There are two different types of people at the workplace. One goes to work with enthusiasm and hope. The other simply goes in just to get a paycheck and be done with the day.
Where do I fit in? After recent events that occurred at my workplace, I felt that I’m leaning towards the latter. This post is not bashing the company that I work for. Rather, it’s about sharing my experience why I decided to emotionally “check out” from my day job. On the outside, I’m present and working. But on the inside…I feel numb.
Truth is, I was always taught to give it your all whenever you work at your day job. Sometimes, I imagine the uncanny advice from others as propaganda ads: Be a team player! Your ideas matter to us! No need to argue – we are all learning! Give your time and energy to make our company great again!
But, what happens when you give it your all and are being constantly blamed for something that you have no control over? What makes this situation worse is the perfect storm of mixing office politics, passive aggressive attitudes, behaviors from certain employees and middle management. Not only it creates a disharmonious environment, but it forces good employees to leave. The idea of working with a perfect company seems far stretched. I’m also aware that no matter where you go, there is also going to be some office politics to deal with. But there’s a fine line between everyday work nuisances and harassment.
After having a long heart-to-heart talk with a trusted coworker, I decided to do the one thing I thought it wasn’t possible – not to care about my job. I did everything I could – notified the manager and supervisors, which in turn was escalated to HR. Sure, apathy is a dangerous emotion to harbor. My initial fear about this emotional “check out” stance is that it would permeate through my family life and interests. Thankfully, I managed to talk it out with a supportive group around me (including my husband). I painfully realized that there will be others who will undermine your performance. Even if management or a bad boss turns a blind eye, the most you can do is make the best out of it. This is not being complacent. I have done my part in keeping track and taking notes of what’s happening. Sure, there is the obvious question that I can hear in my own head when faced with such a toxic work environment – why can’t you just leave? My answer is quite simple – I’m doing what I can to help provide for my family.
What has helped me stay grounded is focusing on learning new skills and helping out those who are in a similar boat as I am. Having extra time for self-care was essentially crucial to my physical and mental health. Talking it out and sharing the experience is the first step to feeling liberated, rather than keeping it inside.
The only advice I can give to companies (whether big or small scale) is this:
Care for your employees. Everyone wants to work at his or her best. But they’ll need the support from the company if they wish to be successful.
Have you (or have you been) in a position where you felt emotionally “checked out”? How did you cope with the transition? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.