'I landed a job with a $45k pay increase. One comment from my boss made me quit after 5 weeks.'

"I would do anything for that amount of money," I told my sister after interviewing for a new job.

The opportunity was promising: a role I was really interested in, a reputable company and a 10-minute drive from home after two years of commuting from regional Victoria to Melbourne CBD. Oh, and a whopping $45K/year pay increase - ummm YES PLZ THAT SOUNDS GOOD!

The red flags started before I'd even been offered the job but weren't enough to cause alarm bells - just a lack of updates from HR following the interview. I’d spent time as a recruiter early on in my career and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt so I didn’t see this as a huge issue. After eventually being offered the job and signing the contract at the speed of light, I handed in my notice to a company I’d been with for six years. I was excited for this new chapter and to step up into a management role with the support of my new manager and colleagues. Or so I thought.

Watch: Workplace bullying is one of the main reasons a work environment becomes toxic. Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/ReachOut Australia.

The first week was a blur of meeting new people, setting up IT equipment, attending meetings and receiving a handover. My team members were lovely but my manager was completely MIA. I focused on trying to soak up as much knowledge as I could from my predecessor and focus on what I was looking forward to in the new job.

By the time I met my manager at the end of week three, alarm bells were ringing. In our first meeting, I expressed my concerns directly to him:

  • A fraught relationship with the key client.
  • I would train a new team member in a role I had no familiarity with.
  • I would also cover another team member's annual leave for four weeks. Their role was a job I had no previous experience in.
  • The financial risk of missing key deadlines.
  • The risk of burnout.

In a move perfected by his stale, pale and male ancestors, my manager sat with his arms behind his head, as though he was relaxing at a Sunday BBQ, and told me, "Not to worry, just don't take work home with you."

The comment was almost as bad as someone telling you to "just relax" when you're experiencing crippling anxiety or a panic attack. While I appreciated the sentiment of his statement, I felt like he just didn't get it. I guess I could stop worrying and have no concerns at all. But, also… I couldn't do that due to caring about my job?

By the end of the fifth week, my body was in fight-or-flight and I felt like a shell of myself. Juggling multiple roles, deadlines and incessant queries from every direction, I started to feel like my brain was short-circuiting. While working extra hours was an expectation of the role, managing multiple roles simultaneously was not.

A moment of clarity led me to hand in my resignation the next day. Actually, I would NOT do anything for $170K/year. Already seeing the impacts of the stress and lack of support on my physical and mental health, I decided to quit quickly and not give this company the benefit of the doubt.

The pay increase was fantastic but not at the expense of my health. Nobody deserves to work in a toxic environment. If you find yourself in the same position - leave as soon as you can. The longer you stay in a workplace filled with hostility, nonsense or chaos, the longer it will take for you to recover.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Feature Image: Getty.

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