I wish Horrible Bosses was only a movie, that being overworked or asked to do things you’re uncomfortable with was only a bad dream, that you didn’t have to choose between your child’s education and your employer’s unwavering expectations at work, and that all employees in similar roles were paid equally, regardless of race, gender or religion. I’m sad to say, in speaking to many of you, these situations are still far more common than they should be.

Workplace trauma is real. You might think that it would be on the decline as we’ve moved primarily remote workplaces, but the stats say otherwise, as the boundaries between work and home life have become more blurred. Employees are scared to lose their jobs in a challenging job search market, or they are burning the candle at both ends, trying to appease an employer that has no sympathy for their current situations.

There’s no easy answer, but here are some things that can help:

  1. Seek mental health help. Find a therapist you can discuss your situation withBetterhelp.com is an affordable option, allowing you to even text with your therapist exactly when you need it.
  2. Record everything. Keep a record any time you experience discrimination or unjust treatment. You can present your case to HR if you’re comfortable, hire a lawyer or file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
  3. Build a support system. Tell a trusted group of friends or turn to a private professional networking group that can offer guidance and support, like our private tellent Facebook Group.
  4. Take a leave. Take a job protected leave of absence. This is a totally acceptable option. Some provinces in Canada are offering a caregiver benefit that allows you to claim a monetary benefit if you have to take a leave from work to care for a child or other dependent. If you can’t manage things as they are, take some time so you can look at the situation from a fresh perspective. Is your job salvageable? Do you have to stay in a holding pattern until the rest of your life becomes more manageable? Is it time to move on?
  5. Create an exit plan. I know looking for a new job can feel so taxing in itself. If the workplace situation you are experiencing is relatively new, there may be something that can be done to fix the issues. If it’s been happening for some time, it’s time to plan your escape. If it’s absolutely toxic, get professional advice on how to get the heck out.

Obviously, this topic is so nuanced and complex, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Know that that are some things you can do to alleviate the stress of your situation. There are fair and just employers out there. There are options. There is hope. You aren’t alone.

Guest Post By Jennifer Hargreaves is the Founder and CEO of tellent.

tellent is a diversity recruitment and social impact company striving to close the talent gap in the new work economy. We work with women seeking flexible work and businesses to make work, work better for everyone.

Jennifer’s professional experience spans three continents across brand strategy and international market development. While her primary school teachers didn’t appreciate her questions challenging “why”, she now embraces that curiosity and the perspective that comes with challenging the status quo to create impactful and lasting change.

Get in touch with her at Jennifer@wearetellent.com.


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