My name is Ken. I will only allow you to take a photo of my legs. Just legs. Also modify it a bit. Then write. I used to work as an operations lead. Reporting to 6 people. There is the person my contract said I should report to. There is the sister. The brother. The other brother… and cousins who are major shareholders.
My life at work revolved fear. I would agree with one on a decision. I would not be sure if the others would overturn it, and the implication of the overturning. I would spend days (before its implementation) wondering how far I will have gone with its implementation, and the process of overturning it. Based on my position, I bore the responsibility (with my Juniors) of any decisions. They will never know what goes on.
I remember (with tears) a time when we paid some sh. 5000 to a staff who needed medical attention, and had agreed with the HR to recover the money from her. To my dismay, the money was recovered from my salary and the HRs, as a warning never to make such unthought of decisions. And if I delayed the implementation of any decision, owing to my fears and the work backlog that my fears and thoughts and imaginations would amount to, I would face disciplinary action. We also worked 12 hours a day, and flexibility to attend to pressing personal matters was not welcome. Honestly, I forgot my life. My social life was affected. Some of my friends thought I was deliberately unreachable. I am grateful to God for those who gave me a benefit of doubt, because now we have become better friends.
In my exit letter, I made sure I clearly outlined my frustrations to my supervisor. My needs were simple, and basic, yet never given. 1. Autonomy to work, and support when I had workable ideas. 2. A little personal time. 3. Clear expectations and scope of work. I still wonder why, despite the many confrontations we had, I was never dismissed. I guess they new my value, but were unwilling to invest in it.
A time came when I read an article on LinkedIn on how to quit a toxic work environment. I felt in my heart that the article was meant for me. I immediately started job searching. Little did I know that I would job search for 1 year before my current position came about. In the meantime I was frustrated, and honestly speaking, I gave not less than half my capacity. This was not planned, I see it in retrospect. I spent days building castles in the air about a future job that God would give. The salary it would have (because I thought, God had to find a way of wiping my tears across board). The autonomy I would have. The felxibility. The leave. The holidays. The family time. The joy of making valuable contributions at work.
I hope my previous employer gets a glimpse of this. It is important that they spend time building relationships with employees. Gone are days that employees were just a means to profit. They want to be treated as part of the journey. I hope the people there benefited from my unannounced exit. I hope employers can calculate the losses they make by having disengaged employees, who like me, spend an year looking for exit routes.
I shared my frustrations with my current boss after month one (I needed to be sure I’m wanted there first before sharing). She happens to be a different one, and my sharing was a way to safeguard my stay there, so that I deliver minus stress. She heard me. Pauses to thank God
Yes indeed God answers. He is just. He does not forget your labour in Him as per Hebrews 6:10. You do have a responsibility as an employee though, to work with all your heart as working for God Cor 3:23-24. This command is to be obeyed, whether working for a good or bad employer.
If you have any interesting workplace story, kindly reach out via this blog, as a comment.