Updated: Apr 19, 2022
UPDATE: This blog post was originally published on 9/3/2019 and had over 400+ Views. This post helped so many people and that is exactly why I am bringing it back to the blog. I republished this on 4/19/2022. Back when I was searching for jobs in 2020, a potential employer decided to rescind their offer after months of interviewing because of this blog post. This blog was built to share my voice and my experiences, so that was a weird time for me. After that, I decided to remove it from the blog while on my search. I read through this post over and over. I couldn't find anything wrong with it. It directly tells the truths of the pain I went through while working for a corporation and there is nothing wrong with that. This blog is important and that is why I'm bringing it back. I hope my story helps you and encourages you to know your worth and to find a place where you are accepted, flourished, and appreciated.
“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
— John Green
You may find it odd that my first blog post in the “Work Hard” Blog Category is titled “It’s Okay to Leave,” BUT, fear not, because this is the perfect post for this category. Ever since you embarked on your career, people have most likely told you that you have to work hard and bust your butt for one company for years to gain experience. That without this loyalty to one company, you will not climb the ladder easily & your career will suffer. Well, that’s a bunch of baloney and let me tell you why.
So, let’s get into the back story first. I graduated from LSU back in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. I’ve always been passionate about all types of Marketing, so this was an easy choice for me. Right out of the gates, I scored a job with a Fortune 250 Company. I was grateful to even have a job because I knew some of my other friends were not as lucky. The job market at that time was competitive and it was hard to find a job in the field you wanted to work.
I had scored an entrance into their Marketing & Sales Program for Recent College Grads. It was a 3-year program where you got to learn everything from Sales to Event Marketing to Brand Marketing. My first role moved me to Pittsburgh, PA and was a more sales based job with light marketing. We were in remote roles all over the US, so the management side of things was pretty relaxed. From the perspective of first-time roles in the workplace, this job rocked! I had my territory to manage and challenges for sure, but I had a lot of freedom.
Within a year of grinding and working hard, I was promoted into the next role of the Program, Regional Market Manager. While this role was still mostly sales based, you got to experience more from the marketing and management side of things. This was super exciting to me. I had grown restless in my previous role and honestly felt I had learned as much as I could in that position.
In this new role, I managed a team of 4 people ranging in age from 21-65 years old. What a crash course I got in managing - it was terrifying! I still lived in Pittsburgh, as this was still a remote role, but I traveled constantly. My territory was spread out over 5 states and I had to visit my team members on a monthly basis. I was on the road. A lot. I pretty much winged it for the first few months which was the way of the land as I knew it. As neglected as I felt during that time, it taught me a lot of valuable lessons. In my time as a manager, I learned so much from my team of 4. Through the good times and the bad times, I grew more in my career and as a person.
About a year after starting my management role, I started to wonder when I would actually start to work on a Marketing team. I was restless and ready to start putting my degree to good use in my career. Soon after, I completed the program early and was promoted to the Brand Marketing Team at Corporate. I had climbed the ladder and was ready to make it big!
What a RUDE awakening Corporate America can be. Up until this point, I kind of felt like I had been my own boss. I was working out of my house and no day had been alike at this point. Cue two years later, when I’m sitting in my cubicle in an actual office headquarters. It was overwhelming, but still definitely exciting. I stayed in this role on the Brand Team for a little over two years.
Over my tenure at this company, many questionable situations arose, but I continued to persevere, because I had been brainwashed to believe that I had no other choice. I was also being told that my time was coming. I was promised a promotion, a raise, you name it, I was promised it. All this continued to do, was keep me at bay, for the time being.
Turns out, this was never coming. A common tactic among the workplace. The good ole “keep telling you what you want to hear, until you figure out… OH, right, nothing’s coming.”
Over the years, I had trained my brain to just keep sweeping things under the rug, because I needed this job. I truly believed that I wasn’t valuable to other companies and that to make it in my career, I had to be loyal to this job regardless of the way I was treated.
The one thing I wish someone would have told me years earlier before I had to endure the continuous beat downs on my confidence, is this:
IT. IS. OKAY. TO. LEAVE.
The many promises and the love of my coworkers are why it took me so long to realize that one key statement. Unfortunately, all of my coworkers were in the same boat... We continued to allow this abuse to take place, because we genuinely believed there was nothing better and most of us were expecting promised promotions. Fun Fact. All of us have now realized that we were being promised the same exact things for the same exact amount of time. And, not one human from my original team is there anymore. That’s pretty insane, right?
Yes, as you may have guessed, I am one of those humans.
I'm sure you are wondering what led me to finally break free of all the lies. Well, besides the many building blocks of dishonesty, one moment in one office changed everything for me. It was an act of complete disrespect and verbal abuse. My manager had called an unscheduled meeting with me in her office the day after one of our brand summits. In this 8 hour brand summit, I had one of my biggest projects underway and my phone was constantly buzzing because of the many issues only I could handle. My phone was on silent and I would walk out of the room to take the calls in order to get business handled. Otherwise, I behaved and performed as I normally would in any business meeting. Professional and Smart.
So, let's get back to that unscheduled meeting my manager had called for. As I turned the corner to get to my desk that morning, my manager was standing there waiting for me and said, "We have a meeting." I was confused because I most definitely did not have any meetings on my schedule at that time. However, I followed and we ended up in her office. Then, the door was promptly shut behind me. It didn't take long before she laid into me as if I were a child. She told me I was wrong to have taken so many business calls in the meeting. She placed judgment on the way I had spoken to another team member in the meeting. She yelled at me until tears started to fall down my face. Her arms crossed against her chest. Eyes like daggers. Before this meeting, I actually have never in my life been spoken to so disrespectfully. I had no protection and no warning. HR was nowhere to be seen.
That meeting was the last straw and I realized it was time to go.
My manager never once let me explain myself in that meeting. I did not get to tell her I was taking calls for our high-profile project. I did not get a chance to defend myself. I was so shocked by it all that I even confided in many team members and asked them if I had said anything inappropriate or in a bad tone during our Brand Summit. All of them replied no and actually had no idea what my manager was referring to.
The worst part of all of this is that work had become my entire life at that point. I was drained and my work-life balance was nonexistent. Even so, I was still treated poorly by a place where I gave all my time and effort.
Within a month of heavy job searching, I was able to secure a marketing role with a new company. I took my power back.
Please, if I can do anything with sharing this story, listen when I say this:
Do not waste 4 years of your life waiting to leave a place where you are disrespected.
Do not sweep little things under the rug.
Do not pull constant overnighters when your hard work goes unnoticed.
Do not believe everything you are told. Ask Questions if you feel like you are being treated unfairly.
Do not make work your whole life.
Do not be afraid to take your power back.
Do not live less of a life than you deserve.
DO challenge yourself to be better and KNOW your worth.
Let’s circle back to the quote at the top…
Don’t let this quote be your truth. If you relate to any of this, do not continue to let your power be taken away. This is no way to live. Take it from someone who has been there. Work should never be your whole life, work should also never be something you constantly take home with you, and it should definitely not be a place where you feel unsafe.
And, if it does feel that way, it is time to go.
Take small steps at first and begin to choose yourself every day. Revamp your resume, take a look at some job postings. Make a real effort each day to get you out of this toxic environment. I promise, you will be shocked at the way that you feel. Finding a new job is hard work, but it is so worth it when you are finally able to break free of the toxic life you’ve been living.
Interviewing and job searching can be scary, I know! Don’t let this deter you, I am here to help. I have been working on some tools and have created the Dream Job Magic Blog Series. Click here to go to Part One: Job Searching 101! Looking to reach out? Feel free to ask me anything you may be interested in learning more about. I have gone from being the interviewee to the interviewer and come with a lot of knowledge on what to say and what NOT to say. So, feel free to ask me anything.
As always, I am still learning and am here to help in any way I can. Remember, you are worth it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Until Next Time,