Workplace Toxicity and Impacts

Prov 11:14   Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.

It has been a while since I have last written but rest assured that the Holy Spirit is alive and kicking in me and I still have a boat load of notes, I have simply not been given the green light share most of it.  However, I wish to share a recent, and possibly personal, family event as I feel there is a deep, spiritual, and scriptural view on this issue.
Early this week, my daughter informed my wife and I that she had quit her job – pretty much out of nowhere. At first I was in shock, then followed by disappointment. She is 21 and needs to make her own choices but I was not prepared for what I thought was a very ill-advised move. As we sat at our dining table to talk about it, she shared, with tears in her eyes, the toxic and hostile environment that she worked – she was a receptionist at a local small Salon. It was very easy to see, and sense, that she was very hurt and emotional about the event. Not about quitting, but about how she had been treated and about the atmosphere at the workplace.
As she briefly laid out the patterns at the salon, she shared that the level of gossip was rampant at an extreme, primarily negative towards each other and everyone at the salon (behind backs or even the occasion where the victim can overhear it). She shared one example where she had assigned a man to a stylist for whatever qualifies as a man haircut at a salon. This stylist did not like this man and walked up to my daughter in anger – she told my daughter that she hates her for assigning this man to her and then proceeded to tell all of the other stylists about her hatred for the “receptionist”.   
As this culture and atmosphere had been going on for a while, my daughter attempted to approach this with the managers/owners but they justified it away and allowed it to continue. A great leadership team is one that exhibits the values, motivations, commitments, and behaviors of honor – this team is missing it and will ultimately fail as a result. Needless to say, I applaud my daughter for taking the step she did and trying to work this out with management first – before cutting the cord. My daughter was very upset and I could tell that not only was she devastated by what she had to deal with at the salon but that my wife and I would take issue with her quitting. No one should have to endure that type of climate and I am speechless about how a small business can afford to allow that to fester. I have read numerous stories about how successful small business thrive when they hold to a level of values and moral systems of conduct where employee’s enjoy work. Many of us have read similar stories. 
My wife and I assured our daughter that we love her and we informed her that we will always be there for her but we also want to ensure she is pressed to move forward. After this discussion, I was working on my devotionals when the Holy Spirit sparked a degree of conviction in me.  We had missed it.  We had missed an opportunity to witness and assure our daughter that God has her in His sights, that He is her Comforter, that He above all loves her. I am ashamed to say that we did not even pray for her as we were focused too much on the world views of this event and not on the spirit aspect of this. When it comes to ministering to people, the toughest job is often right there at home. Its difficult to work with your own family; they know you so well.  We lost a learning moment for all of us at that table but the good news is – it is not too late. 
Here is what we should have talked about and what we should have prayed for. Our daughter, thank the Lord, is one of the most forgiving people I know. The best times are when the blows you sustain in life lead past the point of forgiveness to a place where exciting opportunities and pursuits open up for you as a result of that experience. A broken heart can become a softer heart. Problems lead to answers. Frustration inspires change. And as long as you’re still alive, it’ll depend entirely on what you do with it, how you respond to it, and where you take it.  
  • The business world is full of successful women (and men) who have been beat down which also compelled them to build a life of success and wealth
  • However bad (even evil) peoples intentions are, Gods intention for good can trump those plans. Not just to make the pain stop, but to turn them into a ’cause celebre’.

My daughter can, and will, turn this piece of personal history into a source of strength, opportunity and generosity.

  • Strength because she can take away its residual interference in her life and that free up energy to make her more resilient
  • Opportunity because the lessons and level of appreciation (wisdom) she has gained cannot be owned any other way
  • Generosity because she can multiply the acquired wisdom into the lives of others by being an observable example, by intentionally sharing, and by helping others get through similar challenges.

Why? Because God loves her way too much to leave her the way she was feeling. Not because He’s squeamish, but because of how much vision He has for her.

The points of contention, the areas of resistance, the times, places and people in our worst experiences and struggles can either be left as bad history and place markers of pain and unfairness or they can become your entry points to healing, resilience and enlightenment.

This is what we should have talked about then, but we will talk about it now instead.
 

2 Cor 4:17-18   For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.