I have been thinking a lot lately about life, people, loyalty, work ethic, stupidity, and success. In fact, I just can’t seem to get it out of my head. I had the unfortunate experience of working in an extremely toxic environment with an overwhelmingly excessive number of narcissists. It all came to an abrupt end and I am still angry, resentful, and feel betrayed. Dealing with this whole experience has actually been more difficult for me than past relationship breakups. I know that sounds a little strange, but it really affected me in ways I didn’t expect. People are always telling me to let it go, drop it, and move on. But that is easier said than done, especially for an overanalyzing yet sensitive person like myself. I take things very personally, and knowing that someone would treat me so poorly, move on and not even think twice is very disturbing.
The things that I saw, heard, and lived during my time there have taught some valuable lessons. Being away from the dysfunction and toxicity for a while now has given me some clarity on just how messed up it actually was and how far down they brought me. Regardless of the ill-fated ending, my experiences there and personal relationships helped shape me into who I am today. Not sure if that is good or bad, but it’s real.
The management team running the place was a joke. Every last one of them was an, entitled, lying, gossiping, fraud that showed no respect for anyone. Hell, some of them were so wrapped up in their own success and money they didn’t even realize there was anyone else keeping their own company afloat. In all my years in the workforce, I have never seen anything quite like it, and I am disappointed with myself for putting up with it for so long. I was taken advantage of and mistreated over and over again. I was not alone in those feelings. I have never met so many people employed by one organization that feel so undervalued and unappreciated. This company had a way of draining your identity and filling you with so much self-doubt you started to question your own intentions and worth. I saw people promoted and rewarded for being incompetent, fake, and unethical. Hard work, loyalty, dedication, and skill got you absolutely nothing but disrespect, eye rolls, and back stabbing.
Prior to this, I had never been in this type of environment before. I’m not even sure I realized that I was in a toxic environment until the end. I guess I was pretty naïve about the workplace, success, and ethic of people. I was always under the impression that you had to be educated, hardworking, driven, and professional to get ahead in life and in your career, but I recently learned that I may have been wrong all these years. I wasted a decade of my life trying to use my brain, work hard, and treat people respectfully thinking that would lead to success, advancement, and recognition. It got me nowhere. Well…I guess I shouldn’t say that. It got me out of there!
After my time there ended, I honestly started to question everything I thought I knew about people, loyalty, and success. Why is it that there are so many people who think they are entitled? Why do they think they can treat people however they want? Are all places this toxic? I just don’t understand this way of thinking and I don’t know that I ever will. If this is just how people, companies, and life is, what is the point of making good decisions? What is the point of even trying? Maybe the key to life is to just coast along and use everyone else to float you though. It seems to me that you don’t need to be smart or even committed to get ahead in this world. You just have to know the right entitled and rich people and suck up to them like crazy. I saw it over and over again at work and even in my own personal relationships. I have seen stupid people being paid four times as much as me just living the dream with no concern for others, some not even kind to others. I have witnessed blaming, bullying, disrespect, micro-management, and intimidation used as tactics to control other people. All of this by the people running a company.
I’ve always been a pretty honest and loyal person. I don’t hold much back, and I won’t do something just because someone told me to, especially if I don’t think it is right. I am loyal to my family and friends and I won’t sit back when they are being mistreated. My parent’s raised me to try to be a good person, be kind to others, work hard and do my best, and say please and thank you. I am slowing figuring out that perhaps, I might be one of the only people left that thinks like that anymore. Everywhere I go I see people that are out for themselves only no matter what the cost and definitely don’t give a shit about anyone else; not really anyway. Image is so important to people these days. Everyone wants to appear perfect, caring, nice, and successful. But it is a cover. They may say they are on your side and care about your future and growth, but when it comes down to it, they will throw you under the bus to put themselves ahead.
Because of my experiences, I have become a bit skeptical and untrusting about people’s true intentions. For far too long, I was trapped in a place where they bread morons and then rewarded them for doing nothing, being mean, fake, and unethical. This whole ordeal has been a good lesson for me and taught me things I will carry with me to wherever my next life journey takes me. So here are the top lessons I learned from my experiences over the last decade. There happen to be ten of them…
10. Everyone loves you until you become their competition or they feel threatened. Be careful who you vent to.
9. Keep your circle small, you never know who you can really trust. Not everyone you think is your friend actually is.
8. Actions speak louder than words. People talk a good game but will turn on you as soon as you no longer benefit them.
7. Just leave people alone and let them do what they need to make themselves happy. Mind your own damn business and stop top getting in the middle of things that don’t concern you.
6. Set boundaries early on in relationships. Whether they are work, friendship, romantic, whatever. Without boundaries, people will walk all over you. Stand up for yourself.
5. Tough times reveal your real friends. They are the ones that see you for who you are no matter what others say and stick by your side. You all know who you are.
4. Go where you are celebrated, not just tolerated. Life is too short to be around people that don’t appreciate you.
3. There is no point in fighting and arguing with people you don’t respect. People only hear what they want to hear and you can’t change them.
2. Sometimes life won’t give you the closure you need. Bad stuff happens and you won’t understand why. You just have to suck it up and move on.
AND….the #1 lesson I learned…
1. Ultimately, no one gives a shit. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how loyal you are. It doesn’t matter what a good job you have done or how much time and effort you put into something. It doesn’t even matter if people like you. At the end of the day, everyone is out for themselves. No one will protect you and you are on your own.
Now that it is over, I am hopeful that there are people better than that in the world and that there are places far less toxic. I am hopeful that there are good leaders left out there that realize that corporate culture goes from the top-down. If leadership imposes toxic practices, it trickles down to the rest of the organization. I am hopeful that changes will happen for the rest of my friends who are still trapped and feel squashed in their careers. For myself, I’m never going to allow myself to be in a situation where I am not valued like that ever again.
Now, it is time for me to put this all behind me. Time to move on and start over; forgive and forget.
So, with that, here is one last HUGE F YOU!
Cheers to new beginnings!