Salary cuts, employees being fired, and no salary straight for 2 months. Remember the gloomy days of 2020 when COVID-19 had just hit the world, especially India, and the country went into lockdown, that was as new to the general public as it was to the big employers?
Did you feel blessed and grateful for having a job back then that had reduced your salary by not less than 40 per cent and was giving you no salary for, at least, a month? Of course, you did. That’s what most of us have felt back then. Everyone wanted to work a little more since work-from-home was comparatively a new scenario and it was equalled to having no work to do.
Taking leaves felt like a curse, even if it was for genuine reasons, and most of us were desperate to get back to the most toxic workplaces, which felt like heaven, back then.
Cut to 2021, India saw a wave of resignations. From VPs to those at the junior positions, everybody wanted to break free from the toxic workplace that was exploiting them for more than a year.
However, how did this shift from feeling grateful for a job to happily quitting toxic ones happen in just a matter of a year or more?
“The lockdown was a tough phase for us. Most of us faced financial crises. We were working for extended hours and all that we ever wanted, back then, was to save our jobs even if it wasn’t paying us a decent amount. We all suffered salary cuts. The toxicity was high. However, in 2021 situation got a bit stable and mental health was our, or my, priority. I felt I had exhausted myself in a year in order to save my job. But then I realised if I wasn’t doing mentally fine how would I be able to earn for my family. I didn’t have a job in my hand but I decided to quit my job towards the end of the last year,” says an employee who gave up his toxic job.
While another mentions, “2021 was a ray of hope. With industries opening up, we knew that we would get an opportunity or two. I was a part of the corporate world and everyone knows the pressure it has. It was growing and things were becoming toxic. Compromising mental health wasn’t something that we could afford. More so, during the otherwise tough days of the pandemic. This is why, I decided to quit my job, take one-month rest and then hunt for new opportunities. Fortunately, I found a better one soon after.”
It’s clear what led to this Great Indian Resignation if we may call it so and even if we can’t it was nothing less, – toxicity. Even reports suggest that handling work pressure is easier for employees rather than struggling to fit in a toxic environment where they don’t feel appreciated and valued. Toxic workplaces not only destroy the creativity of minds but also make a pool of talent drift away from it.
“For me, the most important factor of staying back at a workplace is to feel appreciated and to know that my opinions are heard. It’s easier to find money if you have talent, what is not is to find an organisation that knows your worth and gives you the freedom to express your creativity,” says another distressed employee who has been a part of, what he calls, a toxic workplace.
And whether you believe it or not, it’s always the most hardworking employees and the best of the creative minds that quit a toxic job at an early stage.
Experts have explained how love for one’s job is connected with the motivation to work better. The happier a person feels in his or her job, the better he would perform at work. Tough deadlines, taunts and pushing someone’s limits would never help increase his productivity at work.
And since the pandemic highlighted the existence of anxiety, depression, stress and panic attacks, people became alert. Mental health topped their list and they were willing to pay any cost just to find mental peace.
While many of us must be struggling with toxic jobs even before the pandemic hit the globe, it was only after it that we decided to do something about it.
That said, it didn’t mean money took a back seat during all this while. But just that mental health got a tad bit more important than it usually was.