People Are Sharing The Moments They Understood Their Workplace Was “Toxic” (30 Stories)Interview With Author
There’s no such thing as the ‘perfect’ workplace, but that’s not an excuse not to make life better for your colleagues. And it certainly doesn’t excuse creating a toxic atmosphere that makes employees disillusioned and forces them to burn out and quit.
Life coach Lindsay Hanson asked her followers to share the moment that they realized their workplace was toxic and problematic, and wow, did the responses flood in. These blew our minds with how much they remind us of the Corpo culture in ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ (you’d better believe all of us are living the dystopian nightmare). Upvote the stories that left the biggest impressions on you and share your own workplace moments that left you shocked by how far from ok things were.
Eddy Ng, the James and Elizabeth Freeman Professor of Management at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, told Bored Panda that employees might be able to look into workplace health and safety regulations for help if their managers and HR aren't responsive to details about harassment or bullying. "Many jurisdictions are beginning to include mental health under workplace and occupational health regulations." Read on for our full interview with Professor Ng, as well as for our in-depth chat with Lindsay.
When I called to inform my boss that I was unable to come in due to my 4-month-old daughter being kidnapped, they threatened to fire me because it 'sounded dramatic'.
I had a manager when I worked at McDonald's who was harassing me over something that was not in my control to the point where a customer told her to stop.
When I was giving birth, I got a call from my boss asking if I was gonna have my report turned in and if I was coming back the following day.
Lindsay told Bored Panda that she believes that each and every one of us is responsible for setting the boundaries for what we're willing to tolerate. Whether or not you have the support of HR, you still have the option to talk to your superiors about any situations that make you uncomfortable or set your alarm bells ringing.
"If you feel that there's nothing you can do to change the situation and the company or people involved are unwilling to change, then you have to decide whether you're willing to stay in that environment or not," she told Bored Panda. Lindsay added that whether or not you should stay and try to change your organization for the better depends entirely on you. "A good question to ask yourself is, even if this toxic situation were to change, would I still want to work here?"
In Lindsay's opinion, we all have two options: choosing to find happiness (or contentment, at least) in the position you're in now or looking for a way out. And we shouldn't feel imprisoned by the fact that there's a global pandemic going on. "The idea that you can't change your situation due to the pandemic is very limiting. There are still companies hiring. There are still ways to make money on your own. There is always a way to change your current situation—telling yourself you're stuck feels very limiting," she said.
I went to leave on time, and I was asked if I was working a half day. My manager's argument was that if I could leave on time, I clearly didn't have enough work, and I should be working late every single night.
My senior at my first assignment required the young female members of staff to give up half their lunch break for BIBLE STUDY so that we could "learn our place".
I was pregnant and working at Subway and my coworker had a heat stroke because they wouldn't fix the air conditioning. I had to work around him passed out on the floor with EMTs trying to wake him up because the owner wouldn't close the store. Instead of fixing the air for me to be safe with my unborn child, all the owner did was say, 'Hey, good job getting through that.'
"Again, it comes back to what you're willing to tolerate. You can do everything in your power to bring attention to the toxic situation and attempt to change it. And at the end of the day, you always have control over your own mindset, how you're reacting to the situation, and how much you let it affect you."
Meanwhile, Professor Ng from Bucknell University explained that if the problems in the workplace concern derogatory comments (like unwanted or unwelcome jokes), a human rights complaint might be the right course of action. "Employers (managers and HR) can be held responsible for inaction," he told Bored Panda.
"If repeated complaints about the toxic workplace to the manager or HR fall on deaf ears, then it is indicative that the employer is not taking the concern seriously and it's the cue that you should switch employers/workplace," Professor Ng pointed out that there comes a limit where an employee should take charge and make major career changes.
I went to go tell my boss and said that I had finally planned my wedding and my honeymoon. She told me, 'No, that's not gonna work for us' because it's on a certain date that our magazine gets published — even though I had told her more than six months in advance. I was a salesperson, so my job was done by the time the magazine gets published.
When I worked at a daycare and a one year old was left outside in the cold FORGOTTEN for 30 minutes and his teachers weren't reprimanded at all and the parents weren't notified.
Or maybe when the teacher threw a water bottle at an infant in his crib because he woke up and she wasn't ready to deal with him yet.
I had two bosses. One of them told me to my face during a company outing that I would never get the promotion I wanted unless I slept with one of them because "that's how corporate works" I told him that didn't work for me, and later found out he and my other boss were sleeping with various other coworkers of mine.
However, you should also look out for signs that the organization is responding to feedback as well. "If management makes an effort for change, then it would be an opportunity to assist with that change," he said that some organizations address systemic discrimination and engage with their employees while some others do not.
Professor Ng told Bored Panda that choosing to quit is a tough decision that depends on a person's ability to switch employers based on their financial situation, life stage, ability to adapt, and other things. "This is also exacerbated by the pandemic. If the toxic environment becomes a health concern and the employer is not responsive, you can quit and sue the employer for constructive dismissal," he said.
We were at a company festival, and my then-boss had taken a bunch of drugs the night before, so I think he was still high the next morning. We were all chilling by the pool, and he shared with me that he was dying of cancer. I had a sister who had passed two years earlier, so being the sympathetic person I am, I started to give him advice. He then turned around and said, 'I'm just f**king with you.' I quit a month later.
When I was trying on a menstrual cup for the first time, and I bled through my pants. I was two hours away from home, so no one could bring me pants. I wasn't allowed to leave, so I had to work a 12-hour shift in bloody pants. It was disgusting.
I got fired for asking if Iwas going to be paid. I was shorted 15 hours on my last check.
"Generally, it is easier to look for another job while you are still in one, so you don't have to explain gaps in employment or past problems with a prospective employer," the professor stressed that we should think about switching jobs strategically, even if we're in a tough spot emotionally.
Meanwhile, switching careers might call for a break to "take stock, engage in career planning, and exploration and transition to new careers," Professor Ng said about the importance of retooling and adapting if we switch lanes.
Lindsay touches on a variety of different topics in her podcast, so give her a listen if you’re in need of some self-help advice (personally, I’m a fan of shorter podcasts like hers because I have the attention span of a fruit fly). Back in 2018, Lindsay did what a lot of people secretly dream about: she quit her job and went all-in on her passion project.
When I was in college I worked at a tanning salon. Like most out of state students I flew back home for winter break. So I gave my PTO a month and a half in advance so she knew that I would be gone. It was cool, nothing was ever said. I come back after New Years. I was an opener so I got to the salon, logged onto the computers, and another employee comes in and goes "did they not tell you???". Apparently my manager terminated me while I was back in Ohio and just never informed me. Still had my store keys, alarm codes, safe key. And she just never sat me down to collect them from me.
At my first serious workplace literally every male manager sexually harassed every single female that worked there.
When I was an au pair, and I got ticket by expired car inspection my 1 month in USA. And the family blame me by using their car in my free time as we agreed before because apparently if I used the car only for professional purposes police would not see the invalide date of inspection.
In Lindsay's case, she said ‘goodbye’ to her accounting job and started an online coaching business. “I had no idea how to make it happen, but I knew I was made for more and I was committed to creating a life of freedom doing work I love and serving others,” she writes on her website.
According to her, having your own business gives you a lot of freedom, such as setting your own schedule, being able to work from home, and traveling when you want. In her opinion, she’s impacting the world and won’t have to wonder about not going for her dreams when she’s old and gray.
Now, Lindsay helps other women “overcome the self-doubt, fear of judgment, and money struggles that hold them back from launching their biz.”
The GM at my old job pressured me to take a management job. I ended up getting so much better than him that he would continuously stalk me on the cameras and once he got the opportunity, fired me during COVID.
My boss frequently punished people by cutting their hours/shifts. So eventually it was my turn on the game of hours roulette and when the person she gave my hours to no showed to the shift she had the audacity to call and text me multiple times to try and get me to fill in.
When my daughter got a rash from a medication that could have been deadly and the owner told my office manager to write me up for missing time. After talking to the owner he told me her medical condition didn't seem that serious and probably wasn't a big deal. Even though I told him about her condition in my interview and explained I could miss time.
Of course, there’s a flip side, too—quitting your job or taking your first steps as an entrepreneur can be stressful, challenging, and might make you feel like you’re in way over your head. Even if you’ve got Lindsay and the entire internet full of self-help advice to help you out.
That’s why the decision to quit or stay at your job is a deeply personal one that makes you ask some of the hardest questions in life. Are you happy and do you feel like your work has Purpose with a capital 'P'? Should you tough it out in your toxic workplace or have you had enough? Is it wise to switch jobs in the middle of a global pandemic? Will you be able to support your loved ones without this job? Do you have what it takes to chase your dreams? What will you do if you crash and burn—what’s your Plan B?
Everybody deserves to feel fulfilled at their jobs. But it can be an uphill struggle, there’s no two ways about it.
My boss thought it was a 'joke' to call me by my birth name every single day, rather than my chosen name.
One time I heard the owner of the store comment that he prefer hiring women because they did not talk back.
The men get paid more without having to fight for the raise.
1. They fired someone via a WhatsApp group chat.
2. I overheard a general worker get yelled at (from across the hall) for asking for a lunch break.
When only the females were allowed to be cashiers, and the males were only allowed to bag and push carts.
My bosses tried to make me feel so guilty about joining the military and that I was a bad mom for leaving my kid. They also would make me feel guilty for calling out while my kid was sick. They were informed I didn't have a backup childcare when I was hired.
When I asked my senior to come eat lunch, he said he can't because he didn't want people to see him taking a lunch break.
One time I was talking to customers and my headset fell out and my manager thought I was purposely ignoring her so she storms over, puts headset back on me and said "Do not ever ignore me again" and proceeds to shove me into fitting rooms.
I am a nurse. I had a patient take a pictures of me. I told my unit manager and he said "If you were my nurse I would admire you just as much".
Where to start...
1. Expecting me to pick up everyone else's slack on top of mine.
2. Picking favorites.
3. The manager blantly ignoring me after I told them no to coming in early.
4. Taking someone else's word over mine. I'm sure there's more, but these are the one that bug me most.
People asked me for the first month "did they yell at you yet". Also one morning my boss was so mad he couldn't log into his computer he just took his keys and threw them across office and made a mark on his office door.
A month in a training for my new job and my manager told me to go and change a halogen light bulb I was not supposed to touch, it burned through my glove, it burned my hand and I had to go to the hospital.
Note: this post originally had 35 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.