My Experience Working in a Toxic Workplace


I wanted to talk about my experience with working in an extremely toxic workplace that I hated the entire time I was working there. It was not good for my health, and I want to talk about that today, because it's a topic I care very deeply about, and I think it's something extremely important. It's not talked about quite enough.

I got a job as a graphic designer for an eCommerce company for my first job out of college. I worked at that company for five and a half years until I was laid off via text message thirty days before Christmas. That gives you an idea, to begin with, as to what kind of a workplace this is.

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So to describe some of the things that were so horrible working there. They would scream at you in the middle of the office for nothing over just little things like if you made any mistake, you would get yelled at in the middle of the office. Our schedules would change on the fly. In the middle of the week, our schedule would change without notice. They also gave us weird hours, like, one day, I would be getting out of work at like 6:30 and then the next day would be like 8:30, and then the next day I'd be working till like 10:30. Odd hours, and the shift work is not good for your health. It's not good for anything. I mean, how are you supposed to schedule your life, and make plans with people and keep our relationships, if you're working inconsistent hours every other day?

There would be passive aggressive notes pasted around the office about having to work on Mother's Day having to work on Memorial Day. We had to sign documents that said that if we call out during our busy season that we either had to get a note from a doctor, or we could get fired. When we had Hurricane Sandy here in New York, the owner of the company called the employees' pussies for not showing up to work. There were weird signs in the bathroom that informed us how to use the toilet, really strange.

I was just absolutely miserable. I had constant anxiety about going to work every day. The way they treated their employees was just terrible. It was the kind of workplace that you never knew if someone was going to come up behind you and start screaming at you. Complete unprofessionalism. The owner of the company was a control freak, and he felt the need to micromanage every little thing that happened within the company. The only reason I stayed there for so long, was because of the money. I started with low pay; I was only making $12 an hour out of college. But over the course of working there, I did receive several raises. Looking back at it now, I don't know that was worth it. I don't know if staying at a toxic job I hated was worth my mental health. Mental health in the workplace can be a lot more dangerous than you think. "Job stress in the United States costs US employers, more than $300 billion annually, and may cause, up to 120,000 excess deaths per year" according to the book Dying For A Paycheck by Jeffrey Pfeiffer. That's pretty serious, stress kills. And job related stress is also one of the many things contributing to the rising health care costs in this country according to the book.

My boss at that company ended up gaining depression, throughout my time working for the company and had to be put on depression and anxiety medication because he couldn't take it anymore. He also started having some heart-related health problems.

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Looking back on it now, I wish I would have left that job sooner. If you're working in a toxic job like that, then I highly recommend getting out of there as soon as possible. I know that's easier said than done, I know people have bills and that's the reason I stayed for so long is that I had bills. But at the same time, it's important to be stable and have a healthy work-life balance. It's also important to do what you love. I just wanted to make a quick article talking about this because another reason why I started Underpaid Clothing because I want to take a stand against companies like this.

Let's start the conversation, are you, or have you ever worked in a toxic work environment? What are some of the things that are toxic about your workplace? Let's talk about it down in the comments.