Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I'm thankful for my crappy old job

A few years ago, I fell into what I would call a clinical depression over things that were going on at my old job. I wasn't diagnosed and they didn't have to lock me up somewhere, but it was pretty bad.

Two things happened that really got me over that hump - my despair turned to anger and then strength. And I got a new job - which turned out to be my dream job (and I don't say that lightly, because I've been working since I was 15 years old and up until getting my current job, the job I was most happy at was being a lifeguard when I was 17).

The thing I'm really thankful for is that from working in a toxic environment (with a group of people I like to call "the monkeys,") is an great appreciation for the people I work with now. My job is cool. I like what I do. But what makes it the dream job is working with a group I now refer to as "my peeps."

You know when your at a crappy job and think, why don't they just (fill in the blank - i.e. treat people well, have some trust, not treat me like I'm a monkey, too, etc.)? The people I work with do the smart things.

However, I can't imagine if I had to go through a toxic work environment in this job market, because I truly believe the only thing to do is to move on and it's really tough to find a new job right now. As Ron White says, you can't fix stupid - and the people usually responsible for these situations aren't bad, evil people. They're just a little on the stupid side. I say that (and I know from having elementary school-age children, "stupid" is the newest swear word), because these situations are usually created from your boss taking a dump on your head - and if you're a boss and you're doing this you must be stupid for not realizing that taking a dump on some one's head will piss them off and they will not want to do good work.

I've had a lot of friends go through this, too, and what we all feel is this lightness now that we're out of those situations. For me that lightness is not just from getting out of a crappy job, but also from truly believing that I will be taken care of (by God, the universe, whatever you believe in). And now I'm grateful every day for my work and I have compassion for the people I work with.

So I'm writing this for anyone who's going through this right now. It'll be okay. Use your current situation to learn something - even if it's how NOT to treat people.

What happens in the end is that you get really strong and you learn how to be good to the people around you.


Jennifer Chronicles ( said...

wonderful, suzanne. so validating and encouraging.

Beth said...

I actually really needed to read this today. Thanks :)

Kristina said...


KateNonymous said...

I agree completely. I'm very happy to have a job I enjoy, even though they just cut our pay. (Hey, at least we get furlough days!)

Ten years ago I left a job like the one you're describing, for another job in the same industry, but with a different company. And that move confirmed what I had suspected about the first job: it wasn't the work, it was the people. They were awful. The new job let me work with good people, and it was a completely different experience.

I'm with you on the need to leave a bad situation. But I also know how much harder that is to do in a market like today's, and I feel for the people who are grappling with that.

Anonymous said...

clap clap clap
i work with those people in the photograph.

HeyRay said...

I just left an environment full of monkeys, whom I'd been with almost 12 years...and about 9 years too long. It's scary and relieving all at once, but I thank you for reaffirming that I'm not the only one, and that it does lead to things better.

Carrie said...

I have a similar story. In my professional life I've had 2 really great working environments and 2 really crappy ones. The one now is wonderful - working with smart people who really work together and value one another really brings out the best in you. But I have also learned quite a bit from the crappy jobs - and not just what not to do as a manager - but how to succeed when all around you is toxic. (But lifeguarding was pretty cool - especially with you!)