Whenever a group meeting is called, ” Do you get butterflies in your stomach”? Do you think to yourself what aspect of my job or job performance are they going to critique now? Do people at your work look the other way when someone is doing something that clearly is against company policy or out of line? Then you my friend have a fear based workplace culture.
As far as we know the recession is supposed to be over and the economy is improving, right? Because any rational person that didn’t like where they were at or how they were being treated would just leave their job right? Right? Wrong. The culture of fear at many workplaces is so strong that it’s almost slaveish. Look around at work. Are people engaged and excited or merely going through the motions to get to the next minute, day, hour, or year? Is the person next you or in the cubicle away from you in outer space withdrawal. Sadly this seems like a very common acceptance of workplace culture in our society.
But there is a solution. The solution starts with none other than, wait for it- YOU. Yes, you are the solution to the seemingly overwhelming complex problem. You say how can I solve the problem. Well the first step in recognizing any problem is to face the problem. So let’s say everyday at work around the clock a co-worker farts while you’re in the break room. Say hello, fill in the blank, (preferably name) when you release your flatulence in this small room it is really offensive and not at all funny to me. Can you please refrain from making me feel uncomfortable in the workplace? If they answer, Oh, what’s your problem, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You say oh no, I just realized that I’m going to speak up when I should now.
Next, the boss comes and throws a set of papers on your desk and says you, “Dumb, Stupid, Retarded, Insignificant, Peon, you forget to do this right. You respond, Um sorry Boss, I think you have the wrong person because my name is Fill in the blank, (preferably name) and I don’t deserve to be talked to like that. I may have made a mistake but that doesn’t mean I deserve to be berated. Your boss might stop in their tracks and do a double take but two things will happen. Your boss will yell louder and you keep repeating the mantra, or your boss will apologize and see the human being that you are. What you will notice is that your actions will start to have effects on those around you. Some people will be meaner to you to push you back down into the culture of fear. But others will gain empowerment from seeing you stand up for yourself. Congratulations, you have just taken the first step to changing your work environment into a collaborative one or you just opened the door to a wonderful new career opportunity else where.
Some of you will read this and do nothing. That’s fine. Just like the people who listen to success after a success tape and never take action. But do you want to live your life, in a hole, scared of what the future holds? There has to be something better than this. If you have ever been in an abusive relationship you can relate. You feel like your trapped and have no options because no one will want you. This is not true. You have many other options you just have to open your eyes to them. Well have a wonderful day and please stand up to the workplace culture of fear.