#WednesdayWisdom; Mental health at work.

A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to a new co-worker. We would not be working in the same department, but we would be passing each other in the hall every now and again. We briefly exchanged pleasantries and off they went.

Never to be seen again.

At first, I thought that maybe they were completing some training off site, but after a week, I realized that something was off. It did not occupy my thoughts, though. It had no influence on me. I knew that person for less than a minute.

And then I overheard a conversation. (It just hit me that I wrote yesterday about overhearing stuff that was not meant for my ears, too. I would like to assure you that I am not a creep. People just do not seem to care where they speak, or how loudly they do it.)

A few people were talking about that now-ex co-worker. It peaked my interest. I am not used to witnessing people actually getting hired, and then getting fired the same day. It was interesting for me to find out what terrible thing they did that warranted such a swift firing.

Turns out that they were not fired. They actually left after their first day, and ran, knowing they would not want to return there ever again. That made me uneasy. Sure, that was a different department, but could it mean that I should be on the lookout for some shady stuff coming out?

My fear was soon neutralized.

That person left after just one day because of her OCD. Now I was even more intrigued.

It turns out that the department that person was to work with is rather messy. And they were told that they could NOT touch (i.e. organize) certain things.

I was stunned. I have never witness such a thing happen (people quitting due to their OCD). There have been plenty of times throughout the years when I would enter a department, and see STACKS (or boxes) of papers and files no one seemed to care about. No one knew what they were. No one used them. In the end, they would bother me, too, and I would do away with them as soon as I could. Usually, people were very pleased with that, and tried to direct me towards more… organizing (i.e. cleaning). In this instance, however, they were told to stay away. That was flabbergasting to me. (However, I do think it was said innocently and in hopes to not get the new person overwhelmed, because they actually started cleaning things out once that conversation was finished.)

This whole thing was bizarre.

I could not believe someone quit after 1 day because of the mess in the office.

I could not believe someone told them NOT to organize things.

But what was the worst of all,

was their reaction to it all.

At first, it was two people talking. Then, every time someone walked by, they would get stopped with: “Hey, did you hear…”

Are you mortified yet?

Well, I have to add that not only were they talking about that person, they were also LAUGHING at them. For being so silly. For complaining about such an idiotic thing.

The ex-co-worker was treated like a circus freak.

That whole thing stunned me. It mortified me. I was shocked that people can be so ignorant and calloused. So what did I do? Nothing. My day went on as if nothing happened. But that hallway conversation gnawed at me for a while. It really was not right. And I pride myself on standing up for what is right. This time I did nothing, though.

At first, I just did not think it was my place to insert myself into a conversation I was not a part of (rude). After a while, I realized that I acted selfishly by not acting. That person was gone, never to return again, but I was here. Here to stay. I did not want to become “the freak”. It worried me that that was a bit cowardly of me, but then I realized it was survival of the fittest. Nothing was going to change for the ex-co-worker. They would not be asked to come back. They would not want to come back. Yet I had to stay. I assuaged my guilt feelings by telling myself that me stepping up and putting my 2 cents in it would not make a difference.

Was I wrong?

What would you do?

Have you witnessed any similarly inappropriate conversations at work?

Is there any “condition” (for a lack of a better word) that you struggle with at work? Are others aware of it? If so, then, how do they react? If not, then why not?

Stay golden,



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38 thoughts on “#WednesdayWisdom; Mental health at work.

Add yours

  1. The running away was brave.
    Not a coward like me, who always stayed.
    And look at me now, can’t even survive two days without an OCD attack.

    Saying anything would have probably made you look like “a freak” to most people. But I honestly think there are more people in your office with the same condition.
    But maybe they’d be emberrased or maybe happy because someone finally raises awereness.
    But for your own good, it’s probably best to stay “invisible”.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I thought of you when I encountered that situation. And you are partially a reason to my guilt. Even though I don’t “know” you, I know a bit about you, and I would hate for you to be treated that way.

      Did see red flags right away when you first started working there?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Colleagues have told me before as a joke to seek professional health.
        The fact they see it as a joke, is painful.
        But they think me cleaning my desk or organizing papers is my OCD.
        It’s not. That is me just not trying to drown in paperwork.
        I can’t be bothered to explain myself, I just play along with the joke.

        In the field where I work in, there will be always red flags.
        Warehouse, technicians walking in and out, a very simple building.
        But at least there are very few women working in this field, so the ladies room remains very clean.

        Sometimes I think about a solution.
        Everyone forces me to look for professional help, but I don’t believe in it.
        So, home office it has to be at one point. No more companies and annoying colleagues.
        But how to achieve that 😉

        Have you tried out Fiverr yet?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve created a profile, but have not completed it yet. I got annoyed with all the keywords I have to choose. Will play with it more over the weekend. Have not gotten as far as payments. Did you get any jobs yet?


          1. Ha, no.
            I don’t get how it works. I posted my work on the forum to promote myself.
            No responses.
            People are selling silly things, like “I will remove the background in a picture professionally”.
            Dude. I do that every time I draw a doodle. A monkey could do that with one simple app.
            But still, those people are still “level 2” seller. Meaning, the have sold quite some of the services.
            This world amazes me.

            Liked by 2 people

    1. This is why “awareness” is a tricky beast. It depends what is “trendy” at the moment. Currently, I think it’s sexual harassment, so everyone focuses on seminars on those topics. Every now and then depression comes to the surface. But what if we all educated ourselves a little bit more widely? BEFORE something becomes a problem. (Theoretically, I could tell that person what happened and maybe there could be a lawsuit of sorts, or at least negative publicity.)


  2. I have had two nervous breakdowns in front of two different bosses where I was in a fit of tears because of my social anxiety. Both were office jobs I eventually left after enduring just a few days of work. For me, in both situations where I ran, I now feel it was meant to be. I couldn’t tolerate either environment where it was my job to sit at a desk and quietly do my work but I was expected to reach out to people if I had trouble. This was a breeding ground for my anxiety. I never talked or made mention to my coworkers about my struggles but I got comments about how quiet I was. That only made me more self-conscious every time I had to speak up or even say hi to anyone.

    The boss in the first situation seemed to be sympathetic to my anxiety because she could see how it was affecting me. I resigned from my position in good terms with her. She was the only person in that workplace I said goodbye to before I packed up my things. Conveniently almost everyone was on their lunchbreak at the time so I was able to leave without running into anyone…mostly, at least. I had to pass one of the supervisors at the front desk on my way out but she didn’t see me as I rushed past. I can only imagine what my ex-boss told everyone else about why I left. It was even more awkward because this was a job my mom helped me get as one of the people who worked there was her friend’s sister-in-law who she was also friends with.

    As for the second situation where I ran, I felt my boss seemed to believe I was being irrational and not trying hard enough. This was my worst fear in being honest about my mental health; that someone would just not understand it. Even now I avoid thinking (if I can help it) about what he and the coworkers must have thought of me or what kind of unflattering conversations they had about my behavior.

    I don’t know if you should have spoke up in defense of the person. But the stigma of mental health is painful. I don’t have OCD but I know what it’s like to go through mental pain for something supposedly “normal” people don’t have any issues with. It’s those people who gossip and laugh about others with mental health conditions they don’t understand who are the worst.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It’s a great reminder that various people struggle with different things. That we are not all the same.

      I think everything happens for a reason, so I think it’s good that you left those places.

      Interestingly enough, I’ve been told that I’m quite on more than one occasion in the last few months. It boggles my mind that people just say such things. Last time, I asked if I’m supposed to start playing loud music and singing and dancing (instead of working). Why is “being quiet” frowned upon? When you say: “You’re so bubbly” it is meant as a compliment. I think the next time someone asks me if I’m always that quiet (no, I’m not), I will ask if they are always that loud.

      That must have been a terrible feeling to work hard, yet for your efforts to be doubted.

      I know I don’t understand everything about everything, but I thought laughing at other people’s oddities ended in middle school.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t really understand the necessity of bringing up “oh you’re so quiet” remarks in conversation either. What’s the point of it? It’s like commenting over someone having a loud personality and making the person feel self-conscious of how loud they are being perceived by others.

        People are judgmental in school but I guess they are just as much so as adults in the workplace. They laugh at what they don’t fully understand.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Exactly. I’m not really sure why it’s considered ok to be loud, but not ok to be quiet.
          While I like to think that we grow and learn, I am proven wrong. Some still behave as if they were in middle school.
          And you’re right about the “not understanding” part. What bothers me is that they don’t even try to understand. They don;t want to.


  3. Hmmm.. Tbh, I would have done the same thing!
    Sometimes, you just have to pick your battles and this one was not yours to fight.. I know, it can be frustrating to be not able to do what you want to but then since you’d just “overheard” them, it wasn’t your place to give them any kind “gyan”..

    Here’s to hoping that “work place” gets better equipped to handle people with “conditions!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Throughout my life I find myself protecting the innocent. Fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. So this one was hard not to act upon. But the cons outweighed the pros in that situation.

      Well said. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think since you were not invited into the conversation you were fine to leave it, but hope you would have spoke up if they dragged you in. Perhaps they didn’t because they knew your opinion might differ.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think I might have responded by not actually commenting on the behavior of the person that quit but by possibly agreeing that the office is super cluttered and cleaning it up wouldn’t be a bad idea. I might have suggested to not throw anything away (they win their side) but rather move it all to a new location dedicated to “stuff” and I would volunteer myself to do it (I win my side). This approach would be a way that I could “fight the battle” without being a big part of the greater war. I guess in the end though, what matters most is how much it matters to you. In general, I find that strangers and people you are not super familiar with tend to come off as fairly insensitive on the surface. It’s only by really getting to know people that people become more self aware and actually care when someone is uncomfortable and try to find creative ways to solve the issues at hand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like your take on this. I wasn’t involved in the conversation, so it would be difficult to “stick my nose where it doesn’t belong” and suggest cleaning up to people I don’t work with directly. They, however, DID try and clean up. At least for the first few minutes. It’s back to normal now.
      Great observation about insensitivity in strangers.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This really hit close to home. I also have OCD, it is rather mild NOW but it was really bad a couple of years ago. When I started at the place I work now, I encountered so many problems due to my OCD (my family was surprised I was even able to hold this job). I often asked myself if I could keep going as I didn’t want my work place to know I have OCD – I don’t really know why, but I wasn’t very open about it then. I often had supervisory talks with my bosses and I know I was close to getting fired. It sucks because OCD is so uncontrollable and it really hindered me to use my full potential. I hope he/she is going to feel better soon and find a job where their OCD doesn’t restrict them as much.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Of course, if you’re interested. Two things come to mind immediately.
        First, due to my OCD I don’t like sharing my workplace with others, especially my computer, keyboard, chair, etc. Where I work now I sometimes had to share my desk, especially when we had apprentices. This really amde me go nuts as I sometimes went for hours working, keeping my facade intact, while in reality I was just waiting for everyone to leave so I could disinfect everything on my desk.
        The second thing, which is still kinda hard for me is that the restroom in this office has appliances/knobs you have to touch with your hands (you have to turn them with your hands to wash your hands and cannot use the back of your hands). This was always so hard for me as I feel dirty when I touch appliances like that but I have to wash my hands after using the restroom.
        There are so many more exampley and I have planned to write about it on my blog. Up to this point, I have not written about my OCD but I plan on changing that. So this was a great input for me too 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. SAME! To both.
          It boggles my mind when I get a new position, come into my new office and then see the dust and grime and all sorts of things. No one cleaned in YEARS!
          As to the second one – I use paper towels to open/ close faucets/ doors. Now, I hate it when I go out somewhere and they have air dryers instead.


  7. Although not as bad, I can relate to that poor ex-employee. I’ve often been called in for being over-polite. I say please, thank you and sorry too often. People judge way too quickly if you’re not exactly like everybody else.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sometimes in these situations I have the urge to want to stand up and say something but most times I don’t. It’s fear of embarrassment or just starting a big argument I think,

    This once on a busy bus an elderly nurse clearly in her uniform clearly tired after a long shift got on. No one not even the teenage girls sat right next to her stood up to give her a seat. I watched getting infuriated, I was sat but very far back and if I moved someone next to me would instantly have sat down so I couldn’t offer my seat.

    When I got to the front the driver smiled at me so I said “no one stood up for that nurse I’m disgusted” before getting off.

    I was way too late I should have told the girls to have more respect but I didn’t.

    I hope next time I will…


    Liked by 1 person

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Darlene Foster's Blog

dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

Emotion Doodles

Children's book illustrator & writer

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