toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

September 05, 2007

the workplace ogre

Jin and her husband, Rick, were both out of work and she was thrilled to find another job before their money ran out -  until she discovered, among other things, that she has to work with a really nasty and abusive co-worker. A real ogre!

"I want to quit this job immediately, and find another job while my self-esteem is still high," explains Jan, "but Rick urged me to stick it out."

"If you are forced to spend eight hours with a person, day in day out," says Jin, "you want that person to be civil. I put up with years of abuse from my brothers and sisters because I was the baby of the family, and I’m not going to put up with this sort of behavior from co-workers. I couldn’t quit my family, but I can quit this lousy job - but I'm torn between my feelings and what Rick wants!"

"It's often only when you actually start a job and get to know everyone that you realize there’s a problem," says Jin. "Like most job applicants, I wasn’t given an opportunity to meet my prospective co-workers at the interview stage, but even if I had been given that opportunity they would probably have been on their best behavior."

"My interview was conducted solely via the HR Department," says Jin, "and I’m now wise to what this means."

 It means a veritable ogre is waiting for you!"

"There is no clause in my work contract upholding my right to a safe, harmonious working environment," says Jin. "Nevertheless, I feel that the company still has a duty of care to provide such for me."

"I am being constantly harassed, abused and belittled by a co-worker and I feel that my employer is in breach of some sort of duty towards me under occupational health and safety compliance laws."

"I’m not going to bother lodging an official complaint," says Jin. "Complaining got me nowhere as a kid, and it won’t get me anywhere at work either. In fact, it will make matters worse. It will become part of my work history and will jeopardize my future career."

"When employment gurus and all the ‘how to’ books out there maintain that the only acceptable reason for resigning a job is a desire to expand one's horizons, having achieved all one is capable of doing in one's present job and being regretful that one must leave such a wonderful job with a wonderful boss, manager and co-workers, people like me are too scared to complain and as a consequence bullying continues to flourish in workplaces."

"My co-workers are fully aware of what is going on," says Jin, "but just like people do not want to interfere in marital difficulties, people do not want to get involved in workplace difficulties either."

"They expect me to deal with it without complaining. That’s the culture to which I is expected to conform. And, having no support from my husband makes my situation even more miserable."

"There are always other factors involved in the decision to quit besides an abusive or hostile workplace," says Jin, "but it’s generally accepted that conflict with a boss, manager or co-worker underlies most resignations. I could put up with it - I think - from a boss or manager because they are not in my face all the time, but this ogre sits right next to me and I can't get away from her."

Read more of Jin's story:

marriage, a supportive partnership

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