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  • Writer's pictureBrianna Dunbar

Toxicity in the Workplace

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

I’ve only left one job for the sole reason of it being toxic.

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A c-level leader was a professional gaslighter, finger-pointer, and manipulator. First, I watched as she ripped through her department. Once a day someone would be left crying. It didn’t personally impact me until it did. It started off slowly. My manager would ask me, “how is your relationship with so-and-so.” And then the CEO would tell me, “you need to partner better with so-and-so.” I’m a very direct person. I approached this person and wanted to know if we were good. Was there anything obstructing us to work well together? I was met with smiles and confirmation we were “totally ok” and she “loved working with me”. This went on for a couple months. Things would get back to me that never added up to the direct conversations I would have with this person. Then I started to schedule meetings with her, myself, and the person who informed me of whatever the latest about me was and called out the interactions in the meeting with all parties. It was always a misunderstanding or “that’s not what I meant”. Until it wasn’t. In a meeting in front of several of our direct reports, she lost it. Screaming at me as to why a project going sour, which I did not directly work on but she did, was all my fault. I sat there calmly, staring at her as she shook her finger at me, 12 inches away from my face, and declared that I was a problem and I was the problem since the day I started. I replied that we had different realities on this whole situation. I told her in no circumstance is it ok to speak to someone like that and I left. That same week, I put in my notice and wrote an exit letter. How could I work with a company that watched and allowed these interactions to happy? I was the 7th employee to leave because of this person. She was finally let go 5 months later after 4 others left and stated her as one of the reasons for their departure. Workplace turnover caused by negative or toxic workplace culture will cost $223 billion over the next five years. 58% of those who quit because of a toxic culture said that their managers were the primary reason they left. Toxicity isn’t just personality conflicts and toxic individuals. Check out Nicole Savino and my episode of Badass Basic Bitch to learn more red flags that you work in a toxic workplace.

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