I finally let the warm tears stream down my face as I hid in the comfort of the closed door of the cold bathroom stall. It was comforting. It felt like the tiny space was holding me, keeping from completely breaking down. I am not the type of person to lose her cool. This was only the 2nd time in 2.5 years on this job. Yes, I said job. I have let a job I hate stress me out so much I had a nervous breakdown.
But why? Why do we let our jobs get to us? Hell, some even brag about how stressful their job is. The more stressful it gets the more awesome they feel; they feel more like they are doing something with their lives. Let me break it to you, you can do something that matters without losing your cool.
I mean if you think about it most of us who work under stress are working to achieve someone else’s dreams. I am working 45 hours a week doing something I never wanted to do because this one corporate managed to convince me and 8000 others that we are awesome just for working there and that everyone else wants to be us. I cried for working for a corporate which in 10 years won’t appreciate the years I put in and ask me nicely to leave because they want to reduce their budget and replace me with a younger model.
As I hid in the comfort of the cold bathroom stall, I have made the decision to not waste anymore time of my life doing something I hate for a corporate that won’t appreciate it. From now on I am on the hunt for something that I love, something that matters to me and makes a difference. I will let go of the prestige and status for the sake of my own mental health.
Ever since I started my first job I have gotten used to being a minority. It started when I worked part-time during college and then when I joined a major multinational corporate full-time. No, I do not come from a different ethnic or religious background than the majority of my colleagues, I am simply a woman. I was the first female to join my team (I work in Marketing, not a job that requires physical power women don’t have) and even when another joined, we were two girls in a team of 10. I have gotten used to being the only girl in a meeting of 8.
It was good at first, I have always worked with men so it was no issue. And I even loved the possibility of wearing the same outfit a million times and go to work with my messy hair and they wouldn’t even notice that anything was wrong with it.
But what I was okay with was no longer okay; it was no longer okay when I found that I have to work twice as hard as my male colleagues to be noticed, when I had to raise my voice a million times louder to be heard, when I was not considered for projects because I am a young girl who can’t join them during work meetings that took place late at night in that local cafe (el-ahwa) where men only are allowed. I was simply forgotten.
But let me break it to you, I am just as good as this guy who didn’t have to fight for the same promotion I had to fight for months to get. I am just as a capable, maybe even more qualified for that project you handed the new guy instead of me.
This is to all the women I work with, who are overlooked, ignored just because one day they may need a maternity leave. This is to all the women I know who are more capable than many men who have easily taken their jobs. Raise your voice, fight for what you deserve.