As children, our teachers often ask us what we want to be when we grow up. Whether it be to inspire our developing minds or spark creativity in us, the bottom line is that it is based on the pretense that, as adults, we must all work.
While we jumped back and forth between becoming teachers, police officers, soccer players, or makeup artists, we often looked at our future careers with hope and excitement. The younger version of ourselves did not realize all the stress and repercussions that could come with this part of adulthood.
Unfortunately, toxic work environments have become a norm. In a recent study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, “research on large U.S. employers found that approximately 1 in 10 workers experience their workplace culture as toxic.”
An imperceptible yet definite change
Working in a toxic work environment comes with consequences you may not even realize. It has been found that “high job demands, low job control, high effort-reward imbalance, low relational justice, low procedural justice, role stress, bullying, and low social support in the workplace are associated with a greater risk of developing common mental health problems.”
Are we seriously allowing a job that would replace us in a second to affect our lives this much? Sadly, toxic work environments seem to be trending nowadays. Whether it be due to corporate greed or employers using their employees’ financial necessities as an exploitation tool, it has become way too common.
My previous job was probably one of the most toxic I have ever had. There was absolutely no respect from management. Our performance was measured by how much money we made and not on patient care (did I mention this was in healthcare? Osea.) The turnover rate? Astronomical.
I was expected to do the job of 5 people alone, and it wasn’t long before I started cracking under pressure. The stress overwhelmed me to the point that I would cry on my way to work. They would expect us to bend at their every will, even scheduling us to work on Saturdays, even though that was not a part of our original agreement.
Patients were always aggressive because the company’s politics was shady, to say the least, and we were always running behind schedule due to being perpetually understaffed.
All of these experiences completely changed me as a person. I felt burned out, and my personal life suffered. I would get home to simply lie down in bed and watch TV or mindlessly scroll on social media. I wouldn’t eat, clean, or take care of myself — I was at my lowest. The lines between my personal and professional life became so blurred that I was absolutely miserable — all day, every day.
However, one day, after probably the worst day I ever had at work, I built up the courage to put in my resignation. My limit was pushed so far that day that I could quite frankly care less about the consequences.
I became a proud member of the “Great Resignation.” Now, I am outspoken. I have set firm boundaries. I do not allow anyone to take advantage of me at work and I always advocate for my rights. Stop thinking about this outdated advice of “not burning any bridges.” Burn the damn bridge if that means standing up for yourself.
Because if it does not sit right with me, then I don’t want it. Respectfully.