Chapter 5: The Role Of Circumstance
In the last post, I told the story of “Sue” who stayed in a negative working environment until she became sick, both physically and mentally. I believe that staying in an unhealthy work environment is a form of corporate idolatry because one is following a value system that prioritizes work over personal health. Several women I interviewed went so far as to say that they felt like they were in an abusive relationship with the company.
[The competition for jobs in the market] makes me feel stuck and dependent on the company. The battered wife who keeps on going back and won’t leave, sometimes I feel like that.
People I interviewed cited a number of reasons why they don’t leave negative situations. Here are three of them.
- Loyalty to peers or reports: I did not have any corporate allegiance. I had personal allegiance to people within the company. I wanted to protect my staff. [Not wanting to] let that team down was part of [why I didn’t leave.] I made it my mission to at least try to make their work environment better than mine was. It was frustrating because I could only make it so good, could only fix it so much.
- Learning [The executives] need to find different ways to value people. It’s arrogant. I’ve seen a lot of turnover. The main reason I stayed was I was learning so much. I had a lot of great friends and colleagues. I couldn’t have asked for a better learning experience the last few years.
- Momentum [I was] very well compensated and it’s hard to give up a large paycheck. [Leaving] came to mind frequently. One [good] thing would happen – it’s never all bad. I’d find some silver lining, and choose to think about the action plan to fix what I wasn’t liking, visualizing success of the plan.
But of all the circumstances I heard about, the one that had the biggest impact is the time in your career.