HR Heart of Toxic Workplace Rife with Bullying, Sexism, Racism, Corruption
When I got my now former job (June 2005) I thought I'd be happy. Everyone seemed cool, the job looked like something I'd enjoy, and my boss looked like a dream. I was one of the few women who were in the department, but didn't think much of that. My boss told my male coworkers to take me on field trips to other locations to get an idea about the place. I thought I would be training people at these locations and I was excited. The commute to the office was over an hour and a half while the field trips were only a half hour. This was fun. I thought I hit the jackpot. Wrong. My time to go in a field was short term.
While this seems minor, it was the beginning of being lied to. After all, not many people do get the chance to go on field trips all the time. However, there was a bigger issue: I wasn't hired to be a trainer. I was hired to be an training assistant. Not what I was told on the interview. They told me I was hired to develop training programs on basic skills and computer, and train people. By the time I found this out, I had been there several months. Apparently everyone knew this but me.
My coworkers started giving me menial work to do, such as counting pencils, stapling papers, etc. Another coworker started teaching the basic skills classes I thought I was going to teach. He didn't want to teach these, but they refused to let me do it. When I started to finally balk at doing these jobs (keep in mind these were the only jobs I was doing) some of my coworkers started being nasty. They started going out to lunch without inviting me (and mentioning it right in front of me). Started doing a lot of nasty things. This was November 2006, and luckily I had a place to go during a lunch break (Tower Records down the street was going out of business). Later on, they finally found out I was the victim and was lied to about the job. They apologized for being so mean.
However, my coworkers weren't by far the meanest, HR was. The head of HR got her job from being the mistress of a politician. She had zero experience in it, so never knew how to deal with people. I thought when I started to have issues with my coworkers about the work, I'd go talk to HR. The people in HR (all buddies of the politician) told me how worthless I was, how I should be happy I had a job (even though I had several offers when I took that one), how unimportant I am. When I questioned why a male coworker was making more (with less experience and education since he was 23), the response was "women wouldn't like his job". This wasn't the only time I had trouble with them. For about a year (from Dec 2005- until I got laid off) I was in the HR department at least once a week. Someone was making up stories about me. One person said I was wearing stiletto heels (never owned a pair), someone else said I was coming to work drunk (I never drink). I think it was the head of HR since I found out she only got her job through her lover.
By Spring of 2006 my coworkers were being nice to me, but HR still wasn't. One of the women in HR (who I like) told me that it was a plan to get rid of me because I was questioning the corruption and the sexism/racism. They started having me train someone in a field I hate (accounting). When I found out the previous trainer made $20,000 more, I requested more money. Instead, my boss' boss (who was fooling around with one of the head HR people) told me he wishes I would die. Told me I wasn't getting a raise because I was an "uppity" b*tch. Stupidly, I gave in because I was afraid of being unemployed.
Needless to say I was let go. They decided to get rid of my boss (he was an alcoholic) my one coworker (fired him while he had a stroke). Since they needed to cut jobs, mine was one to be cut. Oddly, I'm so much happpier. I was miserable there. Constantly crying. A job isn't worth being miserable. Several of my coworkers (they were hired long after I started having problems) saw what I went through and they found jobs other places. Other people heard I got let go, and told me they envied me. Told me how they were told they were worthless. Informed me they all went through it. Women told me stories of sexism. Several coworkers told me I gave them the courage to speak up. If my being picked on by bullies helps others speak up, it was all worth it.