Friday, March 30, 2007

This Couple: Another Factor

I had another major bout of depression while working as the chief editor of a weekly newspaper. When offered this position in early 2004, I was really excited, thinking that finally I could create something original, which a translator can’t and shouldn’t do. There is no other job even now that I started with this level of enthusiasm. During about two months before the first issue was out, we had a few hiccups. But I took them in stride. The first issue was printed and we saw people reading our creation, we were elated.

For each issue, we needed advertisers. We also needed contributors, that is, information providers such as lawyer’s offices, property agents, travel agents, clinics, restaurants and so and so forth. There was an advertiser who was also happy to provide information on the services she provided. She was really pushy and even tried to supersede me, the chief editor.

After we successfully published a few issues, I noticed that our young boss mentioned this woman’s name quite often. “This idea is from her.” “She proposed this plan.” I was so irritated by her insistent attitude (and what she wrote was quite uninteresting), I told him as directly as I could that I did not want her writing published because I saw no interest in it. Nevertheless, he continued to push her ideas. It was around this point of time that I started suspecting something fishy was going on. They were even seen together at a pub, apparently dating. They chose the wrong pub. It was the place I regularly went to for drink. But no hard evidence. And the boss would hold meetings when I was absent. Was it intentional?

As time went by, my suspicion about them grew and grew although my love for the paper never waned. Working in such a condition should be tough for a non-depressive person. If you are depressive, an ordeal. In February 2005, I prepared a resignation letter. I couldn’t submit it.

The next morning, February 15, I blacked out at home. Clearly, an SOS signal. Now depression fully developed. I decided to quit.

One mistake that depressives tend to make is blame themselves too severely, perhaps even for things they have little to do with. Notifying my decision to the young boss, I blamed myself and asked him to find a new chief editor. On the night of March 8, I found an e-mail from him that accepted my resignation and what the attached file told me was tantamount to saying, “You are judged crazy medically, thus unable and incompetent to perform your work. You’re fired.” I was truly shocked and furious, and asked him very sharply if the attached document was produced with 19-century knowledge about depression.

I demanded that he void the document and he refused. I guess that he really didn’t understand what horrifying things it said. I and this young man had a few meetings to talk over the contents of the document. I remember his explanation was inconsistent with what the document said and I insisted that he provide a clear reason of his sacking me. Each of these meetings was energy consuming. I would have chosen to be calm at home. In a sense, I did great service to him because I never brought up the topic of that woman in our meetings!

Since then, I have accidentally seen her several times. At one time, she seemed apologetic. She told me that she had some knowledge of mental health but was in no position to talk to him. No position to talk to him!! Outrageous!! By then, it was clear that she and the young man were having some sort of inappropriate relationship and by doing so, they broke a very important business rule.

When they broke up, she approached the government media agency to let it know that his publication was “translating” articles of local newspapers without authorisation. At another time, she was sitting a few metres from me at a restaurant. I noticed her but ignored. Then, she passed her business card to me through the restaurant manager. The card said, “I have something to consult with you.” With my anger towards her still boiling, I didn’t treat this message seriously. The third occasion was at the same restaurant. I very reluctantly shared a table with her. She said, “All woman advertisers are now his girlfriends.” So? Shouldn't I say both of them are equally stupid and immoral?

There is a side story about this company. It was my old acquaintance who came to me with this idea of starting a paper. It was she who introduced me to the young man. She was saying to me, “It has been my dream to work with friends.” She left the company before the first issue was published.

There is a third man. But the story is still too recent. I shall write about him when I deem appropriate to do so.

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