In the days of sexual harassment being reported every single weeks across various industries it is important women understood they have a voice and power to stand up against an inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour and businesses took the right steps towards ensuring a healthy and balanced work environment welcoming to everyone.
As Sheryl Sandberg mentioned in her moving post:
“We need systemic, lasting changes that deter bad behavior and protect everyone, from professionals climbing the corporate ladder to workers in low-paid positions who often have little power, (…)Too many workplaces lack clear policies about how to handle accusations of sexual harassment.“
While sexual harassment is easier to spot and report, emotional harassment is much more difficult to pin down and can take years to identify, quite often leaving the victim emotionally and mentally damaged.
Sexist and misogyny still very much exist in every industry and are still very much left unattended and oftentimes, it is not only men that partake in it. Although, as unpleasant as it gets, my past work experience has taught me a lot about myself and how to make wiser choices in the future and I would like to share this wisdom with you:
- It’s not the single person that holds the blame, it’s the company that accepts that sort of behaviour. Unfortunately, we might hold one person blame for what has happened to is, but it is the company’s culture and management that does support these sort of unacceptable behaviours. It is a warning sign when you see similar behaviour coming from senior management and there is no screening and management training to address it.
- Despite popular believes, HR department is often powerless. I was lucky enough HR was compassionate enough to offer me all the support however in a face of issues like that their hands are tied because it is the whole business and those sort of behaviours are coming from the top. When you see you can’t seek support internally, look for it outside of the company. There are organisations like ACAS, lawyers, friends and therapists that will be happy to help you through the journey.
- If you are challenging the status quo, you are a fighter, not a quitter. When I walked out from the HR room, I felt I gave up. I gave up on a great job and I gave up on me because I didn’t continue my fight. The truth is, there are fights worth taking and there are fights worth walking away from. Making a conscious decision to walk away was my way of choosing to invest my energy someplace else.
- Trust your values and integrity. This one was probably the core of the problems. I couldn’t feel like I was integrated into a company that was built on stretched out truths, promises and one man’s ambition to be the greatest. That company represented completely different values to mines and I had to spent my time there to understand how important my values and integrity are for me.
- There’s life beyond the office job and there’s a greater purpose in life. Losing or walking away from a job often feels like end of the world. When it is just the beginning.
I learnt that in every hurtful experience there’s a great lesson we can learn… And it’s up to us how we interpret it.