I like to say I rage quit my job, but the truth is I allowed myself to endure a hostile and sexist work environment for way too long. Scroll down to read more about my rage quitting.
I wish I could tell you I went out with a blaze – but given women have to be 2.5 times more productive than man to be equally recognized, I swallowed my pride and bowed out gracefully.
Let me start with what lead to my rage quitting….
A HARSH DOSE OF REALITY
I was reading Susan J. Fowler blog about her Uber experience and the issues she raised. (**If you do not know about Suan J. Fowler – she was the one that blew the lid off the sexist environment at Uber and paved the way for the ousting of CEO Travis Kalanick). After reading her blog about the hostile work culture for female employees at Uber – my heart sank. Her work environment sounded a lot like my work environment. All the issues she talks about experiencing at Uber – ALL existed in my work environment:
√ Old Boys Club
√ Political Undermining
√ Gender Discrimination
√ Payment inequality
It’s a very eye-opening moment when you recognize a situation at your own work that you thought you would only read about in the press.
The meeting that directly led to me rage quitting was during a 1:1 with my male manager. During the meeting, my male manager made two biased comments that showed me I was no longer in a passive misogynist environment but a very active and blatant one.
SEXISM AT THE OFFICE
After giving constructive feedback to him on a new hire who was not qualified for the position, which he disagreed with, his response was:
“Whitney – you don’t get to have an opinion. I will let you know when you can have an opinion. Until then be more modest – men don’t like women who are know-it-alls”
Let’s, let that sink in shall we…
I am a director of a global media agency running multiples teams and channels. I am paid to analyze and give my opinion on brand strategy, media channels, and technologies that I have spent almost 10 years specializing in – that is my job…or was my job. My 9+ years specializing in media, accounts, teams, and technology meant nothing to this man because he didn’t respect me enough to value my opinion. Instead of appreciating what I brought to the table – he was threatened by it. I was disrupting his status quo.
My response, which is probably not suitable for public consumption, led to raised voices between both of us and a stiff exchange that ended in a very awkward stare down. But, I will tell you – I was not the first to blink.
When you’re young they tell you – “work hard – you will go far‘. It was the first place that I worked where I realized it didn’t matter how much I worked, how much I contributed to the bottom line or how many accounts I won us – being outside of the ‘Old Boys Club‘ would always be a limitation I could never overcome.
Now – being a poor manager is a cross-gender issue, but my agency has more than just poor management issues. There was an active boy’s club with preferential treatment for the males across, salaries, accounts, and resources.
This was a systematic environment of sexism with a ‘glass ceiling’ for the women.
From watching women in my office get symbolically ‘promoted‘ but not be given the raise & title they deserve, but told they still need to “earn it” – although no such requirement was made to their male counterparts. To seeing the enormous work and pay imbalance across the women in the office when compared to their male counterparts.
To the male CEO reaching out to the women directors and ask us to create and give our free time to a “women’s initiative” to help solve the glass ceiling for women at the company – as though it was really our issues holding us back and not the male management and bias treatment.
I and my other female directors continually raised the toxic work culture issues that we experienced to our male management team. Our concerns and examples were summarily dismissed.
The most common response I heard when I shared my corporate rage quitting experience was: “I can’t believe that still happens in this day and age!” Neither could I until I was in the middle of it.
Toxic work environments like that can make you feel undervalued, unappreciated and extremely uncomfortable. I consider myself to be a very strong individual but that whole situation was very unhealthy and demoralizing. Remember ladies – that type of work environment is completely unacceptable. It will never be an environment that will grow and develop your talent. I wish I had left sooner. In the end, I wasted a lot of energy trying to fight culture and an executive team that had no interest in changing.
If you find yourself experiencing anything similar – know this is not normal and you deserve to work where you are valued and appreciated.
TOXIC WORK CULTURE RESOURCES:
If you are struggling with a toxic work environment it’s important to know your rights and resources available to you. Please visit Lean In.org, MeTooMVMT.org, Women in Research.org and AAUW.org to learn more.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion, and it applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
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I quit my job too, because it was toxic too. My problem was not so much the old boys’ club, it is that the profession (and students) have changed dramatically since I first started teaching nearly 12 years ago. I have known for the last 3 years that I couldn’t take it anymore, so I move to 3 different schools (in an effort to find a better set of students and administrators). After going to 2 of the best districts, I knew that I just couldn’t keep trying to teach kids that don’t want to learn nor administrators that blame only the teachers when kids don’t perform. I vlogged my last 2 years, but have not released it for fear of backlash. Thanks for sharing your story.
Thank you so much for the comment and sharing your story! I am so sorry you went through that. I was worried about the backlash but I realized it just helps enable those types of environments! The more we share our stories the stronger we become together! I hope you share your story so that it motivates others to speak up! Wishing you the best!
Omg I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through that babe. I am also in a male dominant field and it can be a challenge. But you go girl!! So awesome you left that toxic work environment.
cute & little
OH man, I can so relate – I work in politics in Washington, DC and the boys club is very real, even more so now. Good for you for knowing your worth and standing up for yourself!
Girl you are on fire! Nice to know the power of female is still strong.. Keep it up 🙂
That is AWFUL! I am so glad you got out of there. Hopefully you get another job soon.
OMG I can’t believe you had to go through that!!! I’m so sorry, but SO proud of you! Amazing, amazing job lady. I quit my toxic job about 5 years ago and never looked back. The problem was not so much sexism, but a lack of respect and appreciation overall. So happy you took a stand!
SO sorry you had to go through this! I feel like this is a lot more common than we think 🙁
I’ve had to deal with something similar. The worst is when you’re trying to offer your opinion and men are threatened by it. Or when you •God forbid• have a strong opinion and they say you’re being “too emotional” or “taking it personally”. Good for you for leaving!
Wow, I’m surprised and so sorry this happened to you. Before I had kids, I was in HR management and we paid everyone exactly the same per grade level/job title. It didn’t matter what age, gender or race someone was. I think most companies are not like yours and there are many out there who will reward you for you, without regard for sex, race, age, etc. There is a better company out there for you, and you will end up with a better job as a result.
Better believe I’ve experienced a toxic work environment. Important to remember that some women also uphold toxic frameworks in workplaces, whether subconsciously or intentionally. I work with a woman (you know who) who puts her insecurities, ego, and determination to prove that SHE IS THE BEST above everything else and has no qualms about stepping on and putting down other women along the way. On one hand, I can sometimes empathize with feeling like you have to work EXTRA hard in a male-dominated work environment to succeed – but not when it’s at the expense of other women with whom you work. You did the right thing… when the environment is oversaturated with toxicity…time to get OUT.
You go girl!!!!! Such a tough situation to deal with! You made the right choice and you look amazing!
This was such an interesting read and a totally smart move on your part. It saddens me that so much of this still exists in the workplace, and it’s a reality that I hope one day we will no longer have to accept.
xx, Danielle | Pineapple & Prosecco
Oh my goodness! I am so proud of you for getting out of there. And while it would have been great going out with guns blazing, it’s also awesome you did it respectfully and gracefully! You are a strong woman lady!
xo Laura Leigh
I feel very fortunate to have not worked in a toxic environment but I’m so sorry you had to experience that! It is shocking that these job environments still exist today- we deserve better as women and equals in the workplace!
Such a great read. I was in a work place that was male dominated; architecture and quite after 2 years. Props to you for taking a stand and leaving that toxic environment! It takes a lot of courage to do that.
I am so sorry this happened to you! I have been there before and I understand how frustrating it can be. I know that you’ll have an even better opportunity moving forward and I can’t wait to hear about it 🙂
-xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com
you go girl! for standing up for yourself! One thing I’ve learned through work is that you really have to fight for respect when this should be leveraged as a basic human being. Anyhow, I do have high hope things will change for the good especially when all the women are rising!
Girl yes! At my last job i asked for a raise and was told no. Then my boss said if I was a man I’d be getting paid more. Let’s just say I quit soon after! Sexism is still so alive in the workplace. It’s up to us to take a stand and show it won’t be tolerated!
That makes my blood boil. I had a CEO tell me I had to be more passive and demure because I was a woman and it would take me further in my job. It’s crazy the things that are said even in this day and age. I am so glad you left! It’s so important to know your own worth!
I quit my job of 11 years in July for the exact same reason. best thing I ever did! Sad to see I wasn’t alone in this, but glad to know I am not crazy.
ha! you are def not crazy! I am so glad that you got out and left! It’s so important to take a stand and not allow these types of environments! Thanks for sharing!
Whit, I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through that. The last field I worked in before becoming a mom and full time blogger was a male dominant field and it was definitely challenging at times. Thankfully my boss appreciated my opinion and often asked for it. But its so often you recognized you were in a toxic work environment and decided to leave. That can be a hard decision to make!
Quitting is not easy and your experience does seem to be a drop in the bucket. It happens everywhere and it SUCKS
Back when I was 18, my boss asked me if I’d ever performed a particular sex act and strongly implied he expected me to perform it on him. I told him no, but I’d quit a job before and I was doing it again. What made it even creepier was that his fiancée was standing less than 20 feet away!
ugh – I am so sorry you had to experience that. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing. The more we speak up – the more others know that is not ok!
THIS is the best post ever! Congrats on the move, you are admired!
It is terrible to hear things like this; definitely something I hope I will never have to experience. It is so amazing that you took your career into your own hands and quit such a toxic place. I’m just sorry it had to come to that.