The Motherhood, Working Parent

Dead Men’s Shoes

I used to work in a highly stressful environment.
Not in the glamorous, busy, city life kind of sense, in the everyone I worked with was always pissed off  kind of sense. Every day there was a drama, an issue, a reason to walk on egg shells. Most of the time it didn’t even involve you directly, it was just hanging there in the air, like a nasty fart. There was always someone having a melt down or a cry or a bitch about someone or something. Sometimes that someone was me – it was the culture, cultivated by the company.
School, on steroids, on Hollyoaks. That’s the best way I can describe it to you.

I’ve written before about my experiences post maternity leave and how I relocated my balls, and eventually upped and left. I could honestly write a novel about the sexual discrimination I en-counted from the moment my pregnancy was ‘outed’. It came in all shapes and sizes from all directions, carefully hidden under cloaks of concern for my well being. From Managers dismissing me as a ’cause lost to motherhood’, already planning the most cost-effective way to dispose of me. To colleagues waiting on the side lines licking their lips, poised for the final corporate death rattle of my pregnancy.

Have you ever heard the phrase “waiting for dead men’s shoes“? 

A year on from leaving and I have so much confidence. I am just a happier person. Its not because I literally have a better job, its because I am working in a normal, healthy environment. I’m working with people who benefit from building me up, not from dragging me down. I shock myself recalling what a silly little mouse I was, what I put up with when I should have fought my corner.

When other people should have fought my corner.

And yet I wasn’t the only one, everyone was the same and the only way I can reason to it, is by likening it to Stockholm Syndrome. In that I had worked in such a hostile environment for so many years that I became conditioned to the appalling way everyone was treated. I identified so much with that place of work, that I was deeply loyal and deeply dependent upon it, often to my own disadvantage.  I tolerated verbal abuse, I tolerated the verbal abuse of others. It became a pretty normal, everyday occurrence. If it was your turn, well it was just your turn. No point arguing, it was your day to be the metaphorical punching bag and you were best advised to stand there and take it. A culture of gossiping and bitching was encouraged, senior members of staff – female and male reveled in it. If you could lay the blame at someone else’s door, well that was double points, you’d be treated like a close friend and get yourself a well earned pat on the back. The game was endless and exhausting and I wasted so much time, so much of my precious time on it.

Thank God I had a baby, got away, re-discovered my self-worth and jacked that shit in.



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  1. It sounds a bit like when I worked at a well know fast food burger place when I was 16. The drama. Oh the drama. But I was 16 and so was everyone else who knew no better. Sounds like you are well out of it x

  2. i’ve just reentered the work place after a 5 year absence and i’d forgotten how bitchy and competitive it can be,

  3. Good on you Sarah. Well done for having a baby! I dread to think what will happen if you didn’t? I hate that gossiping and bitching office culture. It is so depressing! I am so glad that you have got away from all that. Thanks for linking with us again. xx #FabFridayPost

  4. rightroyalmother says:

    Ahah … a post that could indeed have been written by me too. I left my job 5 months after returning after my first child because it was a 2hr commute away and I was miserable. Oh, and they were highly unaccommodating. Funny, that. And now I have a job I LOVE much closer to home. I think having babies makes us stronger in so many ways – I never would have had the balls to leave my first otherwise. So glad you are happier. Great post. #PoCoLo x

  5. maddy@writingbubble says:

    Sounds like a totally toxic working environment – no wonder you’re happier without it! #pocolo

  6. min1980 says:

    I literally could have written this post. In my previous job there was a stage where I had got so used to being treated appallingly that I too had stockholm syndrome. Fortunately, things had got better by the time I went on maternity leave, but I definitely enjoy my current job far more. #FabFridayPost

    1. I think it’s really common – kinda makes me feel better but then it doesn’t because it’s really appalling! Glad you are working on a better set up too! X

  7. I recall how shocked I was at the way i was treated when i had my daughter. I still feel shocked that so many women experience this kind of crap. Thanks for sharing. #PoCoLo

  8. twotinyhands says:

    Yes yes yes! I worked in a place like this for 5 years, I got out to a family job offer else where! The boss was a d**k, I stood up to him just the once right near to the end he didn’t like it he got in a right strop but he knew i was right so couldn’t come back it me! Best mini victory dance I’ve ever done! #effitfriday

    1. Haha well done you! Now write a blog post all about it ! X

  9. louisek2014 says:

    I hear you! I once had a job where I was told (as a trainee) that I looked like the type who would want babies and so I was wasting my own and everyone else’s time.

    1. Oh my god. That is horrendous! What does that even mean – that you look like the type? X

  10. I read these posts regularly especially your one on relocating balls after maternity leave. Your posts are inspiring but with none of the fluff you can usually get with that description!


    1. Thanks for reading, I wouldn’t say I’m inspiring – unless of course I inspire you to use the F word more lol!

      1. We’ll let the judges decide on that one! I really liked your piece about the benefits of transferring parenting skills of being able to multitask the shit out of everything to counter this nonsense that somehow having a baby makes women inferior workers.

  11. The Mum Project says:

    Ah this reminds me of a job long ago when I wasn’t aware of what a great company could do for you for your career. Good work leaving that place and finding your self-worth! It’s tough when you get comfortable with where you are, especially in my case they’re paying you well, but then you realise it’s just not worth your time. Our time is so precious, it flies by so we shouldn’t waste it at companies that don’t respect us, especially when you’re manager is discriminating you for having children! Don’t get me started on women in the workplace! Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

    1. Honestly my experience is so typical – drives me crazy. Although I’m pleased to report that where I work now this kinda crap doesn’t happen x

  12. Hey stopping by from #MadMidWeek.

    Your first job sounds awful! Sadly it seems very common at the moment. I know a lot of people working in jobs they hate because they feel trapped! It’s so sad! Life is far too short!


  13. Your first job sounds absolutely awful! I can kind of understand when you say Stokholm syndrome, but it’s crap and no excuse really. So glad you got out of there and are now enjoying being in a better place. #MMWBH

  14. Work have just announced some changes and I’m kind of with you on this one! Well done on finding something better and more fun 🙂

    1. Oh yeah I had that “there’s going to be some department changes, but it has absolutely nothing to do with your pregnancy”.
      Like fuck it doesn’t.
      Hope things work out for you x

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