I left my toxic workplace, found a much better job, and never looked back!
If you’re here it’s likely because you have seen my posts and videos on Instagram and TikTok, depicting bits and pieces of why I left my job. Though I haven’t given my full story, I want to finally share it.
For personal reasons, I will not disclose the name of the company nor the names of my bosses, people I worked with, etc. But I will go into detail of my encounters, my experience and why I left. Also, I will briefly speak about what I did to redeem myself by negotiating my way to a better job and much better place to work.
So the job I worked at started out great; as do most jobs, though that isn’t always the case. Looking back, I can confidently say the 1st year was entirely a “honeymoon phase”. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s basically where the employer is super nice because you’re new, they come off as great to work, maybe even make accommodations for you. Everything seemed great, until… it wasn’t.
Pretty much overnight, my boss started expecting more, started micromanaging, and suddenly I was not doing things exactly how they liked it. I had to make all these changes on very tedious stuff that they had never took issue with before. It wasn’t just with me, it seemed to be the whole office. However, all my coworkers and I felt targeted. We felt targeted individually, in slightly different ways. One person was told do something entirely different from what was being told to another. Communication was very bad and unprofessional. Management would suddenly ask us why we weren’t doing things a specific way, even though we had never been told of the change or instructed of that specific process. We would respond saying we were happy to do it that way, but management would still badger us as to why we weren’t doing it that way already. It was truly bizarre. My co-workers and I constantly felt frustrated with management.
Other things such as the vast differences in pay among colleagues, discussing other employees personal lives in meetings, impromptu and disorganized meetings where different managers would want things done in entirely different ways, and encouragement to work on the clock or during your lunch; are just a few examples of the toxicity of this workplace environment. I could go on and on.
A few specific incidents are what truly started to make me question things, although I would be lying if I said I wasn’t already questioning things from the beginning.
At one point in my employment with this company, there was a point where I felt like I was doing the work of multiple people and was basically expected to. I felt as though I couldn’t bring up something to management without them thinking I was just another employee complaining. In reality, I was calling them out for things that were not correct but they didn’t want to address it. They would somehow find a way around it. Gaslighting me, as most would call it. They would ask me to train a new coworker entirely. (Um isn’t that a supervisor’s job?) In reality, that should be my supervisors job not an employees job. If you want me to fully train a newbie, then you need to pay your employee to do so. Being a full trainer was not listed in my job duties. *Queue checking your boss.* When I would bring up constructive concerns about another employee I would always express that I want that employee to succeed and offer solutions to any issues. Although they would either come back with a response somehow turning it on me or just not respond at all. When I tell you they made me feel like I was the problem all the time, they really did, and it was infuriating. Especially when I spoke to others about this. Especially when I started doing research on toxicity in the work place, poor management, etc. It was mind boggling. And it really opened my eyes.
An employee should always feel comfortable coming to their management with any issues. An employee should into feel scared to go to a manager nor scared to go to HR in fear of retaliation. An employee should not be made to feel as though their opinion does not matter. An employee should not be doing the work of 3 people along with supervisor level work and not get paid to do so. An employee should be told to train the new person while the supervisor does absolutely nothing. A supervisor should not vent to an employee about how much work they have and ask then to just do this one thing. Management should not make employees feel less than or not valued. An employee should not have to endure emotional and verbal abuse. An employee should not find out on their very last week working there that they could take (2) 15 mins breaks on top of their 30 minute lunch, even though we were NEVER told that nor given that the entire 4 years working there. And then the supervisor act like they told you you could and send you some paragraph from CA law. (Yea, that actually happened on my last week.) The list goes on.
An employee should feel and do the following
An employee should feel like they can do their job safely and without feeling less than. An employee should be given an outline of their duties and any expectation on the 1st day of work. If any additional expectations or duties should arise, then you should hold a proper meeting with that employee to discuss these and to also discuss compensation for the additional work. If a manger tells you they just need you to help the team or take one for the team…No. Just no.
When I decided to quit
I finally had had enough of the toxic environment I was in. It was taking such a tole on my mental and physical health. I was so unhappy and I was bringing that unhappiness home with me. It was so draining! I was constantly tired, and not in a good mood and not as present as I wanted to be with my family. I was depressed and chugging caffeine everyday which also was making my anxiety worse. I decided one day to start looking for jobs. So I started to apply to places, heavily. I figured what did I have to lose. I would either stay stuck at the toxic job or eventually find something better. Eventually I found a job and it was great. Like really great! Much better pay, much better benefits, better hours, closer to home…everything is great about my current job.
The day I went to my bosses to give my notice was the day that clarified even more for me how little gave a shit about me. After all my hard work I poured into that company, after all the stress they put me through, all the toxicity, gaslighting, they just were like ok well we wish you luck. It just made me feel THAT much better about my decision to leave. I wasn’t excepting anything from them. What’s even better, is what followed!
Our bosses had no idea that several of us were job hunting and wanting to get the hell out of there after we had all felt underpaid, overworked and tired of their BS and empty promises. So guess what happened after I left? My coworker put in her notice and then a couple months after that, another one gave their notice. Just like that, their 3 best workers left. Three workers who gave their all and were willing to help the company grow, but management didn’t care to recognize it. And I knew they were all leaving well before my bosses did.
Just before I left, I started telling my colleagues how much I made there. Turns out I was making more than most of them. Throughout my time there, I had fought for salary increases for myself. My coworkers were shocked and I’m pretty sure they were pissed. We all did very similar work and should have all been compensated equally. They knew. I was just as upset as they were that were not getting paid a higher amount. I told them how much I was making at my new job and how I had negotiated an even higher pay rate than what was initially offered to me. I was so proud of myself but I also wanted the same for them. I wanted them to thrive and work somewhere where they felt appreciated, valued, respected, and well compensated.
What I learned
I learned so much from that experience and even from other previous toxic workplaces. I learned I deserved so much better. I had a lot of experience and should be compensated well for it. I am no longer settling, and I am no longer exceeding expectations. When you exceed expectations, suddenly that becomes the expectation and that is where so many people go wrong! Go to work, do you work, and do it well. But there is no need to work yourself to death. Absolutely make sure you have a great work/life balance. Clock in, do you work, clock out, and go fucking enjoy your life! Work for a company that values a work/life balance, these companies do exist. Work for a company that compensates well. I now make almost $4 more than what I was making, I now get bonuses, I now get a Pension for life and I will be so set at retirement. I also now have an incredible amount of vacation and PTO/Sick time. And you know what the best part is? I am doing less work than ever, and not stressed! I worked hard for this, I put up with so many years of BS, toxicity, and terrible, inexperienced managers. But here I am now. My lead, my manager, my assistant director are all incredible to work with and for! They treat me and all employees as part of the team, not less than. They value our opinions and input and ask for it often. They support us in all aspects of the job. They encourage us to take time off, and to take time off for our kids.
When I tell people I’m happy, I’ve never meant it more than I do now. Sure, every job will have it’s share of issues. So far I love everything about my new job. I encourage others to do the same. I like to encourage others to leave toxic environments and to stand up for what they deserve. This was all quite an experience over the last 5-6 years of my life. But I learned so much and am now a better person and in a better place because of it. I hope my story inspires you in the same aspects, to be in a career that values you, and to be happy in your workplace, even if it’s not your dream job. We should all work somewhere where we, at the very least, feel content with the environment and the team.
(More detailed articles on this subject at Gentwenty)