust what they say as they will use any argument to win you over irrespective of the facts that are set before them. It gets worse, they often don’t remember exactly what they have said and if you need to have the conversation again, say to confirm something, they will dish out another set of incoherent, irrelevant information that you are to regard as facts and expect you, for a second time, to agree with them.
Not only are they a pain in the arse, they are very debilitating, and often have to be finally corrected by their superiors. Alerting superiors is a whole different ball game and strategic playoffs have to happen; which in turn destroys relationships and groups.
I now appreciate the above, but it was my belief that what I was trying to do for the organization was correct, but it was being intimated by negative work practices, it was not. No real rational professional explanation could be offered to me, and was why, with hindsight of being diagnosed with PTSD, the cause for me to become very vocal and a verbally aggressive at work.
Some people on the outside might simply dismiss this as a personality clash but it was not. I believe there was an ulterior motive from the start and I just happened to be in the wrong mindset at the time.
The profession and industry I work in is adverseral by nature. It is formally managed by contracts that have to be met. No problem with that at all. Contracts are negotiated and meant to be equatable both ways. I.e. ‘I will pay you to do exactly that’ – equal both ways. You do ‘that’ you get paid. When delivery is different, and this is often with agreement of both parties, then adjustments are made. Again equitable both ways. When parties are in disagreement then it has to be debated and the stronger argument will win else litigation will ensue.
This rational approach extends into engineering design as well, where past experience along with robust design and British Standard et all all mean rationalality prevails.
All of the above takes place with rational argument as being the tool of choice. So I have been exposed to many years of rational working experiences. I can cope with this.
I do not like irrationality, it is incomplete thought, it is lazy, it is misleading, it leads to conflict, it divides groups, it does not get a job done and is costly.
Crunch time came for me when the new contract chap was openly told in the office he would be doing the next big project that was coming in at the end of the next month.
Apparently no one else in the immediate management levels knew anything about this so was a big surprise to them as well. Coupled with the fact that the office is still upto it’s ears with the current job. But that’s life.
Within minutes of this open declaration I needed to hand over work to new chap as a matter of course and was interrupted by the manager and questioned about what the chap was working on and then questioned by the chap on whether I had the authority to distribute work at all.
Seeing red I carried out a controlled and dignified explosion saying I was quite upset that detrimental collusion could take place in this fashion, and left to return to my desk. It happened to be near the end of the day so clearing up and leaving did not stur anyone.
That happened to be my last day there. Not by design I should add.
From Statistics about the output of this country (UK) it is stated we are underperforming. That is the workforce are underperforming. When digging deeper into this fact it transpires it is down to skills shortages.
A part of the role I had was to help and support staff, not just with the modelling process and the new software but with engineering.
There are a number of new people with less than a years modelling and engineering skills in our group. So we have an identified skills shortage in the office so to be actively discouraged from helping these people caused me concern on two counts. Firstly these people need the help, and secondly without the help the project will suffer.
Different techniques were used: coming over and standing on the edge of the conversation with no intention of joining in. Interrupting conversations by asking vacuous questions, asking for information and sometimes for a full status updates.
Over a relatively short period of time my overall role was cut. But I was not told someone else was now doing ‘that’. Many times I would only know as a result of hearing ‘that’ being discussed at a level of detail I should have been involved with. New contract staff were employed even though a cull of contract staff had only happened two months previous.
So in summary my workload was being changed behind my back, other people were being redeployed without my knowledge. The skills I was supposed to be imparting to others was being discouraged and the deadline end dates not changing. The problems I had identified and dismissed are coming to pass as I described.
At first I just pushed through and ignored my feelings. Work was different not only because of the new sensations I was experiencing but due to the nature of the new work we were doing.
Often conversation would take place within earshot about things I was directly involved with and I would seethe while managers managed not resolve issues in an appropriate fashion: all they did was to push the problem onto someone else or even worse simply change the problem into something else.
It was easy to get answers but became very difficult to get a straight answer and after a time it became evident that answers I was given were not correct but no one had bothered to tell me. The impact of the changes were often not thought through so frustration coupled with distrust flavoured my attitude.
I accept much of what I was doing was new to me but the structures and processes I developed adequately allowed the project to be undertaken efficiently. However, having the goal posts moved behind my back meant they did not. Annoyingly I was often not party to the discussion, and really kept in the dark. This could only be by design. More frustration.
A good move was made by the organisation by getting the resource levels increased – late but good. This allowed more work to be undertaken. However and a big however the working process in a modern design office were not understood. This coupled with the acceptance that the base information we had been given and forced to work with was in fact not as good as those making the original plans had thought.
For the record: say an A1 paper based drawning can only be worked on by one person at a time. Information may have to be drawn and redrawn as the design process evolves. This process stop being viable 30 years ago and finally stopped at least 20 years ago. In the 3D model world the model is worked and worked and an A1 drawing is a product of many people working concurrently. So when I was told to organise people to work in the paper based drawing style, and not listened to when I tried to find the rationale behind the instruction caused me anguish beyond anything I had experienced before. It was idiocy!
I was distressed greatly, but life had to continue. I had to organise repairs on the car so I worked from home the following day. This meant an awkward questions I could answer in private.
The chap I spoke to at the insurance company was unable to comprehend the situation and could have only been working from a script as after I had described what had happened in as much as a lady had died as she had jumped off a motorway bridge and I had struck her, al be it not the first, asked was anyone hurt.
When I received the typed version it was different from the dictated version, anyway …
I returned to work on the following Monday as though nothing had happened to me.
I did feel I had betrayed the lady. All I knew of her was she had jumped and died. There was a note and it was being checked for authenticity before it could be confirmed she had committed sucide.
I mentioned an accident, yes an accident with a difference!
A lady decided to end her life and I was driving one of the cars that struck her. It was at night and dark. Dark with the absence of light and a dark emotionally.
Having driven over ‘something’ without seeing it (been told it would have only been visible for less than a second at the speed and in the lighting conditions) I had to stop quickly.
I was told what I had driven over by two ladies in the car I parked behind me. The police confirmed I had struck a person when they inspected my car. Blood and tissue were found underneath the car and damage done to the under tray.
I was shaken up, not physically, but mentally and after telling the police I was safe to drive I left the scene.
Some people became very frustrated with the working practices that were prevalent. Fellow people were also suffering at the hands of a few but time and time again efforts to rectify the situation was simply thwarted.
Typically, managers would not entertain the fact we did not have sufficient time. We did not have the correct resources to do the amount of work we had been given as it was far greater than the originally estimated. It appeared to me the was a situation of collective denial where it was considered the experienced staff were wrong irrespective of the facts.
Unachievable demands were regularly made and as a subsequence some people started to only answer direct questions and close conversations down as soon as they could so as not to convey any ‘bad news’.
This is contrary to open communications that is necessary in a design office.