By Vi Waln
Working in a hostile environment affects you more than you realize. I’ve experienced what it’s like to work for organizations that condone hostile environments. It isn’t fun.
Today, I would estimate that 99.9% of employed people on the homelands are subject to hostile environments at work. Sometimes the hostility comes from your supervisor, other times it comes from your co-workers. A hostile work environment is basically harassment. Consequently, hostile situations might be deliberately created to force you out of your position.
For instance, according to Wikipedia:
A hostile work environment may also be created when management acts in a manner designed to make an employee quit in retaliation for some action. For example, if an employee reported safety violations at work, was injured, attempted to join a union, or reported regulatory violations by management, and management’s response was to harass and pressure the employee to quit. Employers have tried to force employees to quit by imposing unwarranted discipline, reducing hours, cutting wages, or transferring the complaining employee to a distant work location.
There are specific instances on Rosebud where the examples outlined on Wikipedia’s site are happening now. Unfortunately, management usually doesn’t care about you. If your presence threatens management, they will allow their personal insecurities, or will carry out orders from higher ups, to find a way to get rid of you.
A common instance could involve a supervisor who distorts a report made by an employee. For example, this might happen when an employee writes up the supervisor for a violation. Instead of working to get past the incident to improve the overall work environment, the supervisor might decide to turn the situation around and paint the employee out to be the bad guy. The employee is usually fired soon after this.
Supervisors, directors or managers would do well to help their employees improve their performance, instead of trying to find ways to get rid of them. Employees who have been with the organization for a long time are obviously committed to their jobs. There is no one immune to problems in their personal or family lives; a good supervisor will realize this and work with their committed employees.
Today, however, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve been in your position for a long time. You might think your years of service will work to guarantee your position at an organization. There are times when management will go after the employees who have been with the organization the longest, with the intent of pushing them out.
When management seeks to get rid of a long-time employee, they are obviously not willing to devote the time or effort to help the staff member improve. Good management seeks to build up their employees. I definitely wouldn’t want to work for someone who wouldn’t hesitate to find a way to terminate me the first chance they got.
Another example of a hostile work environment is when you suffer from actions by your co-workers. I have had first-hand experience with this one. I’ve always been a person who is not afraid to honestly verbalize what I think. Even though it may make my co-workers angry, I believe I have to speak up for myself.
Consequently, I once worked at a job I really enjoyed. At that time, management believed in my ability to get things done, so I worked with minimal supervision. Soon, two of my co-workers took issue, for reasons unknown to me, with my job performance and basically ganged up on me. They started running to the boss with allegations about me. It got so bad that I was being called into my supervisor’s office to explain myself. I grew weary of being targeted and eventually left the job.
If you are being victimized by management or your co-workers, I would suggest you begin looking for a new job. It isn’t worth your mental or emotional health to continue working for an organization that obviously doesn’t want you there. Change is difficult but it has to be faced by many of us.
An alternative to seeking a different job is returning to college. There are many opportunities for us to seek a college degree. We have our local tribal colleges waiting for us to enroll. There are also countless online opportunities for you to obtain a college education. Go back to school and become educated so you can one day work to help your employees improve, instead of looking for ways to fire them.
There comes a time in life when you have to put yourself first. Staying in a job just because you’ve been there for many years is not good, especially if management or co-workers are intent on sabotaging you. There is always something better out there, you just have to find it.