I Will Do Better Than Survive [Part 1]
I was also treated badly.
Lied to, manipulated, bullied, excluded, criticised, exploited and more.
I finally forced a pay out of my notice period when they told me to make sure a woman on maternity leave didn’t return to work (they had hired a young man to permanently replace her before I joined) and to manage a person with long term mental health issues out of the business.
It nearly broke me, and I’m so glad I got out, with some money and all of my integrity intact.
Reading everyone else’s stories here has consoled me and helped to end the isolation I felt. Thanks Rob and everyone for that. But I don’t want to give my experience any more air time than I have already.
My submission is less about ‘they tried to kill me’ and more about ‘but I live’.
Here’s what I learned to get me through the aftermath of a toxic work experiences and emerge even stronger. Maybe it will help you too. I intended to write a page, and it expanded to seven pages. So this is the TLDR version and if it resonates, the full story will be out soon.
My tips for getting through the aftermath of a toxic work experience:
1. Identify your role in the situation.
What? This is not about what you did to deserve it, but the decisions, actions, feelings and responses on your part that got you into that situation and resulted in it being unbearable.
Why? To learn from the experience, make sure it doesn’t happen again, and build your confidence that your next move will be better.
2. Get positive.
What? You’ve had a rough time, but you need to shift your energy now. Try meditation and mental wellbeing to build yourself up again.
Why? Because being negative will attract more negativity. Put this experience behind you so you can move on stronger.
3. Write your Hero’s Journey.
What? A narrative based on the Hero’s Journey that takes what happened and turns it into a transformative experience including a triumphant ending.
Why? Because if you can see your experience as transformative it loses its negative power, and it’s the starting point for any awkward questions that arise in job interviews (no one wants to hear the full story)
4. Celebrate your time off.
What? Enjoy this time. Fill it with a variety of fulfilling and nurturing activities.
Why? Because this free time is a gift. And if you don’t consciously use it you might waste it. And you’ll be working again soon and then wish you’d made more of your time off.
5. Network nicely.
What? Re-connect with ex-colleagues and connect with those who inspire you, but without expectations.
Why? Because you need reminding that there are good, decent people out there, because that you’ve had decent work relationships in the past, and because they might need a friendly face too. Also, you never where your next job will come from.
6. Don’t just look for help, look for how you can help.
What? Find younger people to mentor, find a charity to support, find someone who needs a bit of help.
Why? Because it really does feel better to give than to receive. And it’s a kinder form of networking.
Wishing you all the best in the next few weeks and months.