Before firing me a few years ago, my boss (a white male) told me that I did amazing work, that I was a great leader, but that I didn’t do corporate politics with a smile, and they needed someone who could smile more and confront people less.
Marianne, Chicago, IL
I had a coworker who kept folders of all her email exchanges with her boss and colleagues. She would highlight anything that she thought could seem harsh (or even a meme someone sent that she didn’t think was funny) in case she could eventually use it as a legal tool to avoid getting fired.
Martin, Las Vegas, NV
t was my first week in this huge company and I was super excited that I had a great leadership position. The skeletons in the closet started coming out when I noticed how many coworkers were at each other’s throats. In meetings everyone was all smiles and compliments but the second senior mgmt left the room, the pleasantries stopped. One moment I’ll never forget was coming back from lunch one of the other department managers was huddled under desk with her ear against a cup leaned up against the wall. The office door had glass so she saw my perplexed expression and motioned for me to come in. When I walked in she crawled from underneath the desk and whispered “I’m listening to her (the lady in the next office), meeting with our boss to see what project she gets, that way I can see if it’s better than mine.. it’s the only way to get ahead here.” And that’s when I knew I was officially working in a toxic environment!
I’ll Never Tell, NYC, NY
After a grueling week during a big corporate training with some senior leadership teams visiting from Europe, the local team decided to take us out for a typical Cuban lunch (we were based in Miami). One of my coworkers was a heavy set young lady. After we all cleaned our plates, the heavy set young lady patted her belly and mentioned how yummy the food was. The Senior Vice President of Standard & Practices turns to her and said “oh! Did your baby enjoy the food?” This poor girl turned every color in the book because she wasn’t pregnant, just chubby. I, knowing this, started laughing so hard rice came out one of my nostrils….I regret nothing
Fiona, Miami, FL