I wanted to create this post today after finding and reading email correspondence from a previous employer from 2018. I will not mention or put on my resume due to the humiliation I suffered while working for this “law” firm. After a physical / medical condition that I suffer from occasionally became the topic of gossip to my horror, I was basically lambasted by the higher ups in an impromptu performance review not two months after my annual review, (Humm?) Human Resources was an outsourced group, and they were party to this bombastic behavior. I was mortified, embarrassed, and felt completely alone for two weeks after this ordeal. No one would speak to me any longer, like smiles in passing or break room chat, I was left to my island like a leper. I could not sleep and had such a strong physical reaction that my chest seized up and I thought I was having a coronary event. The next morning, I awoke and could not move my neck, my upper arms and my upper back and chest were spasmed to the degree, that I found it difficult to get out of bed and to breathe. I called Guidewell ER Center and they met me at my car and took me back and for five hours I was tested for heart issues, x-rayed, and scanned, it was found other than personal physical issues not related but that my “ANXIETY” attack was so severe that my chest, back and neck muscles became one large spasm. The doctor’s notes stated that I should investigate and be seen for possible Generalized Anxiety Disorder or at least the onset of it. I had never had and since, have never had such an attack, which I can only believe was brought on by the nightmare I was experiencing at my work, the law firm / trust. The bottom line is; I was “forced” to resign after it was allowed to be gossiped about and I was shunned by those that had welcomed me with a smile every day. How was this able to happen to me at a law firm? When my supervisor unbelievably said to me, that she was upset she was not treated like my supervisor and overlooked, not informed until I was that HR had to ask me about a possible condition they needed to know about. I said, “This is not about you! This is about my private medical business that I shared with you, and it getting out and shared to everyone here!” It is no one’s business what my so-called conditions are unless they directly interfere with my ability to do my job description. I told the H.R. rep. that it was none of her business. I lost my breath, felt faint and the room began to get dark and hot, it was my reaction to this unprofessional and humiliating situation.
I have letters of praise from other attorneys that I had cause to work with, clients, and vendor partner personnel stating what an amazing professional I was and how lucky the Trust was to have me represent them. I have emails from two of the owners / board members, stating that I was an asset and would be missed. So I ask myself, how is this possible, that a job a I loved and was so great at, could be taken from me so easily and under these circumstances.
The clients I delt with daily were disabled, mentally unstable and very hard to deal with most of the time, especially if they were new to the Trust and acted demonstratively about their settlement funds being placed in a trust and not given to them directly. There are reasons why; for example, a one-million-dollar settlement goes into a trust and not to the recipient directly, they would loose their need based government benefits such as, SSI, Food Stamps, and Medicaid. My point being the few complaints they may have received were from clients that were verbally abusive, and I professionally stood my ground. I have a truly amazing way of defusing someone who needs to hear what they do not want to hear. I was very good at my job. After the gossip issue took place, they used those few complaints to threaten my position, ethics and opportunities in that performance review and they twisted my words. They demanded that I sign off on that review and I refused, they wanted me to agree with a lie, with “slander”, they intimidated me out of my job.
There is nothing I can do now but, I wanted to share that if something along these lines ever happens to you, take your stand, hold your ground, speak up and never let someone defame, slander, gossip, humiliate and cause you adverse physical harm by their actions in the workplace. You matter, your work and well-being matter!
I miss the work I was doing; I miss my recipients and I miss what could have been, but I have let it go and use it as a cautionary tale for others and a reminder to myself that nothing is forever, and people are not what they seem. Personally, I can only count on myself and God. As long as I breathe, I will demand excellence from my colleagues, friends and what little family I have left.
~ Yours Truly, Patsy