Responding to this article from Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global which syndicated the article originally written from The Ladders (I think it’s some job search site?).
The Workplace is Killing Us
This is not news and it’s not advice..it’s pure opinionated dribble that filters the internet.
Yes, toxic work environments are definitely out there and there is truth to this, but it is also not the full story and very one sided.
Example: “If your employees were not exhausted, they would not need to take a nap,” – 9 times out of 10, it’s because you ate too much for lunch.
This is a very subjective topic and a lot of the time it’s not associated with work, but personal health and or lifestyle which your employer should not be responsible for. Come on. Otherwise you would have employers putting out job ads saying that “if you have this disease or symptom we cannot hire you.” or “If you don’t live a fit lifestyle, please do not apply”. They aren’t allowed to ask or pass judgement based on this (in many countries).
This also doesn’t mean they should be responsible for you and how you take care of yourself or you end up looking at a job as a “safety net”….and this becomes even more ridiculous if you are American because many Americans are screaming about “don’t turn this country into a bunch of socialists”..even thought this is EXACTLY what you want! (maybe not all of you)
The actual toxic part is not because of too much work, it’s the break down of corporate culture which takes a nose dive the larger a company becomes and you get sub-cultures, which push and pull each other (politics). This is real social pollution because it defines everything we do and gives us borders that we are not allowed to cross and those that are …I don’t want to say it, but..for lack of a better term, control freaks, are able to stay within these lines, but those more creative ones that like to move outside the box, feel trapped..and this is why may people feel stressed.
I can’t do that? If I do this, then I could get in trouble or fired….no..I better not. etc etc
Politics is something that needs to operate in a framework and it is necessary to keep the ship running, but because of the framework, it draws lines in the sand and keeps people at bay in order to maintain control over the entity as it grows (the company). This is probably why the Gore Technique (referencing “the Tipping Point” was/is so successful.
I do agree that poor management does decrease productivity and it doesn’t help that the founder or leader of your organization can’t do it right.
Choices and Decisons
Remember this, you always have choice, but because of the decisions you made in your life, you put yourself in a situation where you may NOT have a choice or a situation where the only choices are all crap.
As one Salesforce marketing executive in the book put it, “You have all this shame and embarrassment because you are stressed and think it’s you. I felt like my brain literally did not work. I literally could not remember conversations ten seconds later.”
I think we’ve all, at one point in our lives, been in this situation and it sucks. This is where you victimize yourself and think it’s all your fault. At this point you need to evaluate if this is as a result of poor management or, you just aren’t good at your job and you need to improve because it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you just got lazy and or too deflected from your work (maybe you partied too much, too many familial obligations…shit year all together).
Self Awareness and Being Honest With Yourself
The key here is you need to be COMPLETELY honest with yourself. It’s fear of being honest with yourself that throws you into a depressive tailspin. I know..I’VE BEEN THERE.
There’s really nothing you can do about poor management (everything from overloading you with work because they are too cheap to hire more people, misallocation of resources to just plain disrespect) except – plan your escape.
By this time, you probably had your say or everyone knows it, but no one is doing something about it, so it’s going to stay the same. This is the time to network and improve yourself. No one will do it for you. Again, be honest with yourself…find out what is really keeping you at the job and ask “is this really worth it?”.
A job is like a relationship….in fact, let me give you a story that happened to me.
I have 2 friends Bob and Sara (not their real names). They were together for more than 7 years and Sarah’s friends always asked her “why are you still with this guy?”. Before, she said, the good times are good and the bad times (3-4 times a year) are really shit, but it’s worth it..
5 years down the road….”I’ve put this much investment into this relationship, I don’t want to see it go to waste.
7 Years later – he asked her to marry her….by this point she got tired of his shit, but said yes, because he asked her in front of about 200 people and didn’t want to embarrass him.
I told her that this is about you. Is this worth it? Do you want to live the rest of your life like this because nothing more is being brought to the table from his side. BTW, I’m a brutally honest person.
By the 10th year, she had one last hurrah with him and left. Now she’s quite happy and well balanced. This could have been her 5 years before….If we lived forever, this wouldn’t matter, but our lives are limited…5 years is a lot.
Employers are people too…some are good and some are bad. Boyfriends and Girlfriends are people as well…some good and some bad – or is it that you’re only wanting to work for the bad ones too? 😎 This means that they learn lessons as well….or so we hope…if they don’t learn..bad employers will keep being bad, but this time, if people smarten up, they won’t be in business.
Don’t let bad employers shape you…you need to shape them.
Ego is the voice telling you that if you were any good, you could put up with the demands and the stress. It’s the one taunting you that quitters are weak. It’s the inner voice that says you could tough it out one more quarter, one more year. Pfeffer interviewed one General Electric executive who said his bosses would ask him, “Aren’t you good enough to be a GE leader?” when he felt doubts.
There is a FINE line between ego and pride. Again, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, is this the best I can do. You’re the one that knows your own limits. If it is and you stay, then it’s ego. There are exceptions to every rule..like a family business..that’s a toughy.
To escape this tunnel vision, Pfeffer says that we have to stop accepting the unacceptable and leave toxic work situations, no matter the company prestige or how interesting the work is to do.
Agreed. IF you can change the situation, then change it, however, if getting to your goal seems impossible and it is literally out of your hands and you can’t control it, then it’s time to move on.
Unfortunately, these sites seem all about traffic and does not allow for discussion, I feel they sideswipe people into accepting what they write as fact…to me, that’s just wrong. I believe the the strategy here is to bring the discussion from the social platform to the article, then back again to discuss….that’s assuming you initially found the article on this platform because if you didn’t, those potential discussions would be lost…..this is a discussion for another time and another article!
I am more than happy to have a healthy discussion on this topic….podcast, video..whatever.