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Holding Onto Trauma From Previous Bad Jobs Harms Your Career

This post is a continuation of my employment posts where I help those interested in the Data Center Industry get a job. You can read the previous posts here and here. In today’s post I want to discuss a topic I believe doesn’t get enough exposure: Bad jobs causing employees to stall in their careers due to trauma. And I know personally how holding onto trauma from previous bad jobs harms your career. I’m currently seeing it in some Tech workers I know. I’ll explain how to this pain harms your career, and how to start the healing process.

Holding Onto Trauma From Previous Jobs Erodes Trust

One way holding onto trauma from previous bad jobs harms your career because employees learn not to trust their managers or employers. Thankfully I haven’t had many bad jobs throughout my career but the ones I had do stand out. I remember how my manager admitted he lied to me during my interview because he wanted me to take the job.

He wanted my expertise badly and lied about all the questions and concerns I brought up during the interview. By that time I was already a few months into the position and I didn’t have an out. Meaning I couldn’t go back to my old employer, and finding a new employer would take time. Plus, there wasn’t a good way I could explain to my potential new employer why I wanted to leave my current job. I stayed there for about 1.5 years before moving onto a better job.

This experience taught me I can’t trust the hiring manager, or even the company leadership. Because they may be hiding the truth from me. Or even out-right lying. So I’m always on the lookout for a new employer. Or I can’t trust my current manager will promote me even though we have a plan in place. Thus, I can’t settle down and build stability. In turn, my resume grows and potential employers think I’m flighty.

Holding Onto Trauma From Previous Jobs Annoys Coworkers

Another way holding onto trauma from previous bad jobs harms your career because you annoy coworkers by always bringing up those experiences. Listen: Your coworkers have been through bad employers too. They don’t want to hear about your experiences constantly.

I understand why employees do this. Many have no one to discuss this with. Or they feel comfortable with their coworkers and think they can help. There are even some employees who see these discussions as a way to build rapport with their coworkers. Because we can all bond over a discussion about bad jobs.

Eventually the coworkers get tired of hearing that one employee talk about their previous bad job or jobs and pull away. Those coworkers only speak to that employee when it’s about completing a task at work. The small talk stops because that employee is stuck in a negative cycle. In the end that employee grows distant from the team because the team stop interaction.

Management Doesn’t Promote Unhappy Employees

The harsh truth about holding onto trauma from previous bad job is that management doesn’t promote unhappy employees. I know this sounds harsh but management wants individuals in leadership roles who are cordial and energizing to be around. If an employee is always bringing up how a previous employer did him or her wrong, management will think that employee can’t grow. Because that employee is always stuck in the past. And companies can’t have that; they need employees always looking forward.

I’ve seen management have discussions with those employees and try to get them to see how good that individual has now. Sometimes those employees get the message and change for the betters. Others do not. However, I’ve seen managers just give up on the employee because they don’t want to deal with that problem. They don’t promote that person, and only keep the employee around because he or she does work.

Eventually, these employees get skipped over for promotions and one of two things happen:

  • They grow angry and leave the company
  • Those employees give up and stay in the company

How To Start Healing

So how can employees start healing from the trauma from previous bad jobs? They can do the following:

  • Go to therapy
  • Find a mentor
  • Get over it

I highly recommend therapy if a previous bad job is affecting your mental and physical health. Unfortunately, I know a person whose in this situation. The way this person acts and talks constantly about their previous job shows me it hurt that person deeply. Seeking therapy is the best option for that person, and it could be for other employees. And don’t think that talking to a therapist means some personal failure. It means that person realizes the problem is bigger than what he or she can resolve on their own and takes the proper steps to get help.

The second option is to find a mentor. Mentors can help you realize that the crappy job you were in had some benefits. I learned from my previous bad jobs how to deal with lying bosses and checked-out employees. Plus, I learned how not to become them. Finally, a mentor can help you navigate your career and recommend an employer who fits your personality.

My last suggestion is the harshest one but it’s one I follow to: Get over it. Sometimes in life you gotta swallow the fact life isn’t far, people don’t get what they deserve, and the good are taken advantage by the bad. Yes, it sucks when this happens but I don’t allow it to bother me for long. Because if I do then I will fall into the vicious cycle of complaining and victim mentality. And that will only harm my career (and my mental well-being) more.


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