Title Card - Toxic Workplaces And Self Worth

Toxic Workplaces And Self Worth

The pressure to constantly move forward and gain experience can feel daunting, especially in a job market that demands consistent and long-term resume entries. Many people are so afraid to have periods of unemployment that they take any job just to make sure that they are working and earning money. Some companies thrive on this mentality and hire people so they can barely compensate them for long hours and hard work, while also treating them poorly because they know they won’t quit. It’s hard to find work, that much is clear, but is it really worth sacrificing your standards — and your health in some cases — for a job that either doesn’t care or doesn’t recognize if you’re working hard?

In the last few years, I have learned a lot about what I bring to the workforce and my own self-worth. Up until last year, I was working on pretty low hourly wages for a lot of work, and it was really eye-opening to see the difference when I got a job that paid and compensated me differently. I didn’t feel like I was doing any more work, and yet my sense of value for what I was doing went up dramatically. But it wasn’t always that way.

At first I had the opposite reaction, that what I experienced in my past jobs must have been what’s normal and expected and that I was doing too little in my job for the amount I was getting paid. It wasn’t until I continued working for close to a year that I began to realize just how wrong I was, and just how differently an employer that cares about its employees will treat them to keep them happy and productive.

Some of you might say “well Dan, of course you had a hard time, you were in the retail business.” To that I say, yes, but no. It’s true that many retail stores do fall into this category, but there are a number of good solid reasons why someone should be willing to take them on. I’ve talked about this previously in another of my posts outlining some of the skills you gain, and why it is a great place to start for entry-level opportunists. There are also many different companies that offer lucrative commission structures, allowing for excellent salespeople to make excellent money in the business. So yes, while many retail positions aren’t sustainable for long-term careers, they shouldn’t be discounted entirely.

Back to the point though, there comes a point where you have to stop taking jobs “for the experience” and start recognizing when your bank of experience is enough and valuable. Understanding what you bring to the table is important, and shortchanging yourself because you’ve only ever been paid a certain rate all your life shouldn’t be enough to accept that fate forever. Your skills have worth, and you have worth too.

It took me a while to come to terms with that, and it is definitely much easier to recognize that after someone has already offered you that opportunity. I’m thankful for all of the people that pushed me to grow and apply, because I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without the support of others. I have often (and still sometimes do) struggle with questions of self-worth, and it can be a process to identify that and accept that to tackle it head-on.

I know that with long irregular hours it can be a challenge to put effort into your applications. Trust me, I know. I’ve been there. But also trust me when I say that you won’t fully know how it feels to be where you want to be until you reach it, and that takes putting yourself out there. Take a chance! The worst that can happen is they say no and you’re no worse off than if you had done nothing at all.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to use the help and guidance of your connections, peers, friends and family, wherever it becomes available. There’s no extra bonus you get for doing it on your own, and you may be missing opportunities if you insist on it. Get ahead, find your path, and take the opportunities that are handed to you and you will be surprised at the heights you will reach.