By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
Toxic work environments are real and more commonplace than I care to say – I hear about them often in my line of work.
People aren’t always wanting to simply move on to a higher level or more highly compensated role; they often just want OUT of their acidic environments led by uproarious bosses who say things like, “You all are replaceable,” and refer to their staff as “cattle” (true story).
Thankfully, after completing her resume and LinkedIn profile earlier this year, a client in just such an environment emailed me this weekend to say she accepted a NEW job with a great, Fortune 500 company (she researched them well) and at her target role.
So, all of you out there stuck in the muck of a bad job — there is hope, but as with “luck,” to enable hope often requires your preparedness to intersect with opportunity!
In the meantime, to help sooth your weary soul while navigating a soul-sucking environment, I offer five actionable tips you can employ.
1. Take time off.
2. Imbibe in the sun.
3. Seek outside help.
4. Stop all the self-sacrifice.
[Read the full explanations behind each tip at my recent Glassdoor blog post: 5 Tips to Clean Up a Toxic Work Situation.]
Life As We Live It Now
Winnowing our waistlines and nourishing our marriage, we forge ahead, rooted in strength and hope. Our landscape includes tree-lined, winding roads punctuated with eclectic cabins, tiki huts, grazing horses, cattle and chickens. Pelican’s Landing is hoisted above a sprawling sailboat marina one and a half miles from our driveway, and Lake Texoma shoreline, within walking distance, beckons.
Our intention was to live here one year before journeying on to the Florida coast. Three years after our site visit (November 2010), we remain, imbibing the Texas sun, residing in our two-story cabana and contemplating a robust future.
Regularly drenched with sweat, we’re drawn to soaking our bodies in the lake during triple-digit summers — Texas has delivered on its heated reputation. Sweltering summer days inspire sunrise sails and languid backstrokes to cool hot skin and soothe weary souls from economic and personal machinations.
Our home, illuminated by a self-defined nautical theme, is draped in rambling porches that bear witness to sunrise coffees, sunset cocktails and whoops of laughter. We’ve grazed on striper, catfish, shrimp, grilled steaks, Doritos and spinach dip. Tropical spirits have flowed, as have deeply felt conversations with friends and family where we contemplated frustrations, successes, passions and solutions regarding POTUS, the economy, freedom, joy and growing older.
We’ve pounded out word stories, negotiated service and product sales and drawn our living from intellect and emotion as well as the rich, North Texas soil that appends an 89,000-acre lake that we now claim as home.
We’ve introspected, laughed, shed tears, fought, hugged, been brought to our knees and been shaken to the core. We’ve pumped our fists, been humbled, been empowered, revived and thrived, and we’ve celebrated. We have rejoiced in our five-year marriage; made merry on my 50-year birthday; ceremonialized and wept wrenching tears for the loss of Louie; honored the arrival of feline orphans through daily care-taking; and celebrated and embraced friend and familial relationships that imbue gray days with bursts of color.
Sails unfurl, motors hum and music heaves emotion across the air, across the water, as we continue to make way.
[Kindly don’t leave; there is more to the story if you scroll down.]
We invested in this little sailboat during our first season here and affectionally dubbed her, Havana Daydreamin’ after one of our favorite Jimmy Buffett songs.
Capt. Rob and me, in our happy place, Sea’sing the Day.
The Prequel to Our Move
My husband called me a ‘home-girl’ when we dated. There was truth to that; although, over the years I have traveled the world. Most of my international trips occurred between the ages of 9 and 25, during which I voyaged to England, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Hawaii, California, New York, Texas and beyond. My dad was a TWA inspector, and we were blessed with many globetrotting benefits.
I love adventure, but always had returned home to the comfort and nourishment of Kansas City, with its Midwest charms, big-city-in-a-small-town personality, and robust circle of family and friends. I also think that traveling so much at an early age unraveled some of the mystery of ‘other cities’ and relieved the compulsion some young people feel to move away after college graduation.
That said, picking up stakes and moving with my husband to North Texas in the spring of 2011, unnerved my home-girl sensibilities while also tapping into a spirit for adventure.
While downsides of rural, unincorporated living exist in small number, I often and gratefully am overwhelmed by the many upsides: the tranquility, the access to a very large body of water, 12 marinas, multiple resorts and campgrounds, the like-minded and fun-loving other souls who’ve carved out their little niches here, the absolute, unfettered availability of a sailboat or power boat and much more.
How This Relates to Careerists and Job Seekers
As I work alongside careerists in my day-to-day, I often encourage their confident introspection in unwinding their own thoughts to derive life-changing career decisions. What, ultimately, are the cultural traits that may make you (and your family) happiest when considering your next job, next company, next geographic move? The obvious answers are not always the ultimate ‘right’ answers.
Now, before you leave, please enjoy this brief sailing video, joining us in one of our more lighthearted moments here on the banks of Lake Texoma, Texas!
By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
What movies inspire you?
I have several, and often, while I am exercising on my stationary bike, I select one for the DVD player. Watching this colorful, poetic, emotionally stimulating and musically evocative story really helps me get through that grueling 2-mile workout.
My goal during workout is to sweat profusely, raise my heart rate and beat my last ‘race’ time. As well, I’ve been aspiring to lose weight, and slowly but surely I’ve lost about 9 lbs, but this has been over a period of months.
You won’t see me on The Biggest Loser shedding 10 lbs. in one-week’s time, but you will see me watching the show, cheering on my favorite contestants. That’s because the show is another that inspires me toward my goals.
Most of the films that move me involve struggle, pain, sadness, initiative, humility, tenacity, hard work, hope, laughter, love and passion. Most of the DVDs that I choose offer happy endings, because, though life is wrought with pain, it is the happy, contented moments that I aspire to and ‘live for.’
If you are in job search or are seriously considering a career change; if you are in the throes of wrenching transformation but are bound by fears and discontent that can paralyze action, then move away from the bad news that peppers the television (remember, it’s the bad news that sells ads, not the abundance of good news that is there, at arms length).
Though change is never as simple as a good movie, a transporting, energizing and inspiring movie CAN be a healing salve. Through its uplifting story, a well-written dialogue helps motivate you and sustain through the change needed to get to your state of happy.
Here are a few of my favorite movies and compelling lines from those movies. I would love to hear what movies and lines have enkindled new hope, emboldening you to take action to move YOU and YOUR career goals forward!
Shall We Dance?
“Be that alive.”
“The rumba is the vertical expression of a horizontal wish. You have to hold her, like the skin on her thigh is your reason for living. Let her go, like your heart’s being ripped from your chest. Throw her back, like you’re going to have your way with her right here on the dance floor. And then finish, like she’s ruined you for life. ”
The Pursuit of Happyness
“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period. ”
“The important thing about that freedom train, is it’s got to climb mountains. We ALL have to climb mountains, you know. Mountains that go way up high, and mountains that go deep and low. Yes, we know what those mountains are here at Glide. We sing about them.”
Dan In Real Life
“Love is messy.”
Bridget Jones’s Diary
“I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are. ”
“They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say ‘Shit, it’s raining!'”
As Good As It Gets
“I might be the only person on the face of the earth that knows you’re the greatest woman on earth. I might be the only one who appreciates how amazing you are in every single thing that you do, and how you are with Spencer, ‘Spence,’ and in every single thought that you have, and how you say what you mean, and how you almost always mean something that’s all about being straight and good. I think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest woman alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me. “