Actress, CEO, Olympian…these are all dream jobs for many people. Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in recent months, many of those who’ve achieved success have sacrificed a lot. Gymnasts were abused by Larry Nassar and actresses have spoken out about harassment by powerful men in Hollywood. And these are just those who feel safe enough to speak out. Workers in every industry make huge sacrifices in the hopes of achieving some measure of success, and in many cases, simply keeping their jobs. In a world where abusers are protected for the sake of profit, what is the average person to do when faced with mistreatment? Is it worth sacrificing long-term physical or mental health for a brief period of glory?
Drawing the Line
Most people have dealt with unrealistic expectations, bullying, low pay and other issues in the workplace. It’s easy for those on the outside to say find another job or switch fields, but it’s much harder to do. So where do you draw the line? Some situations where you should file a complaint with the appropriate department or authorities:
- You are asked to do something illegal or help over up illegal activity.
- You are being harassed/abused either physically or verbally.
- You are not being paid for the hours that you work.
- You are pressured to do something that is a risk to your safety or the safety of others.
Although not a comprehensive list, any of the above situations should propel you to take action. It may mean simply looking for another position or something more serious like filing a report with the proper authorities.
It’s easier to leave a bad situation if you have a backup plan. Whether it’s going back to school or turning a hobby into a career, be prepared to enact your plan. Have an updated resume, research how to build a smalls business, find a degree program that fits your career goals and stay up to date on your skills. Don’t just have a general idea, make a step-by-step detailed plan of how you’ll make the change.
When to Speak Up
Speaking out about wrongdoings is not easy. In some cases, it can be detrimental to your career or even to your physical safety. You don’t have to tell the world about your experience, but telling the right person can make a difference not only to yourself but to others who may find themselves in the same position. The right person may be HR at your company or a close friend. If you don’t receive support, tell someone who will listen. As seen with the sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood, once one person speaks out, others feel more comfortable coming forward with their own stories.
When you’re going through a traumatic time, it’s important to seek support, preferably from others who have been through similar experiences. Luckily there are many support groups out there, both online and in person. Try searching on Facebook or MeetUp.com. Support is not only good for your emotional health, but you can also get practical advice on how to move forward.
In a world where sacrificing everything for success is praised, it’s hard to move on or give up on a life-long dream. However, sometimes it may be for the best in order to protect your integrity, health and safety. For more advice, read our posts on dealing with a workplace bully and coping with a hostile work environment.