Remember the letter-writer who was blocked from a job by someone who she’d bullied in high school? Here’s the update.
I know you didn’t solicit an update, but I felt compelled to send one. I’d written you in the spring because I was having trouble breaking into a niche industry in which a high school classmate I’d bullied was a rock star. I wanted to know if you thought apologizing would help me get a job.
At the advice of your readers, I did delete the draft of an apology email I’d had sitting in my inbox for some time. I applied for one more job with Rock Star’s company, and when I didn’t hear back, I decided it was really and truly time to look elsewhere. I found a shop in a town seven hours away that was desperate to hire someone for a paid 9-month fellowship that started in June because the candidate they’d originally extended an offer to found a full-time, permanent position. I said goodbye to my boyfriend, packed up my car and two cats, and drove to a town I’d never been to.
And I hated it. Not the work. I actually loved the work, but the town sucked. Being away from my boyfriend and my family sucked. Not being able to make friends sucked (everyone else my age was married with two kids already). I called my boyfriend every night crying. He was supposed to come visit me over Labor Day but cancelled at the last minute because he had to work. Seeing how bummed I was, a coworker offered to swap shifts with me so I could make the trip home for the long weekend. I hopped into my car after work on Friday and drove all evening, arriving at the place I’d been sharing with my boyfriend before I moved a little after 1 a.m. Well, you probably know where this was going. He was cheating on me. I was devastated. I spent the rest of the night sobbing on my sister’s couch and drove back to where I was working the next morning.
Except I couldn’t make myself get out of bed on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. I was fired after my third no call no show.
I tried to get the part-time job I’d had before moving for the fellowship back (they’d said come back anytime), but they’d found someone who was faster and more efficient than I’d been. Unable to afford a place on my own, I had to move back in with my parents. Not sure what else to do, I sent another desperate application to Rock Star’s shop. In an effort to cheer me up, my sister and my friends took me out for a nice dinner for my birthday at the end of September. This is where it goes from bad to worse. I drank too much wine at dinner and got pretty weepy. I excused myself from the table to try to put myself together … and ran into Rock Star and her husband celebrating their anniversary on the way to the bathroom.
I ended up yelling/crying at her that she’d ruined my life. I was asked to leave to leave and told I wasn’t welcome back.
That was Saturday night. I spent Sunday hungover in bed, trying to figure out how to clean up the mess I made. On Monday morning, Rock Star’s manager (the one hiring for the job I’d applied for) emailed me to let me know I’d been removed from the candidate pool. She advised me that I would not be considered for future positions at their shop … or any other in the network. That afternoon, without mentioning me or what happened at the restaurant over the weekend, Rock Star tweeted a long thread about how she’d been bullied in high school and she wishes teenagers would realize that high school ends and it does get better. She also tweeted out links to local mental health resources and the National Suicide hotline that were liked/retweeted many, many times.
So, just to recap, no job, no boyfriend, no money, no hope of ever breaking into the industry I spent five years preparing to enter. It’s hard not to feel like some of this is Rock Star’s fault, especially given how she rubbed salt in the wound after my whole world had come crashing down.
Me again. You’ve had a really hard time, letter-writer, and I’m sorry. This sucks. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is Rock Star’s fault; it makes sense that this would happen after the altercation in the restaurant. It doesn’t sound like she was trying to rub salt in the wound, just that she’s dealing with her own pain from the past. I say that not because I want to rub salt in it either, but because I hope seeing it more clearly might help you more forward more quickly.
In any case, you’re having a really tough time of it, and I’m sorry and hope things get better for you soon. Hang in there.
update: I didn’t get a job because I was a bully in high school was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.