Stand Up For Yourself At Work, Even If You Have Everything To Lose

Stand Up For Yourself At Work, Even If You Have Everything To Lose
Stand Up For Yourself At Work, Even If You Have Everything To Lose

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Stand Up For Yourself At Work, Even If You Have Everything To Lose

They say sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you.

I beg to differ.

Because every time I’ve ever let someone talk down to me, I’ve felt like absolute garbage. And I think bad or negative encounters stay with us longer than we like to admit. There are some people in this world that are just plain nasty. You can be as sweet as pie to them and they always find a way to cut you down. Sometime we don’t even know how we feel until hours after the encounter occurs. In instances of confrontation I’ve always walked away, but I’ve learned to let the other person know that I’m not going to take it from them and their behavior is not acceptable.  Confidence is something that’s learned in time.

——–

The first time I’ve had a bad encounter was when I was working at Auntie Anne’s pretzels. 18 year old me as standing by the cash register selling hand rolled delicious pretzels. A customer had asked for extra butter on her cinnamon sugar pretzel and as I was putting in the bag after she had paid she says, “You’re disgusting. You just touched my pretzel with your hands.”

I said, “No ma’am, I’m using the tongs to grab these. But if you like I can give you another one”

“Okay, I want these.” She points to the cinnamon sticks which are 75 cents more.

“Okay, but those are the cinnamon sticks, they’re more than the regular pretzels. They’re 75 cents more.”

“Well, I don’t know why I should pay more for them.”

“You get more pretzels with it, that’s the price Ma’am.”

My coworker who sees me struggling, tells me to just give her the sticks for the same price.

“I usually can’t do this, but I’ll give these to you for the same price as the pretzels.”

“You know what, I should get these for free since you’ve wasted so much time.”

I’m starting to get really aggravated. “Sorry, I can’t give food for free”

We go back and forth like this and this nasty woman tells me I’m just a cashier and I’m a loser.

She takes the pretzel sticks and then throws it at me. This adult woman just threw food at me!!

I had never been attacked like that in my life and she literally just laughed as this 18 year old high schooler cried tears of anger and frustration. The whole situation was just screaming, “Good god! Stand up for yourself at work, girl!”

That day I learned some people are just sadists and just take pleasure in hurting, humiliating and taking advantage of people in fast food.

That altercation sat with me for a few days. I wished I stood up for myself more and wondered what it was about me that gave that woman the impression I was someone to pick on.

———–

My first tour as a NYC rental broker was equally as bad of an altercation. It was literally my first day showing and my senior agent had these two recent grads looking for a 1BR under 2300 in midtown. And if you know Manhattan, you know that’s a dirt cheap rent anywhere. I had no idea what my senior agent Kevin had told these girls but I met them at the corner of 56th and Lexington and had them sign the fee agreement for the apt they were about to see. I was so nervous. I wasn’t even trained on anything yet, and I probably came off as really green.

“Why do I have sign this?!” One of the girls demanded.

“There’s a fee with this apt. I can’t show this apt unless you agree to a brokers fee if you rent this”

The girls eyed me suspiciously, then signed it.

We went off to see the apt down the street.

“This is a terrible apt, not what we saw online. You wasted our time.”

I called Kevin to confirm that was the apartment they had called on. He confirmed and told me to ask them if they wanted to see any of our other apts in that price range.

I don’t remember what was said next but they were picking on me, double teaming me and complaining about, “how I switch and baited them and that the’ve seen better apartments with other agents.”

I just wanted the appointment to end. “Well, it sounds like I don’t have anything else to show that you would like, I’m sorry.” I said tersely.

“What a waste of time!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” And then I left.

One block later I’m on the verge of tears wondering if I can really cut it in real estate.

I was happy that I kind of stood up for myself but hated that I felt so small. Stand up for yourself but it doesn’t always give you that vindicated feeling, in this situation I just felt shitty.

—————-

Today a client tried to move in a day early. These are literally professional hustlers and were fighting us every step of the way. They had their movers at the building. And were furious that they couldn’t move in rent free, one day early.

“You all knew we were trying to move in a day early!!” Professional finger pointers.

My manager was trying to resolve the problem but was making it worst with his lack of tact. “I’m sorry I can’t just give you these keys and have you get one days free rent.” ?????

These people were desperate to get keys with all their stuff ready to move so they started throwing my name under the bus. “I signed leases with Alex and we talked about this!”

I wanted to set the record straight so I went talk to the client and try to smooth things over with some understanding. He started saying how ridiculous the whole thing was and how we’re holding him and his girlfriend hostage by not giving him keys etc. He’s telling me we don’t know how to do our jobs. He was raising his voice and getting in my space.

A part of me felt small again, like that day I felt when the woman threw pretzels at me. But I was thinking, I don’t need to apologize and if this becomes a full out confrontation, I’ll just leave.

I said calmly, “you don’t need to talk to me like that.”

“You messed up our whole morning and my girlfriend is late for work, I’ll talk to you how I want to!”

Oh yeah? I threw my hands up and said, “I don’t need to indulge this.” I started walking away calmly and called him disrespectful.

I got over it but it was funny how everyone in the office was so quiet when he attacked me verbally. Not even my manager knew what to do. He later brownnosed his way back into the client’s good graces.

I told my manager, “I don’t care, one day I might get fired for not sitting down and taking it from client’s and I’ll just have to move on to the next property.”

He seemed shocked that I would be so bold and tell him he can’t make me be nice to these assholes but when you stand up for yourself, you take back some of your dignity that these people so desperately want you to discard.

——————–

I’m actually a very introverted person and when people attack me for something that’s I did, I take responsibility and offer a solution. But if that’s not enough, I know how how to take my losses and walk away, while politely telling someone they are out of line.  Gaining self confidence and self-worth comes from knowing when to walk away.

Life is a slippery slope and we end up taking the treatment we think we deserve.

Don’t let anyone make you feel small. Stand up and speak up for yourself when people try to step on who you are and take advantage. If you think people will stand up for you, they won’t. Nobody stood up for me in any of these scenarios, sure they sympathized with how I felt, but no one stood up. I could have lost my job for not giving good customer service but I took the risk and guess what, I didn’t lose my job!

Some of you might be reading this and thinking, it’s not worth the aggravation and that you should never risk your job for your pride. I mean, you have everything to lose. And maybe I’m giving bad advice. But in my heart and in my soul, I know that every time I don’t stand up for myself I’m allowing myself to be treated as less than and accepting that as truth. I know it probably won’t change how nasty some people are. If standing up for yourself doesn’t do much else, at least I set a boundary with myself on what I’m willing to accept. Ego shm-ego.

The workplace is a tough place, and you always have to remember to look out for #1. Learn how to be assertive at work and fight for your own agenda. No ones going to stick up for you and no one’s going to defend you. And while most jobs require some level of customer service and hospitality, it doesn’t mean you should allow your self to be treated like a doormat and disrespected.

Jobs come and go but your sense of self and how you are to be treated by other people is 100% on you.  Self confidence is everything, so stand up for yourself.

Thanks for reading, if you liked “Stand Up For Yourself At Work, Even If You Have Everything To Lose” feel free to follow, like and share!

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Things have certainly changed a lot since I wrote my first post “My Job Is Killing Me.” I wrote that post and, subsequently, my blog because I was so sick of my work environment. Honestly, I’m still sick of it.  I’m feeling worn out from work and tired.  The one thing I can say is that I know I’m better suited for entrepreneurial pursuits.  Employment feels too much like modern slavery. Why make a blog? Where’s my time? Well, let’s just say it’s my way of coping with work.

I reached my breaking point and began to ask myself: can I really make a change in career? I really thought it over. My two talents that I have that are worth any salt are: real estate sales and writing.  I’m think I’m over real estate; the whole showing apartments in the city and renting homes is getting old. But can I really make a career out of writing?

I started my blog as a way to cope with work stress. I was also frustrated with not finding any solid advice on the internet. You can google, “Coping at Work,” and “Job Is Killing Me” and you find these BS answers to reducing stress. Like basically, suck it up and deal articles. Nobody really wants to say, “Hey! There’s something wrong with a work culture that forces you to be constantly connected, places unreasonable demands and gives you no job security.”  Specificially, American work culture is toxic with no means to negotiate work conditions, pitting employees against each other and manipulation.

I went into the workforce with a lot of hope and promises to myself that I would find purpose and happiness in my work. I envisioned work to have meaning, to make sense and to be a part of a team environment. Boy was I wrong. Maybe that’s not what I’ll find in a corporate environment but maybe I can coach people to find their way.  And even though that dream hasn’t happened for me yet, I’m determined to reach that goal of happiness and peace at work and not settle.  I mean, work takes up 40-50% of your “awake” time a year. That’s a lot of time devoted to one specific endeavor. And when I think of it that way, it’s like, you better make it count otherwise you need something to help with coping at work.

There are a lot of problems with my job. Mostly it’s caused by the bureaucracy and celebration of mediocrity. They literally hire people because they’re just sick of the whole hiring process and need to fill a role.  Rather then promote within and promote loyalty and hard work, they would rather hire outside and negotiate a lower pay rate. It stresses me out so much to think of how unfair it is, writing is my way of coping with work.

Since I’ve started my blog, we’ve lost a manager, two receptionists, two other managers in different departments, a director and two of the office staff. Like, 80% of our teams are gone! Due mainly to overwork and being overlooked for a raise or promotion. It’s horrible. Yet the organizational machine chugs on and continues to make a profit.

After my manager left, I confirmed she was cheating me out of my earnings for the past year. I also confirmed she was talking sh*t about me to upper Management.  She was a toxic manager.  That was pretty messed up considering she would tell me, “Don’t worry I’ve got your back.” I guess that teaches you to never take someone’s word for it and only look at their actions.  I learned that I needed to stand up for myself more in the workplace and not be afraid to rock the boat, even if it means there’s a period of discomfort.

I held the office together during her departure by working 6 days a week. My director was on site to help with the transition but she was a HOT MESS. Literally, barely getting by on her job and delegating her work to other people who are more knowledgeable and beneath her. She made sure she was getting her hourly lunch and leaving on time. She did NOT invest any time in helping me in the interim or doing more than her job required. I personally would not recommend working 60-70 hours a week like I was. And if I had to do it over, I wouldn’t have done the company a SOLID like that and worked myself to death. It was nice that I made some extra commissions, but still…no raise. And the recognition I got was pretty forced. “I can tell you put a lot of care in your work, and most importantly, it shows in your results.”

But I did learn a lot from her, her attitude about works was, “It’s only work.” She wasn’t going out of her way to make sure I was OK, she didn’t care that I was overdoing it. She actually encouraged me to take 2 hour breaks with her!!! I realized I needed to take a leaf out of her book and take a step back from work. Hard worker or slacker, you don’t get paid more for doing extra. Doing more, only causes burnout and anxiety, I need to care less about my job.

Now I’m in the middle of training our new staff, including our receptionist, intern and manager. It just feels so strange. I’m like the fake manager. I hired my receptionists and our intern. I’m training everyone, telling everyone what to do, overseeing all the work. But I’m not paid more and I’m not getting a better title. I posted on Reddit about this and they said that my career there is just going to stagnate and I should be looking for other work. I have put myself out there for other positions but I’m in such a niche industry right now. And the job offers I’m getting are not cutting it, in terms of benefits and pay.

Right now my solution is to keep building a side hustle (this blog) and try not to over invest in my job. It’s literally a circus like any other corporate machine.  It’s just hard to stay positive when you’re not recognized at work. They “promised” me a bonus and I decided that I would stay until the end of the year and see what happened. If things don’t progress, I can jump ship then.

For those of you who are in the same boat as me, stick with it until your next opportunity arises. Keep your head up and keep applying for better work. Start a new business idea! Make plans to back to school and grow professionally. But don’t give up! Things can be crap, people might treat you shitty but that’s just the path you’ll need to take before you’re next opportunity opens up for you! Trust the process and get going!  That’s the best way to cope with burnout and get back in the game.

I want to thank you all for following my progress and following where I’ve been. This blog has been a godsend and has helped me with coping with work.

Please follow, share, like and subscribe!  Check out these other posts

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I have anxiety. Over time I’ve learned how to overcome your anxiety and how to manage anxiety

My job has gotten incredibly stressful between my Director firing everyone under the sun and us getting into the busiest season for my industry as an understaffed and under-trained team.  It’s just been too much pressure. I need to learn how to overcome anxiety and how to manage anxiety.

I’m sure everyone feels like this at work sometimes and we all have our triggers. So I spent last Thursday and Friday off trying to unwind and not let my work take over my life. Then on Thursday, I felt so negative and restless. I was thinking about all these work problems. Like OMG I’m going to have to train all these new people, I’m not getting recognition, and this sucks. I started kinda feeling sweaty, upset with a pit in my stomach that just wouldn’t go away. It was physically uncomfortable and I didn’t know why I was feeling like this. I wanted to feel like my normal calm self. I thought, I shouldn’t feel this way on my day off. But the discomfort and negative feeling wasn’t going away.

I was having an anxiety attack.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety is basically when you worry, feel negative or feel stress to the point where you are inducing your fight or flight instincts. This causes a negative physical reactions like increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, restlessness, sense of impending doom, stomach or chest pains etc.  These anxiety symptoms are no joke.

I tend to also get moody during these intense attacks. I was texting my husband just trying to get over it. And thankfully I did, years of anxiety have helped me manage it much better so at least so I’m not taking it out on someone else.

Here’s what’s helped me:

1. Recognize Your Anxiety

It seems so obvious but a lot times I didn’t realize I was going through an anxiety attack until it was over. My negative thoughts seemed so real to me. They aren’t even logical or rational half the time, but in the moment they are very real. So recognizing what is happening during an attack can be hard and confusing. What helps me to realize I am having anxiety is just to say what I am feeling out loud. “I feel upset” or “I feel anxious.” Just saying that helps me feel in control of what is happening. Ill usually follow with “Why?”

2. Figuring out your triggers:

Not understanding what causes anxiety is like being on a boat without a paddle. You’ll never understand why it’s happening and you’ll just feel helpless and anxious for the next attack. If you get anxiety attacks frequently, keep a diary of what you were doing and what you were thinking prior to the attack. Keep a log of the thoughts you had during the attack and how long the attack lasted. (Do this after the attack is over). I used to watch a lot of reality TV in college and was glued to my social media. I started having attacks and lashing out towards my (now) husband. Over time I realized that I was lashing out because the reality TV shows were making me feel bad about myself and I was always comparing my life to this and that on TV and thinking how boring and uneventful my life was; these thoughts were causing my anxiety. Right now I’m having anxiety from work so I can’t change my situation…

3. Confront VS Avoid

Is it better to confront or avoid you triggers? It depends. In the situation where I was getting anxiety from social media and reality TV, it made sense to avoid. I don’t NEED to have that in my life. On the other I NEED to work so I can’t just avoid going to work. In the situation with work I’m going to have to learn how to deal and confront that anxiety head on. My advice for confronting your anxiety you can’t avoid is just to immerse yourself in it.

I used to also get a lot of social anxiety where I would feel nervous if I had to socialize in a large group. I would nitpick conversations in my head and beat myself up if a conversation didn’t go my way. To overcome this, I became a real estate agent so I can meet many different people without feeling too much pressure to be perfect. And it worked! I’ve met hundreds of new people and now striking up conversation is not unusual or difficult.  Over time I became a smooth socializer and learned how to overcome my anxiety. I don’t care anymore about what other people are thinking about me or if I said something wrong. In certain situations, confronting what is making you feel anxious, especially like an every day occurrence like socializing, can absolutely help you cope and overcome that worry.

4. Take A Different Perspective:

I was still feeling really anxious that day and just wasn’t feeling good in my own skin. Dealing with my anxiety isn’t always easy. I spent a lot of time learning how to overcome anxiety. I knew I was being anxious and irrational so I just sat down and began writing my own thoughts out. I made a list of what I was thankful for, what I wanted to change in my life and brainstormed how I could make those changes. As soon as I was done I felt better. Like I had control over my life. Switching your frame of thought can absolutely help you overcome anxiety attacks. It takes practice because your problems in the moment feel so real and insurmountable. But all problems come with solutions, even if it takes a long time to see results. Thinking about all the great things in my life helped me minimize my worries and realize my problems weren’t as large as I thought.

5. See A Therapist:

If you have persistent negative thoughts, worries and anxiety I would recommend seeing a therapist. I haven’t been to a therapist but I think we should all evaluate where our self depreciating thoughts and anxious worries are coming from and a therapist can do just that. They can help with a lot of difficult mental issues like major depression, bipolar disorder, and severe anxiety. There no shame in it and you can always test out different therapists if you feel like one isn’t the right fit for you.

If you thought this post was insightful feel free to share, like and follow!

Check out my other posts 
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The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson- Review

Mark Manson Book Recommendation
Mark Manson Book Recommendation

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Book Recommendation: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson.

I forget where I heard of this book before. Maybe it was last year, but I read a book recommendation about thinking outside the box. I’m always perusing through the self help section on Amazon so I decided to pick this one up. This is a book for those who are feeling stuck or unmotivated. This became a best book to read in 2016/2017 when it became a NY Times Best Seller.

Some background on the author, Mark Manson is a guy who made a living during the recession blogging, mainly about relationships, life and everything in between. He amassed a huge following and wrote a book that became a best seller. My life goal in a nutshell.

I read it front to back over the course of 3-4 days and it’s definitely a great book to read for anyone that needs a different perspective on things.

Mark describes himself as unreflective, unaware and an asshole but, through his blog and life experience, has become successful from just not caring. I initially thought this would be an introduction on how to be a person who gets what they want from doing what they want without regards to others but, thankfully, it’s much deeper than that.

He takes you on a journey, through his own and other well researched stories, about how we tend to create values and box ourselves in with those values. “Not Giving A F*ck” is basically about questioning those values and the importance they should have in your life. He implores us to ask how we obtained those ideals and whether they are values we should hold ourselves accountable for. There are “shitty values” that most people have and “healthy values” that help us in life to be better people.

I loved how he encouraged us to find meaning in our lives and think introspectively  and become conscious of our self awareness.

This is not a book on how to be more successful or how to get more out of life. It’s about thinking about the life you already have and questioning your values and meaning. I thought it was great for people like me that tend to overthink things. There was a section that discussed the benefits of just being content with what’s in front of you. So many people are constantly reaching, not able to enjoy what’s right here and right now. The most insightful part was about “Not Being Special,” and that is was OK to not be special. Constantly needing outside affirmation that you’re special is a recipe for discontent and unhappiness. Manson seems to find the solution to letting go and how to be happy.

My favorite quotes were:

“Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something”

This was part of the Failure/Success Paradox chapter that basically reaffirmed that you can never be successful unless you fail a significant amount at something. With each failure you learn, and that brings you to success.

“Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. It never changes.”

This was part of the Do Something Principle. Sometimes we’re just so afraid of failing, we do nothing. Well, doing something is better than nothing.  Or we start something, get discouraged, and do nothing before we reach success.  I can definitely relate to that.

This book recommendation is perfect for people who either think too much, are not introspective  or lack control in their lives.

If you’ve read this book by Mark Manson and like this motivational book review, feel free to add to the discussion in the comments.

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6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance & Avoid Work Stress


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Work Stress Is One Of The Main Causes Of Stress. Find Out How To Maintain A Work Life Balance

Not many people can honestly say they have a good work life balance. I feel like I’m always chasing  paper or time. Time back from my commute, time for my family, time back from my overtime. There were moments I’ve worked less and made less money. There have also been times I’ve worked more and made more money. But I’ve never worked less and made more money. And yet I keep finding myself chasing that elusive unicorn job, the one that’s work stress free.  The one where we have enough time during the day to get things done, where we get an hour lunch break, where there some light politics but no animosity.   But while we’re chasing for the perfect job, we have to try to make the most of the job we have now. 

Here are some ideas:

1. Time Management: It’s probably the best but hardest thing to master. Determining what can wait until the next day and what you need to do now based on priority. You don’t want to take care of all the non-essentials and then at the end of the day scramble to take care of what you are now realizing is a must on the to-do list. The best time management tip is this: take a few moments to collect your thoughts and make a list of what you need to do for the day.

2. Cutting BS activities: Sometimes we engage in non essential work habits that we “think” are productive but are really a waste of time and causing your hours to be longer. Things like engaging in office gossip, constant bathroom and smoke breaks, the lunch hour thats over extended and results in reduced employee productivity. It’s ok to engage in these activities here and there, but constant and daily disruptions to work will be noticed by higher ups and will extend your work day and make you less productive at work.

3. Delegate: I really struggle with this one. I really think I’m the best person to do the work so I’ll take on all the work I can, then I’ll burn out badly. Taking work off your shoulders and giving it to someone else might seem like you’re passing off your responsibilities but it’s really not. In a corporate environment usually the workhorse takes on everything, sacrifices personal time and energy to get everything done. Do you want to be the workhorse? Everyone should do their share and if you feel overwhelmed don’t be afraid to speak up and give work off to others who are less busy, and then hold them accountable for their work.

4. Take Time Off: Take all your PTO, especially if it doesn’t roll over. Take personal days and sick days if your not feeling great. I usually take a mental day after a long project. You can’t get work stress if you’re not at work!

5. Don’t Be The Workhorse: Learn how to say “No I’m not going to do this. Not because I don’t want to but because I can’t.” Learn to say no if you think something might be unfair to you. The workplace is cold-hearted and everyone is vying for their own interests. My experience in the corporate world is that these companies can take the best intentioned employees, the ones that are passionate about their work, and turn them into human capital to be exploited for productivity.  Saying no sometimes allows you to create boundaries that are needed.

6. Live Closer To Work-Commuting sucks. I have a 2 hour commute round trip and if I could shorten it I would. Often we have to consider work life balance in the sense of, am I willing to spend more on rent to get time back for my commute? Right now I’m not in a position to move but do try to take into account heavy traffic times and avoid them so I can try to minimize time lost in traffic.

7. Change Careers: I decided I wanted to be in real estate. I wanted the big money.  And after 5 years I finally have all the money needed to pay off my student loans. I’m also working 50-70 hours and work Saturdays. Even if I changed jobs the hours would likely still include weekends and evenings. I need a career that is more flexible, work from home, or I need to save more so I can eventually scale back the hours. Changing careers is not always feasible, definitely not at the drop of a hat, but I’m making serious moves to change that and free up some time, even if it means a pay cut.

8. Quality of life VS Cost of living: That’s always the underlying question when it comes to achieving work life balance. Are you working hard just to make ends meet? In which case, you might need to move to a less expensive area. I see so many people making high earning salaries but CHOOSING to live in a high cost area. At the end of the day they’re just making their bills and it’s kind of a waste of income.

I hope these tips helped Feel free to comment below your tricks to balancing it all and avoiding work stress.

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Check out my other posts!

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

Work Smarter, Not Harder

What To Do When You Dislike Your Job