Moving beyond Workplace Toxicity

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The India Observer, TIO: Growing trend of working in high pace professional settings has recently gained momentum in post pandemic era. Where unemployment and literacy in India is growing at tremendous rate, youngsters are resorting to low income jobs in both
urban and semi-urban regions. Coming with fresh organic mind set and highly competitive educational background they end up struggling for bare minimum. In order to sustain their lives, they fell prey into the notion of “more work yields more growth and success”. But is it all about getting low wages or the true picture is yet to be featured.

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What prompts younger generations to land into big corporations and
organizations? How competitive the process is? How ill-treated these freshers are? How exploitative and toxic work culture comes into place?

Basic purpose of human being on earth is to find ways of sustenance whether young or old every human being fights to earn their livelihood. Society we are living in is indeed a competition driven society and simultaneously unemployment is at rise which leaves people not with enough job opportunities.

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This highly competitive job ecosystem limits people from exploring other less popular options. Another significant reason is people see these big firms and organizations with lot of passion and with perspective of enhancing growth. These work places are to be seen as value added by people who work there especially youngsters.

Now let’s take an inside tour of these work places from the lens of a fresher! As a fresher, you enter with lot of expectations, fresh mind set and passion to learn and work hard. Like they say all that glitters is not gold; with the passing time one gets to realize the true spirit of growth in terms getting bullied, exploitative leaderships and what not.

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This young mind gets exposed to things which in no way are contributing to their growth instead whatever they have had inherited/learnt gets diminished with every passing day of working under exploitative environment. Let alone getting bullied, people in these work places are never appreciated although they give more than they are expected and payed to do. Being young and enthusiastic seems to be a criminal offense, victim starts to question their own consciousness. On the other side of the coin resides the perpetrator who exercises power in most disrespectful manner which all together fuels the already existing exploitative work culture. As a writer it’s my moral duty to mention that the perpetrator could be one person or any group in hierarchy, same goes with the victim here.

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People enter into professional settings with some set patterns, with certain mind-set and principles. They build their clan accordingly and rule the work place predominantly. These people/ stakeholders held themselves accountable and responsible for every task although there are authorities and guiding agencies as well. Now when someone new or fresher comes into picture, these people by virtue of jealousy tend to degrade the image of this new comer by resorting to what is popularly called as office politics or workplace toxicity. Healthy competition, no more gets popularized and unfortunately what is being promoted and propagated is only toxicity.

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Though it’s a strong word in itself, and no company wants to associate it with their work culture. In literal terms, Toxic means something which is poisonous or something causing unpleasant/ harmful feelings. While talking about workplace toxicity, it can take many forms but every forms not only decreases the employee retention but also takes toll on one’s mental well-being. According to MIT Sloan’s recent study, toxic work culture is the number one reason people cite for leaving their jobs.

Working under exploitative Environment

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Toxic work culture does not remain confined to the employees but to their immediate families as well. Generations are being victimized and not only the employee. Toxic work culture extends to dependent members of the family which reflects in their inter-personal relationships. They are forced to leave jobs, go where they earn less but with respect and dignified living. An employer in no way is held guilty but the belief in the rule of law to impart justice will not go in waste.

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Suggestive Measures

All the preventive and curative measures in this sphere comes into place when we draft policies catering harassment in workplaces.

There should be proper policy document promoting healthy work culture which must be followed in letter and spirit. An employer or leader should always work to retain their employees rather than to indulge in dehumanization.

Proper redressal mechanisms to be established within the internal committee to fix issues and seize problems to resurface. It could be in the form of online portals or specifically an anonymous employee feedback system.

Employees whether senior or fresher should be given due credibility and appreciation by felicitating them on monthly or quarterly basis. Giving mementoes of appreciation not only add value to their work but also boosts up their confidence.

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Employee satisfaction should be given priority by promoting conducive work environments to enhance overall productivity.

Disclaimer: Views and suggestions are purely personal to the writer and are not subject to any organization/company. Article is a small effort from writer’s end to raise awareness regarding mental agony an employee suffers in today’s world.

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Edited By Adam Rizvi

Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai

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Samreen Tak

Samreen Tak

Samreen Tak has done Master's in Sociology from Aligarh Muslim University, Ex Youth Advisor for YuWaah UNICEF India and Young People’s Action Team member 2022-2023. Worked as Referral Support Coordinator cum counselor for UNICEF project and Intern Journalist for The Kashmiriyat.

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