For years, I worked hard as a journalist for a major newspaper. The pay was good and it was a relatively important and prestigious position. I was passionate about what I did, but at the end of the day, there were just too many reasons that pushed me away from a place I didn’t want to be. I am truly happy that I made the shift for the following reasons.
There was a lack of communication about performance tracking and expectations. Without any kind of communication as to whether I was doing anything well or not well, there was nothing to really aim for. The management just did not seem interested in what I was doing aside from certain tasks and routines. Several interactions with HR did not result in any tangible changes for me. So I had to make the change.
I was constantly told to appreciate my position at the company. Apparently, I was “lucky to have a job”. Just having a job is looked upon as the pinnacle for success in the modern era. But a job is just a job. There is far more to human life than simply churning an income. There has to be fun and joy, as well as good relations between co-workers and management. People should not have to work their whole lives to “earn” a living.
This “lucky to have a job” line often comes from toxic management who are looking to ‘extract the value’ from workers. It was used on me multiple times as a form of negative enforcement. I had a very capitalistic boss who looked at getting the most out of his employees. Moreover, he showed no respect for me or other workers as actual people. He maintained a strict front of being above everybody else and that we must conform to deadlines. Nothing else mattered.
While everyone is guilty of this, I found myself working far too much with 12-hour shifts, chasing down news stories, getting clarifications, completing edits etc. At one point, I actually found myself doing some roles that were outside of my job description. I then got negative feedback for not doing it correctly. So I was working late, getting poor sleep, no exercise, and all to get criticized for something I shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.
Motivation is often a delicate balance between routine tasks and new and challenging processes. While I started out bright-eyed and motivated, this enthusiasm was eroded over the years. Looking back, I should have left at the beginning instead of waiting a couple more years for things to really deteriorate. There was no more upward momentum in the company, and I had hit a ceiling. I did not like the jobs I was doing with nowhere to go.
In the final year of my role, I did not find that I learned anything of note. Everybody needs to be challenged and the chance to excel in what they are passionate about. A company that does not strive to challenge and improve its workforce is not one that you or anybody else should be working in. You won’t expand doing the same things over and over.
For years, I thought that this was just how the journalism industry worked. I had no idea that there were better options out there. The next role I undertook was for a higher salary, with a more interesting and smaller workload, and an amazingly pleasant environment to operate in. Most people get stuck in a rut and have no idea about the variety of options out there. Don’t dig your heels in with the belief that you have to meet the plate. Explore all of your options and never accept an inferior quality of life. There is more out there and moving from my toxic role was the best thing I ever did.