My lawyer said it was okay for me to right this anonymously, so I decided to do just that.
Let me backup...
My new position started as a job I was thankful for. Not super exciting work- but I was okay. A month in, and already, I wasn’t sure whether I was in a toxic workplace. I knew it didn’t feel good to go into work, but that’s adulting, right? Did people actually enjoy coming into work? Was I being bullied? Was I the cause of the bullying that was happening? Am I a good worker? The gaslighting was never ending.
I asked the opinion of anyone who was willing to listen to my story. I heard the people who said that I was the problem loud and clear. They sounded so much like my bullies, but I gave them space to speak anyways. I heard the people who told me I was being discriminated against, but I couldn’t always hear them over my insecurities and fears.
I was mentally and physically exhausted after listening to everyone’s opinions for more than 3 months. I was confused as fuck. Listening to everyone didn’t help me. So instead, I looked inward, and it was my gut that spoke the loudest.
I decided that if a lawyer would take my case- if her time was worth fixing this problem - then it was a challenge I wanted to take on. I spoke to two lawyers. One laughed in my face and told me to “woman up”, and one took on my case (spoiler alert, I won).
But, I’m not sharing this story to victory lap on the grave of my previous job. I’m sharing my story because it would have been a story like mine that would have given me hope during one of the most difficult years of my life.
I get goosebumps now, as I think about it all. I spent that year being bullied on a daily basis. My bullies were relentless, and getting out of bed was monumental on a daily basis. My routine consisted of me crying in my car during my lunch break, and on my drive back home while listening to “Girl” by Maren Morris.
That toxic workplace taught me SO much, but I will never be “thankful” for those experiences. It was one of the most difficult fights of my life. And I know I am a better woman/leader/human because of it, but it doesn’t take away from the trauma that came with those experiences. I find solace in knowing that my storm passed, and I survived it. Hell, I kicked its ass.
When I won my case, and left my toxic job, my gift to myself was watching Maren Morris live at the Filmore. And, while listening to “Girl”, I ugly cried happy tears that time.
So, when I heard “Girl” again yesterday, on my drive home from work, it made me reflect on the girl I was just a year ago, who felt scared and alone. It made me reflect on the woman I am now. In a workplace that brings me joy and treats me well. A place where work-life balance is embraced, and I am treated with humanity. My learning process and personality are celebrated, and I’m actually excited to go into work. It’s like the Kama Sutra of work positions. It really hits all the spots.
If you’re in a toxic workplace, I invite you to contact Ursula Adams, look into joining the SheHive's Toxic Workplace Support group, or reaching out to the SheHive's resident career coach, Heather Coleman-Voss. I did all those things, and it’s because of that, that I am in a healthy workplace I love.
Ursula was the first person who actively heard my story and made me feel seen. I was confident enough to listen to my gut after meeting with Ursula. She invited me to the Toxic Workplace Support group at the end of our meeting. The support group made me feel acknowledged and is the reason I felt empowered enough to move forward on a daily basis. I had a tribe who could listen, who understood what I was enduring because they too, were enduring similar struggles. And Heather’s coaching gave me hope for my future. They all gave me a voice at a time when everything around me was trying to silence me, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
Thank you, SheHive family <3