By Jasmine Kelly
Whether some of us may like it or not, we are returning to work, and some of us are going back to environments that are not the best. From experience, I understand what that is like. From experience, I also know how to empower myself while in an unfavorable workplace. When you are in a place where you do not feel supported and seen, it is very easy to feel powerless. You are not. There are specific tools at your disposal. Check out this list of resources/tactics that you can refer to while actively searching for your next position.
You are Worthy
Before you can be empowered at work, you must first understand that you are worthy. You are worthy of being treated with respect, and you do not deserve ill-treatment. Unfortunately, you can know that you are worthy are your job can still be toxic. Nonetheless, knowing that you can attain better is the first step towards orienting yourself from a horrible place.
No detail is too small. You must document what happens to you while you are at work. Keep track of dates, time, persons involved, the dialogue, etcetera. It is very easy to forget what happens to us when we are in emotionally taxing situations. Therefore, soon as a situation occurs, that makes you feel uneasy, document it immediately as you can. You never know when you may need to reference your notes. Also, keeping a record of certain happenings reinforces that they are authentic and valid.
There are always mixed emotions about the role of human resources within an organization. Some people feel that HR is a wonderful thing, while others think they are there for the company’s benefit. I am not taking either stance. I will say that HR can be a valuable tool if you use it to your advantage. I utilized it as a whistleblower tool. When a formal director and I once butted heads, and the situation did not improve my efforts alone, I went to HR. I did not expect my situation to change due to going to HR ultimately, but it did improve a little. I used HR as a function to have my grievances documented outside of myself and the office. It was an official record. When I left that role, I continued my last days of employment at home due to having a record of ongoing issues.
Yes, work can at times suck, and managers can too. However, if possible, your work does not have to. I also say this from experience. I was in a position where my director was a micromanager and, overall, a crappy person. Once I understood that I made it a point to cross every t and dot every I before that person could ask me for and about anything. To be thorough, I first organized aspects of my job that needed to be organized and operated on my system. Being specific can also work to your advantage, as it improves effectiveness and can leave you with some extra time to apply for jobs during the workday.
Jasmine Kelly is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. Jasmine is a higher education professional who believes in the powers of Black Twitter. You can follow her on Instagram @chicomydusty.