Today i decided to dedicate my blog to all employees going through a tough time. Let us learn and unlearn. employers also need to realize what to undo.

A TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT

Every person reaches a crossroad in their careers that change the course of how they perceive, reflect and move forward, the pertinent question we always ask ourselves is that what would anyone do if they were in the same position?

We weigh our options. We look at prioritizing which way or idea is more important. I started this blog to motivate the youth, in regards to employment and hustling. That we can look up to our peers & have mentors who will guide us to success. Today I decided to take a different path, a journey in delving and subsequently create a conversation about toxic workplaces. This is my story and I will tell it as is. 

HOW DID I KNOW I WAS IN A TOXIC WORK ENVIRONMENT?

What is a toxic work environment? The idea that your workplace creates an atmosphere that causes harm to your health, happiness, general wellbeing and eventually affects your general output. If you’re around people who make you feel small, insecure, or bad about yourself.

It all started when I applied for this job at company X. At the time of lodging my application I was actually at another job, so when they reached out, to schedule an interview, I decided, why not. I mean

I wanted change and growth. Something the then-current job was not offering. I went for the interview and was shortlisted for the final interview with the director. I was excited at the time, a feeling that quickly faded taking a deep dive into regret. I passed the final interview and got an offer letter. I still had not resigned from the then-current job, so I told them I would think about it. 

I sought counsel from a close friend to assist me in deciding what was the best way forward…my first crossroad. We saw there is room for growth as presented on the offer letter and also the perception presented by the Commercial Manager; I took the leap of faith.

THE RED FLAGS…

The first red flag (buckle up), was the fact that Manager A, was so eager for me to start. I hate that, it’s never that serious, because how was your company functioning before you interviewed me? Bear in mind, I still had not accepted the offer, I told him I would think about it. I did accept after a few days. To which manager A was so busy rushing to join immediately, I however declined and insisted on the 1 month grace period to hand over, which I just used that time to detox from the previous workplace, in preparation for the new one. 

In the beginning, it was okay, I will not exactly talk much about that. With time, I however, noticed a lot of reluctance, especially from commercial manager A.

The misrepresentation that they shall provide all the tools to assist you, while denigrating on the work you actually do without fair reasons.

The second red flag; the consistent delay in getting actual proper authorizations to tasks. My task was to look for good, proper suppliers, however the delay in approvals or the cancelation of supplies caused a strain on the business relations I had worked hard on cultivating with suppliers.

Months down the line you are barraged by the Directors on the company’s losses, and the ball is tossed on why there were no approvals made, when you had no authority to do so.

You have angry suppliers on one end because you are wasting their time and a director who questions if you are even good enough. It got so bad, that one day  I called the director himself one day and just demanded payment of suppliers because they wouldn’t supply and my / company projects I was in charge of would never come to pass. 

The third red flag lets cue the narcissistic tendencies of Manager A. the saying… “emails that could have been meetings”. Now take a second or a couple, and imagine daily, 2-hour meetings. Manager A is already stalling projects, but that’s not enough.

Why not torture the sales & marketing team with your delusional grandiose every morning? If you are reading this I really want to know if the job you are at currently, requires you to see your boss, every morning for 2 hours. Let’s be frank, discussing nothing of importance, just explaining to him, how your previous day was.

Call me misguided, was it really necessary? Do not get me started on the yelling and scolding like we were children. That is if you are lucky, the other alternative is within those 2 hours he talks about his friends and family, yes you read that right.

An experience that is not enough for 1 blog; a series worth.  I will try my level best to highlight what is really important, but by now you probably have a picture.

The fourth red flag, the guy busy yelling at you daily, you know your fellow colleague, not a director (though it still would not make it okay), has no targets. Basically, he rides off the wave of the sales and marketing team. Why are you hating from outside when you cannot get inside? You would think he would be like the great Napoleon, leading us into victory and whatnot, but now he just stayed indoors the whole day writing emails, never even studying the field so he can either challenge us, improve the revenue, or network with potential vendors. 

At this point you can see, I didn’t get to execute what I was promised, how could I anyway. A work environment with a manager having a god complex and no support from above, which is just off. Now I will not be too harsh it’s a family business, I should have known better bureaucracy aside, you can have the most amazing team but without the support and a commercial manager, who is just waiting to get a paycheck while making everyone else look lazy because of his shortcomings, eventually you lose brilliant minds. By the time my position was declared redundant due to lack of sales in the company, being the cliché Kenyan family business that it is, saw my replacement to be none other than the director’s daughter. 

Now suddenly everything is getting done, not because of Manager A, oh no, but because he no longer calls the shots. Why buy the cow when the milk is free? It was never about low sales and redundant positions, it was always about frustrating somebody long enough, till the reason they wake up in the morning, the zeal to learn and work hard, dies. You have not succeeded till you kill somebody’s self-worth and purpose by making them feel so useless because you are not working there to foster change, you just want to be paid, so make the rest look lazy and hook line and sinker. 

LEARNING…

What did I learn from that experience? You can be as brilliant as they come, but if there’s somebody in an organization just there to frustrate you, you will never grow. You might as well start looking for other options. For the longest time while at that job, I second-guessed myself, am I good enough or did I just get in over my head? I lost what made me, me, because I couldn’t execute amazing ideas I had, always getting shot down or replaced ( yet I thought you hired me because I am the professional at that), not because of a budget, money was a non-issue, but why work? Let’s create a facade, you get paid and go home, work culture. Months later I have no regrets I left, I have learned first f*CK family businesses, lazy managers above you are hell, and never let anyone take away the music in your heart nor take away your voice. Stand your ground and speak/know your truth. The truth is not a democracy it does not care whether you believe it. 

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