Salaam alaikum dear readers!
It’s been a while hasn’t it? Obviously, the title of this post shares my good news of FINALLY getting a job in August 2016! Hooary! Alhumdualillah! I accepted a job offer with the local branch of an international youth shelter non-profit organization. It was a huge positive transition for my daughter, husband and myself to return to working full time after being out of the rat race for a good solid four years when you combine going through the immigration process for my husband and having a baby.
As much as I loved being home with my daughter it wasn’t good for my mental health because I needed to feel useful in a professional capacity in addition to wearing the mom/housewife hat. My marriage suffered from a lot of strain from being so poor.. it is no fun when you know that without other family members generosity you would be out on the street or in a homeless shelter. Never mind adding in the indignities of being on public assistance to ensure you have food and medical care for your family none of the social service agencies go out of their way to help you maintain or keep any shred of dignity that you had at the start of applying for help.
So the good and bad news is now we no longer qualify for Cal Fresh etc.. the bad news is that with my income coming into the house we are the working poor now living pay check to pay check and looking to save money any way we can to have a little breathing room. I highly recommend cutting coupons or using apps like Ibotta and Ebates to help save on groceries as well as sticking to non-processed foods.
Sadly, not too long after taking this job it became quickly apparent that it was a toxic work environment about 2 – 3 months in.
What is a toxic work environment you may be wondering..?
Here are some hallmarks of a toxic work environment –
1. Major communication problems.
An initial sign of a dysfunctional, toxic workplace is the prevalence of significant communication problems often across multiple areas — between employees and their supervisors, between management and departments, across different departments, with suppliers and even with customers.
In the case of where I was working – I was told my job would be essentially a program coordinator and instead it was something completely different (minding a waitlist and being told to perform program outreach without support or incentives that would get individuals to actually participate) mind you I know there is a difference between the job description that’s written and reality, however, it should not be that you are hired with the expectation of a specific role and your job is 180 degrees different from that.
- You do the work of two or three people and receive little or no appreciation.
- Coworkers steal your ideas and take credit.
- Some workers get away with things that others don’t.
- Bosses or team members deflect responsibility or project blame for failures onto others.
I had coworkers who were able to say outright mean things to other coworkers and get away with it and if anyone else would say the exact same thing they would get their heads ripped off just because that single coworker was a part of the “power clique,” which involved being liked by the Executive Director.
Failures – such as not surpassing the grant numbers or making them were blamed solely on everyone else and never on the supervisor or executive director – everyone else wasn’t doing their job or “just not a good fit,” for the organization – never once did the supervisors or executive directors ever question if they were the problem.
3. Abusive Bosses and Poisonous Coworkers
- You or others suffer sexual harassment.
- Coworkers miss deadlines and affect your productivity.
- A coworker or boss routinely tells lewd, racist or sexist jokes.
- Bosses and peers rely on fear and intimidation.
I also experienced seeking guidance on my role from my direct supervisor to be told one thing which I then implemented having been told that was the correct thing to do and then get punished for it by that supervisor a couple of days later being told it was the incorrect thing to do. I also experienced “feedback sessions,” from the executive director and my supervisor as personal dress down sessions and verbal bullying being told I had no emotions because I didn’t break down and cry in front of these abusive individuals.
4. Physical Danger
- You or others are at risk because of unsafe conditions.
- You or others have ever been threatened or assaulted.
7. Lack of Transparency
When you aren’t clear on how your performance will be measured, you’re already set up to fail.
In my case, I was set up to fail with being told I would have a co-worker who was part of the “power clique,” teaching me how to write for the upcoming reporting period and they hired me knowing that I had never written a grant report before in my life. When I asked my supervisor for support instead I was told to copy and paste the numbers for the grant into an email and send it to her and that she would send me an example to write model my writing from – I never got an example back to write to – instead she just emailed the numbers to the executive director. So, I got verbally assaulted by the executive director being told my work was shit and that I should know exactly what to do – this is one of the persons who interviewed me before hiring so she was there and knew I didn’t know how to write for a grant report or what that looked like and I reminded her of that fact and showed her the email I sent to my supervisor her response was not to apologize it was to simply send me the finished report with the comment ” this is what your work should have looked like.”
I was given a negative 90-day review and I wasn’t allowed to add anything to the review on my behalf. I asked for specific examples of what do to improve my review -and never got specifics from my supervisor. So went so far as to contact a friend who knew an experienced employment lawyer and ask for advice – and created a work plan based on that. When I emailed this work plan to my supervisor her response was this plan is poor and addresses nothing of the feedback in the review – which when I approached other coworkers and friends outside of work with a copy of the 90 day review and work plan I created they said it was great – and told me if your supervisor said what she said she just wants to get rid of you and isn’t willing to work with you.
So alhumdualillah after doing my best to fight for the job – I was fired from it after a total of 9 months on the job and I am taking a break before jumping back into the job search again.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
― Maya Angelou