Opinions wanted - How to take action against Gaslighting /Toxic Positivity in the work environment?
I have been unhappy with the culture of my work shortly after I arrived. It is a culture that touts a people first environment, a place where people can be honest, express their ideas and take ownership of driving the business forward. It became apparent this was too good to be true in my dept. The different department leaders were hired as low level employees when in the startup phase and quickly advanced with no leadership or job training to handle their new jobs. Hard work did not pay off, the relationship and politic game got people ahead. New people that came in after all these promotions with a drive and desire were inundated with work since there was no prioritization, change management, growth plan or structure to ensure a work life balance. People that came onboard were hired below market value considerably (20-45% based on pay given at other companies when they left.) and promotions difficult to hit since nothing was defined on what merited one in this org. If you were to speak up behalf of others with poor management, offer solutions, suggest more sustainable long term strategy, governance or speak about your own desire to work on meaningful things you were labeled a trouble maker and told you were not optimistic.
The org twisted company values really when the new SVP leadership came onboard. She shifted people into rolls with no discussions, job descriptions, no growth path, no training for those to be equipped for that new role. She lead by a fear culture where her direct reports would struggle to speak against her or ask for anything for their employees. Everything became a fight. They went so far to not give someone a raise late last year by saying they meant to hire her as Senior so she got the title bump and no pay so she was paid more than 30k less than other seniors in that dept. They shifted people passionate about their jobs into such different roles even when their old roles or similar existed or were needed. People started doing multiple jobs for no extra pay. Then, they promoted people with no pay or merit raises right as COVID started in March in an effort to stave off job loss, even though they bragged they were infused with capital.
I looked around for jobs in other depts that had healthier cultures, but due to COVID, budget was tight so new roles, though needed, were not prioritized or created. The CEO emphasized preventing burn out, but that message did not carry downstream to this org. I then started looking outside the company at managent suggestion and was offered a few positions which I turned down because they wouldn’t help me grow and seemed to be struggling with their own culture. We then had layoffs, it was a huge hit to see family be let go. Then the next day, management told everyone those unpaid promos and merit raises were to be reinstated upcoming.
Not even A few weeks after this happened, I was offered a dream role. The salary was in a range I was previously comfortable with and the company, boss, dept and job seems fantastic for my background. I talked to my current boss when I received the offer since he encouraged me to find the right fit since he was struggling to get promotions and raises even with the reinstatement around roles at the company. To that point, he was an advocate for all individuals laid off and employees there where he could in his free time.
He reacted with mixed emotions stating the company could not be able to meet what I want. He then over the next few days broke trust, went to the SVP to to discuss retaining my talent since I proactively complete a significant amount of the workload for OKRs, was highly ranked on reviews, and respected cross org with stakeholders all while combatting extreme health distress in which I hid from most in due to constantly feeling the need to put work first due to deadlines. I later found out his convo with her was also to ensure that if I was leaving, the back pay from the unpaid promotion I received earlier this year that I did the work for already that was about to get dispersed out, was wiped if I decided to leave.
My dedication was questioned when I had given this company crazy hours for over a 15 months fighting cancer, I had my market value questioned and I was given an ultimatum. Either stay for less than the new offer, ask for no job change aka minimal growth or additional monetary benefits in the next 6-9 months to ensure the politics used would not be wasted or put in my notice since it would take considerable clout to maintain me. I considered and went it feels like I have no choice but to submit my resignation as there is more growth and opportunity at the new role. They then announced that resignation to my direct team before I signed the other offer or submitted a resignation.
The following day there was significant distress displayed among the cross org relationships I built. People reached out and attempted to find me roles, but then my current dept all of a sudden could create me a role which ceased those other dept talks. It took them a few days to put it together, but the new role was not be fully compensatory and not entirely what I’d be passionate about doing long term even though I’d grow in some areas I’d enjoy even though the new boss would be solid even if the same org. I had a scheduled medical procedure upcoming, I already put my notice at their request that previous week, but I said I would consider it because the company itself isn’t toxic, this department and org is in its demand for continued positivity vs true optimism which is hope to make it better.
I have a heavy weight on me leaving stakeholders, friends, coworkers I love. All who know have been stressed I’m leaving Since I try to help everyone, but they are supportive me being offered a new role, which is sad because the amount of jealousy of my “escape” isn’t healthy for the company. That being said, the more I think on it the more I feel gaslit by my current org and that something should be said or done.
I am wondering if I should explain everything to the HR rep on my exit interview or go a step beyond to share my story to higher individuals that I know truly care for the people, the company and the vision more than this current SVP. I would love thoughts and opinions here.