I worked for a company I truly loved for four years and it was a wonderful experience, but towards the end, the environment grew incredibly toxic and I knew I had to get out. Taking the leap ended up being the best decision I ever could have made.
This job came to me when I needed it most. It was such a blessing at the time. After graduating college, I felt like my talents and skills were finally appreciated. Not only that, but this job was all about creating a positive environment. “Positive energy” was basically the slogan for this company. I truly enjoyed going to work each and every day.
I made a bold move. After being with the company for almost three years, I put in for a transfer across the country. It was a dream of mine to live down south and I figured this was the perfect opportunity to take the plunge while staying with my company. Moving to a new place was pretty eye-opening. I realized that part of the reason I loved my job so much was because of the people I worked with in my old city. The people in my new city didn’t embrace the positive message quite like my previous co-workers had.
I liked my new manager… at first. When I first met my manager, we got along great! I enjoyed her company. She was a fun person to work with and talk to. She was a bit harsh but I figured that was her management style. At my old store, I was known as “the hammer,” so it was nice to take on a different style of management at this store.
My manager turned out to be verbally abusive. The way she spoke to our employees was downright deplorable. She was mean and rude. It made me very uncomfortable but I felt kind of stuck. I didn’t feel that confident going higher up for fear of retribution. Yes, I know that laws say this can’t happen, but we all know it does.
She was incredibly strict. While she’d never been abusive to me, she was very strict—too strict, in my opinion. She was a stickler about days off. She basically said no just because she could. It was like she enjoyed being in power and watching people suffer. I actually missed an important event because of her. I obviously lived far away from home, and when I requested time off to attend the wedding of a close family friend, it was denied. There was no reason it should have been. I had plenty of vacation time to use and we had the staff to cover it. She “couldn’t make it work.” I was devastated.
I started looking for other jobs. Prior to that incident, I had started looking for other jobs. I didn’t enjoy my work environment one bit. Plus, I wanted to get a career in my field. I’d recently completed my Master’s Degree in Marketing and was seeking a job in social media. I could only hope something would come up soon.
Things turned toxic all of a sudden. I was starting to discover that my manager wasn’t as much of my friend as I thought she was. She was spreading rumors about me and talking poorly about me to other employees. For a long time, I had wondered why I didn’t get along with much of the staff and then I realized why: she was talking crap about me behind my back. I think she was probably jealous. Frankly, I was good at my job. Strike that, I was damn good at my job and she resented that. I came off to corporate looking great. She justified being a terrible employee by speaking poorly about me. Wonderful.
I feared going to work each day. Some days working with her were bearable. Other days, she was on a tirade. I never knew which person she would be and it made me very uncomfortable. I often left work in tears.
I couldn’t go home for Christmas. This was really what did me in. I asked to take time off to see my family for Christmas. The previous year I was there, I worked on Christmas Eve, left that day to fly home, and spent some time with my family. There was no reason I shouldn’t have been able to do it again, but she wouldn’t let me. For the first time in my entire life, I wouldn’t be spending Christmas with my family. Heartbroken isn’t strong enough of a word for how I felt.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I was so tired of living this toxic lifestyle. A job I once loved became one that I absolutely dreaded. I had been trying tirelessly to find a new job. Nothing was working. I’d taken up some freelance social media and writing work on the side to help me gain experience and that ultimately became my ticket out of there.
I handed in my two-week notice with a very unstable future ahead of me. The few freelance gigs I had wouldn’t cover my loss from this job, but that didn’t matter. I submitted my resignation on the hope that I would be able to gather enough gigs to make up for it. With more time, it should be a breeze. Plus, I had vacation time saved up that I was paid out. It didn’t matter that I was losing my healthcare benefits either. I had to make it work.
I felt so free. Handing in that letter was my most freeing moment. I won’t lie: I was terrified, but I felt a weight lifted off me. On my last day, I felt like I could breathe again. I knew in my heart this was absolutely the best choice.
Fate stepped in. A few days after my last day at that job, I had an interview for a social media role. Long story short, I got the job! It was a work from home position (my dream) and I would make enough to cover my living expenses. Was it less than what I had been making? Yes. But that didn’t matter. I secured my dream job just in the nick of time.
It was the smartest and dumbest decision I ever made. I never thought I would be the kind of person to quit a job without another one lined up, but it had to be done. I couldn’t keep up feeling stressed each day in that kind of environment. Ultimately, it pushed me in the direction I had been striving to be on for so long. I took the plunge and it all worked out. It pays to be brave.
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