An endless battle with your inner self, rationalising whether the job experience is worth the constant turmoil of surviving the workplace.
There is one question that I frequently get asked by most - why have you worked for so many companies in such little time? Can you not keep a job?
At first, I was embarrassed as I knew this was not the reason. I quickly had to craft the perfect response, which was something along the lines of I naturally progressed down this career path, but I knew this wasn't the honest truth. I thought I should tell people what they wanted to hear instead of why I chose not to work there anymore.
Well, buckle in folks, here it is - the truth.
The big bad wolf:
a toxic work environment
From work, teammates, managers (even the HR manager) to the CEO, I have experienced them all.
Memories of being humiliated, belittled, devalued, and scrutinised. This drove me to tears multiple times- and left me doubting my skills even more, which now has left me with a constant question - what is wrong with me?
Ideas stolen and used to further careers - we all have been there.
I can already hear the questions- and judgment circling in your mind. Some will think - it is the business/industry we are in, or that you have experienced worse - way worse. We should accept and learn from this experience, right? Because if you had to endure it, so should others.
We could compare our war stories and drink to the multiple humiliations we lived through, or we could laugh over the random objects thrown at our heads, but I do not want to. I do not think this is a learning situation, and I refuse to believe that this is how things are supposed to be, just because this is how it has been.
I was recently told - I should take all of this as a learning experience for the day I become a manager. I would then understand what my team member was feeling - I could empathise and solve the problem. My first thought was - this is not a learning experience, and I will try my best to never have them feel like this in the first place.
So - what have I done about it?
Everything I possibly could.
These are some of the responses I received: I need to ignore it - it will go away and resolve itself. I need to adapt and learn to stand up for myself. I need to talk louder and change how I approach the situation. I need to understand how to deal with negative people and not take what they had to say to heart.
I needed to change.
Never has the issue been raised with the person who caused the damage - why? Because they are either a valuable asset or a senior that knows what they are doing. Interesting how your value as an employee is determined by someone else's worth.
Do not get me wrong
Growing in my role, learning, and my constant curiosity have been driving factors for changing some jobs. I wanted to explore the capabilities to broaden my skills, calm my curious thoughts, and better understand the structure- and the process it involves. Although I have settled on marketing, with this combined experience, I have a better understanding of how each functions- and contributes to the bigger picture.
Let's get back to it - Do you see it?
Many of us just push things aside and ignore them, as that is just how they are - you will get used to it. We do not want to address the issues that will become paramount because it is inconvenient.
Mental health in your employees will improve if they are given a safe work environment, and achieving this does not take as much as you would think. Listening and providing your employees an anonymous (or the option to be) platform to voice their concerns is a step in the right direction. Ensure that you do something about it because talking is one thing, but action - now that is something else. This does not mean you have to invest in a blanket survey - this will not help anyone. Listen to the individual needs - and find respective people that will carry through the plan in helping to assist carry out this plan.
Employees want to learn and grow with your business. It is more likely that if employees feel valued, treated fairly- and with respect - it is more likely that your business will thrive. Your employees will remain loyal and, naturally, your customers will be happy. Your staff are one of the biggest assets - it's time to treat them as such. It starts with the internal culture, which will reflect externally.
a personal thought
Some will see this as a small rant and brush it to the side, and others see the start of a revolution. You decide but choose wisely.
Employees are starting to realise their value and will challenge you or jump ship to find their place in the sun. This shift is happening. No longer will this reflect on the employee but will bring the spotlight on the company and their accountability - be sure you're not caught in the firing line.
What do you think? Do you have any experiences to share?