I’ve had a lot of jobs — 12, in fact and I’m only 26. From waitressing, to bagging groceries, to banking, to teaching, I’ve worked in a lot of different industries with a variety of people from all types of backgrounds. Out of all my jobs, I’ve only really loved two — my current one as a full-time freelance writer and teaching. However, that’s not to say that I hated all the other ones. At some jobs, I loved my co-workers or my boss. Others, I appreciated the pay or the discounts offered. And even a few, I relished the opportunity to learn new things, give back, and grow as an individual.
But it wasn’t until I started freelancing and working with a number of clients, that I found myself working for a company that I slowly grew to despise — okay, hate. I hated them and I hated my job.
I won’t name them outright as I find that unprofessional. I will only say that they were a client that needed me to write for them on their website.
At first, when I applied for the job, it seemed like a good opportunity. I felt pretty confident in my ability to produce the written content that they wanted on the days they needed. Furthermore, I enjoyed the interview with one of the “managers.” But I should have known something was wrong when they sent me a list of things “not to write about.” On the list, were things like Caitlyn Jenner, feminist stories, racial issues, etc. When I asked about why I couldn’t write about these topics, I was told that though these topics “upset” many of their conservative readers, and they didn’t want to have to deal with racist or homophobic Facebook comments.
I should have walked away right then… but I didn’t. I was a brand new freelance writer and I thought, maybe it wasn’t as bad as they were making it seem. The woman I spoke with reassured me that it wasn’t as strict as the list seemed and they didn’t believe such things themselves. And I believed her and I was blinded by money (it wasn’t a big paycheck but it was going to allow me to live independently once again).
It took about a month to realize that I had made a big mistake. Slowly, I came to realize that the company had grown far too fast and had little to no set guidelines. The rules changed weekly by e-mail and sometimes I didn’t get the e-mail. Sometimes the rules were enforced, and other times they weren’t, and even other times, they were only enforced on a few writers (one of them being me!).
When I tried to pitch topics to my bosses, I found their reasoning for not allowing those topics to be… racist at times. “That’s just too ethnic for our audiences” — what?! I about flipped my shit. BECAUSE WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
It only took a month for me to start applying elsewhere, to find a new client to replace that one. From September 2015 to March 2016, I found nothing — no interview, no prospects. I was going insane. Each day that I had to work for this company, I dreaded. I would yell at my computer and complain to family and friends. I would do anything I could to stay calm and relaxed during those times but, alas, those moments were few and far between.
Finally, in April before I went on vacation, I got some good news. One of my other clients was going to allow me to take on a little bit more work in a different department. What I didn’t know was that it wouldn’t bring in as much money as I thought it would, but I didn’t care. This was my opportunity! So I quit that job I hated. And that was a very brash and bad decision on my part.
From the end of April to June, I was in debt — which made me majorly depressed. I got lucky and was able to get out of it, but I learned some vital things from this entire experience.
If you have a bad feeling about a job — trust it! And don’t take the job. Even though, I needed the money, I should have waited, because around the time that I took the job, I was receiving a number of opportunities and I should have taken the others instead of the one that I came to hate.
On the other hand, yes, even if I “needed” the money, looking back, the money wasn’t worth the time that I spent miserable, angry, sad, or upset. I repeat, IT WASN’T WORTH IT.
Moreover, once I found myself working for the job, I wish I had spoken up. My bosses, though ill-prepared to manage the number of writers that they had, were still trying their best and I should have spoken up when things didn’t feel right or things were going bad. Yes, sometimes I did speak up for myself, but I’m very passive aggressive, even when working online. I wish I had spoken to the top boss about the issues that I recognized and made some suggestions on how to improve on them. Maybe it would have helped my situation and perhaps the situation of other writers if they felt the same way that I did. I’m working on being more direct — especially in the working world because I owe it to myself to be and that’s sometimes the best way to get things fixed.
Last but not least, maybe I shouldn’t have quit on a whim like I did. If I had just waited two more months, I would have been able to take care of my finances without getting so deep into debt. However, maybe it was a good thing! Maybe I should have quit earlier and then I wouldn’t have gone through so many months filled with anger and annoyance. I like that learned lesson. I’ll go with that one.
Yes, it was a horrible work experience, but as cliché as it sounds, I’ve come out the better for it. Especially in one sense: the company that I worked for had vastly different ideals and ethics than I do, and I refuse to work for another company like that. Stick to your morals, your ethics, and your ideals. If something at a job feels wrong, it probably is. And there’s something you CAN do about it. Whatever that may be — do it. You owe it to yourself.