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I think I suddenly realised why I have such a problem with this workplace.

Yesterday, as someone made yet another innuendo, I said it was like the moment in Friends when Joey makes “grandma’s chicken salad” sound dirty.

“You’ve used up your TV quota for the week,” my boss said nastily, before flouncing out.

Now anyone who knows me knows I love to quote TV shows, I love to do impressions and voices. I’ve always had an uncanny knack for imitation and it makes people laugh. I realised then, with that and several other examples, that this place was slowly breaking me down piece by piece and removing the things which made me, me.

The fact I love to do TV quotes.

What I like to wear.

My hobbies.

My leisure time.

All the things I prize and value I realised that this company was leeching and sucking away from me.

I’d heard that agencies like to break you down and rebuild you, but it was the subtlety with which it was being done that shocked me. I realised that I was slowly turning into their automaton, that eventually I would be as broken as the people who worked all hours of the day and night, not because they were doing it for advancement or for their own gains, but because they had simply been programmed to. The way a dog can be whipped, collared and leashed into submission.

The whole thing makes me shudder. I’ve always been different, and it has taken me most of my life so far to be OK with that.

It’s not even like I was doing something disruptive or wrong, it’s just that he felt the need to silence me that spoke volumes. I think more and more I’m realising that this environment isn’t right for me. The learning curve has been huge, yes. But at what cost?

When the price is your very essence, the stuff that makes you, you? That’s too high.

When the cost is my social life and the feeling of actually having any purpose whatsoever, that’s too high.

When the cost is my health and sanity, that’s too high.

People in London these days often act like work is life. We don’t spend our lives pursuing what makes us happy or even what brings us some semblance of satisfaction. People spend it drafting reports and writing emails. They spend it, oftentimes, making the illusion of work and stress which then becomes real work and stress. They manifest it and so therefore it becomes their reality.

I will hold on until my probation period is over and then see what they offer in terms of advancement. If it does not fit my wishes then I will leave. I can be strong.

Perhaps that’s the part of me that they don’t have yet.

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