Recently The Ellen Show was investigated due to claims of toxicity in the workplace. Having had my own go-round with a toxic workplace and being unable to speak out (Bakersfield is a giant small town and I’m terrified of retaliation), it was SO gratifying to see folks doing so. But while that WAS gratifying to see, the fact that so many felt they had to do so anonymously for fear of retaliation did not sit right with me. At all.
I just don’t think standing up for yourself should cost you your career.
Now before I go any further, know that I’m big on personal responsibility. I am very careful to own and possibly improve my actions in any given situation. As an example, when my former boss seemed to despise me even though I was doing fantastic work, I took to the Internet to find out what I could possibly do differently.
Note: Even six months after I quit that terrible place, I STILL internalized being treated like crap. I STILL thought I could’ve done something differently. Looking back, I wish I had documented every snide remark, every death stare, and every microaggression. Then I MIGHT’VE had a chance at getting unemployment. But I digress.
I kept hoping things would get better.
They didn’t. So I quit. With no notice. Not even sorry.
Anyhow, during and even after my stint at that horrible joint, I SCOURED the Internet to the Ends of the Web for advice on my situation. I read article after article with titles like, “How to Manage Up”, “Getting Along With Your Tyrant Boss”, and “Your Guide to Surviving a Toxic Workplace.”
Frankly, I wasn’t impressed with any of the articles I read. Basically your choices are get along, go to your boss’s boss (kinda hard to do when your boss is the company owner), or quit and find greener pastures. However, then you have to delicately EXPLAIN why you left to the next employer. I wrote about THAT in my very first blog, Why Are We Victim Shamed for Leaving A Toxic Employer?
Like I said in that previous blog, there are a million and one articles regarding how to deal with your terrible boss. But then, after reading about The Ellen Show, I had a realization. Actually, it was closer to an epiphany.
What if…WHAT IF…we didn’t HAVE to manage up? How about…just maybe, employers TOOK RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS?
What if that tyrannical prick (or bitch) of a boss took responsibility for their own actions, vowed to do better, and started treating their employees like human beings rather than owned livestock to be whipped at will?
It shouldn’t be up to the employee to turn themselves inside out to please some inhumane taskmaster. Ideally, it should be a two way street. I believe that it is high time that terrible, awful bosses be taken to task.
Therefore, I humbly go before the Cancel Culture Council with a request-
LET’S CANCEL TERRIBLE BOSSES AND TOXIC WORKPLACES FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL.
As Richard Branson (who I would LOVE to work for) has said,
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Mr. Branson also said, “I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised.”
If you have the notion, you can see more more quotes from this brilliant man who I greatly admire and who is one of my personal heroes, here.
I believe so as well. We shouldn’t have to “grow a thicker skin” in order to get along in the workplace. We shouldn’t have to take crap off of our supervisors and employers because “that’s just (insert name here) being (insert name here).” Honestly if I had a freaking DOLLAR for every time I’ve ever heard that, I wouldn’t HAVE to work for a living.
Wanting to be treated with common human decency isn’t being a crybaby. Standing up for yourself shouldn’t come with a fear of retaliation. Matter of fact, these two things should be normalized. Moreover, let’s normalize EMPLOYERS TREATING EMPLOYEES WITH DIGNITY, COMPASSION AND RESPECT.
Let’s ALSO normalize paying people a living wage and WHAT THEY’RE WORTH while we’re at it.
And to the employers that DO all of these things? My hat is off to you and even though I don’t work for you, I appreciate you on behalf of your very lucky and I presume happy employees. Thank you for that.
In conclusion, I’d like to drop a note to my future boss:
I’m an excellent employee with a proven track record who will work my heart out for you. You will treat me accordingly or I will be in the wind so fast it’ll make your HEAD spin. Never again will I allow shabby treatment on account of a paycheck.
Thanks for reading,