Hate is a strong word, but I’ve been there.   And I suspect you have too.

Getting up everyday for a loathsome job we detest for any number of reasons.

Moody menopausal boss. Coworkers with personalities that rival Gemma from Sons of Anarchy.  Clients who force you to reconsider your reason for living.

Been there.  Punched the clock!

However, at the time, I had no idea the lessons that were being shoved down my throat would be invaluable.  I’m certainly aware of them now.  These are lessons I would have never learned had I not been put in certain positions.

Honoring My Worth

After my divorce I accepted a position far below my what experience and credentials demanded at the time.  Let’s say 20k below what I am being paid now.  At the time, I didn’t know exactly how underpaid I was.  Frankly, I was just happy to have a job.  But then coworkers and counterparts would discuss money and it occurred to me that my employer had no intentions nor the ability to pay me what I am worth.  No shade but I had bills to pay and staying their long term meant financial ruin for me.  So I started the job hunt and I moved on to accept a much better position all around.

Every year that you stay in an underpaid position you lose money that you can never get back.  For example, if you’re being paid 30k in a position that warrants 45k, then you’re losing out on 15k every year that you stay there.  That’s 45k!  That’s a significant chunk of my student debt thank you very much!

Knowing When To Leave

I left a job after I had a let’s just say unpleasant interaction with a CEO.  This person spoke to me in a meeting as if I were his child in-servitude.  Anyone who knows me personally, knows that will never fly long term.  One of my core values is treating people with respect, even in high stress situations.  This was a routine issue.

I rarely lose my cool and I’m not the girl who goes and cries in the bathroom stall after my boss chews me out.  I have options and this person forgot who the hell they was talking to.

So I reminded them by putting in my two week notice and going on a sabbatical for the next 5 months.  I needed it. I was on the heels of my divorce and needed the break from the 9-5.  That’s where having F-U money comes into play.

My peace of mind is worth more than going along with verbal abuse just to get along.  That said, I don’t recommend leaving a job before you have one lined up – unless you can afford to do so.  This was one of those times for me.

Recognizing When To Speak Up And When To Shut Up

Have you ever had an incorrigible boss or coworker?  I have.  It gives me chills just thinking about the possibility of interacting with them again.  This the boss who micromanages and takes everything personally.  The coworker who reminds you of “mother dearest“.  Who has time to raise hell against the machine?  Not me.

When you arrive as the newbie, within 6 months to typically have the lay of the land.  You begin to understand the interpersonal dynamics at work, especially the more toxic interactions.  My biggest lesson was learning that if the issue is widespread, as in everyone knows X is happening, its toxic and nothing is done?

They love it.

It means the people at the top love and endorse it as well.  Organizational dynamics are my specialty.  If you ever need someone to diagnose your organization’s interpersonal issues?  Come and see me.

I digress.

And instead of spending time being stressed out, crying or being depressed because I hate how people treat each other.  I left well enough alone.  Bided my time and jumped ship when the time came to do so.   In my line of work, I can’t battle against coworkers and clients.  Something had to give, and I chose me.

Avoid Alignments With The Office Black Sheep

You know the black sheep because this is the person who makes sure to pull you aside and give you all the office gossip within your first 2 weeks at the job.  Do yourself a favor and avoid them at all costs.  Can’t avoid them?  Keep it to simple pleasantries and never reciprocate in the office drama.

Avoid being seen with them outside of work related discussions and meetings.  Remember, if they are willing to spread office gossip/drama about others, they will predictably do the same to you.  Further, your management team knows how they operate and will not hesitate to lump you into the same category of being a trouble-maker.

Picking My Battles And Knowing When To Decline The Invitation To A War

The coworker who consistently and persistently goads their counterparts into a flame war – especially via email.  There are times when I’d watch ego driven emails go back and forth and I’d sit there laughing.  Why?  I’m thinking who has time for this $hit?!   Why are we engaged in a pi$$ing contest?   As far as I am concerned there is ONE d!ck on this organizational chart and that’s the person who signs my check.  Period.  And, by refusing to engage them in flame wars I earned the respect of my supervisor.  Really, that’s all that matters.

If you’re in a tough situation, learn the lessons, bide your time and jump ship if necessary.  Choose peace instead of enduring the war.  In the long term, when on your death bed, you won’t regret staying at the job you hated to stand up to your mean boss.   You’ll relish in the times you chose to keep your sanity instead of giving others the keys to drive your crazy.