Say “No” to Abusive Employers

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Fellow Millennials, I’m confident you know how it is. The ever present abusive employers that feed off our life energy. You land a new job, ignore the warning signs and try to give the employer the benefit of the doubt. But what happens when they don’t give you the same courtesy? The younger generation, Gen Z, are all about relationship red flags but when was the last time we stopped and considered that the agreement between workers and employers is one of the most important relationships in our life?

How do we move forward when the trust is broken?

As lamented in previous posts, I started out working in call centers as a teenager. The environment coupled with the fact I suffered chronic homelessness and food insecurity led to constant anxiety, depression, and stress. It also led to acceptance of abusive and discriminatory treatment from my employers, coworkers, managers, and customers. So what if I was unfairly punished for things out of my control? Who cared that my life was threatened or I was berated by customers? As long as I had a job to pay the bills, it was just the way it was. My parents would tell me to suck it up, that’s life and it’ll be that way until I die.

They say this is America, that we have equal opportunity and that we’re “protected” from such retaliatory behavior at work but it’s a straight fucking lie. Any one who’s had to work minimum wage (or less!) can attest to that. No one is protecting the most vulnerable populations in this country – that would require laws actually be enforced. It would require our BROKEN system to work. But I digress, the main reason for this post is to discuss how there comes a point in one’s life that they have to choose between sucking it OR standing up and saying “No”.

The average worker spends over 40 hours a week providing under paid value to their employer. That’s around 40%, or more if the worker has healthy sleep patterns, of our waking hours. More than some spend with their own families.

The simple fact is what happens at work impacts our lives. If we’re under constant threat of reprimand and micro-management almost half of our life, how can that possibly be healthy? Why do we “put up with it”? And for what, so we can say we worked hard at the end of the day to make an Entity that isn’t even alive richer?

F*ck that

The scary truth is not many of us have options. We’re strapped for cash, trying to pay off debt that likely fell on our shoulders due to accidents, the shit healthcare system in this country, and societal pressure to get a degree that statistically had a better use as fire-starter. Don’t even get me started on unwalkable neighborhoods, food deserts, or how we’re unable to work AND care for our families because employers don’t give a shit about flexibility. Oh and don’t forget how we just lost food stamps and medical coverage because of a foolish 1% increase in pay and the end of important protective pandemic era rulings that actually HELPED us as a society obtain stability. Stuck between making too much to be deemed worthy of help but not enough to actually breathe.

I’m sick of it and surely you are too. The games are done and for the youngest of us, it’s time to move up or out because we’re too old for this. (I also lost the Game writing this so you’re welcome.)

What can we do other than keep our heads down and DEAL with it?

Nope, we’re not going to deal with it. We’re going to take action and build a matrix of what we will no longer tolerate in our lives. Which brings me back to the point: when my husband and I moved to New York we promised each other we would no longer tolerate abusive employers and/or work environments. Here’s a small list of red flags, not anywhere all of them but if it sounds familiar, I want you to think long and hard about the meaning of work and your relationship with your employer.

  • Occurrence based system
  • Unrealistic Metrics
  • High turn-over rates
  • Missed and/or late pay (report them to your State’s Department of Labor, I do! Most States have statutory regulation surrounding last pay checks too.)
  • Undue punishments with no discussions/warnings or investigation
  • micromanagement
  • clock-in, clock-out (every second accounted for)
  • Restricted lunch time OR forced lunches (State laws typically require employers to provide a lunch time of x-minutes for every x-hours of work, but employees are under not legal obligation to take those lunchs)
  • Working-lunches where they require you to stay until the end of your regular shift with no OT pay (usually salaried exempt)
  • Coworkers creating drama/talking behind your back/gaslighting/creating a hostile environment
  • Manager forcing you to work while ill
  • Manager taking away approved vacation time for ANY reason
  • Coworkers contacting you regarding work related topics outside of work
  • No formal interview or onboarding process
  • Does not provide sick leave separate from vacation time
  • Less than 14 PTO days
  • Favoritism
  • Paperless environment
  • No cellphone usage allowed

Those are just a few red flags our employers have displayed over years. The most recent incident led to me urge my husband to quit with no notice. It was BULLSHIT and they can go fuck themselves as they have been for years. The employer had so many red flags that I’d told him to look for other jobs a month prior to starting. But as many of us have foolishly done, he attempted to give them the benefit of the doubt.

They worked on an occurrence based system, hired with no formal interviews, had less than 14 PTO days with no sick leave. Allowed no sick time or time off during 6 weeks of training (life happens!), micromanaged, and had unrealistic metrics. Let’s not forget their outrageous turn-over (70+%), would not allow employees time at work to sign up for benefits and would not allow them to sign up at home despite using Workday which is publicly accessible. Gave occurrences for looking at phones in the classroom (non-live environment) to make sure there wasn’t an emergency call even though it was explained this was OK and handed out undue punishments with no discussion or investigations.

In our instance the trainer reported my husband for looking 2 seconds at his phone to confirm my social security number while attempting to secure much needed employee benefits. They’re a paperless environment and it is illogical to expect employees to remember every little detail about their beneficiaries and dependents. Needless to say, HR pulled him aside with no investigation to issue a final warning (there was never an initial one), stripped his eligibility for the $1500 hiring bonus, and took away his ability to grow within the company for a year. All for signing up for benefits he had a legal right to. Absolutely despicable and straight abuse!

The worst part was, this is a large State AND Federal government contractor that makes BANK while leaching off our country’s most vulnerable population. I know, I’ve seen their invoices. It is appalling that they’re allowed to get away with this. Even worse, there are no laws to protect our vulnerable workforce from this predator who operates across multiple States and internationally.

Not everyone is in a financial situation to be able to tell abusive employers like this to F*CK-off. We really aren’t either but we promised each other so this is how it will be. We’re too old to put up with predators like this. Currently we cut our eating out budget to $0 and are adjusting some other plans (like fertility treatments and buying land for the orchard) to account for however long he is out of work. Ideally he’ll find something temporary for health insurance benefits so we can be covered in emergencies and seek diagnostic testing while we wait for the civil service exams to open this Fall.

If any of this sounded familiar, I can’t stress enough for you to make a list of what you will and will NOT put up with. If you’re stuck with an abusive employer, you are not alone and you can take steps to distance yourself from them. Even if it’s small things like stacking a few extra dollars away to build an emergency fund or applying for jobs on the side so you can leave them in the dust.

Do what you have to do, but don’t accept abusive employers!

Sick of this rat race? Find out how to break the mold, leave abusive employers in the dust, and join us on a journey to change your life.


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