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    People Are Talking About The Most Toxic Jobs They've Had And I'm Raging

    "Apparently, my time working there affected me worse than I thought, because I had a major anxiety attack and am now going back to therapy."

    Trigger warning: This post discusses sexual harassment, workplace bullying, mental health issues and may be triggering for some readers.

    If you or someone you know is in need of support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14  or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.

    We've all had that one job that still gives us the shakes when we think about it — but some have definitely had a harder go at it than others.

    20th Century Studios

    Calling for solidarity amongst all Aussies who've known the torture of a toxic work environment, Reddit user u/jugganaut007 shared their own recent experience:

    "My worst experience was working for a major supermarket chain doing overnight replenishment, 'stacking shelves' as they say. Certainly not as 'chill' or relaxed as some people make it out to be. Working against your circadian rhythms, busting your ass and your back with power tripping managers and unpaid overtime. Even supermarkets in general across all departments are like this."

    "The job wasn't unbearable, but the breaking point for me was when we got a new, toxic, abusive supervisor."

    "Apart from having sky high performance expectations, I was subjected to daily verbal abuse, taunts, threats, intimidation, sexual harassment and out of hours phone harassment non-stop. I'd get calls from him as late as 4 A.M. on my nights off. He'd use other peoples phones to try and call me. I eventually had to block all my coworkers phone numbers after I quit. He often talked about his delinquency in his youth and former association with bikies. It felt like I worked with this boss for over a year, but I only realised yesterday it was not even six months.

    "One particular time he pointed his box cutter at me and said 'Do you know how good I am with this?'"

    "This would've been in view of CCTV cameras, so I could've complained to HR/police, but I was too intimidated and mind-fucked by the polarity of this guy to do so.

    The thing that fucked me up the most was that everyone witnessed this, but did nothing to step in and help, let alone ask if I was doing alright. In fact, they enabled and encouraged it. I lost a lot of faith in humanity in that job and I'm still suffering the subtle long term effects mentally one year on."

    After telling their story, they asked for others to share where they experienced a toxic work environment — and the responses are truly rage inducing.

    1. A restaurant


    "I was in the industry for 10 years before I got out. I can honestly say that when I first saw Gordon Ramsey carrying on, I wondered what all the fuss was about. I had my first job at 14 and one of the chef's would throw plates at me, but that wasn't even the worst part. Hot frying pans also got thrown in the washing area with a call out of 'hot' just before they hit you."


    2. A travel agency

    Gold Circle Films

    "Incredibly toxic, competitive and paid less than minimum wage unless you were willing to rip people off."


    3. The pokies


    "I used to regularly work an overnight shift in a pokies venue. The coworkers and security were always colourful and fun, but the customers and exchanges that occurred were outright sad to observe. During a day shift, a customer may convince themselves that they gamble to have something to do while they had a social beer or watched the footy in the bar...but overnight they had no such delusions. Customers used to play, alone, from 10 P.M. to 5 A.M. with no break except for the trips to the ATM. It was just depressing to watch."


    4. The local library

    Alphaville Films

    "I worked at my local council library. My boss was an arsehole and told me when I got pregnant, that if I couldn’t do my job then I shouldn’t be there. They bullied, harassed and intimidated me until I was so stressed I was put on early maternity leave by my doctor. Didn’t go back. First ever job and thought all bosses were like this. My bosses at my next job were kind, supportive and caring. Thank god."


    "Librarians can either be the chillest people on Earth or absolute psychos. I got out of the industry because of one of them. She friggin' gaslighted me with mistakes, called me names and pulled me into her office to randomly scream at me. I ended up leaving because I complained and the 'old girls club' turned on me and made my life a living hell."


    5. A call centre

    Comedy Central

    "Paid peanuts to be told up to 200 times a day that you're a moron because THEY can't understand a very simple invoice. People are assholes."


    6. Public service


    "Amazing conditions, but full to the gills of knobs working the system to their advantage and shooting down anyone who shows work ethic and promise. It’s super depressing when people who do the bare minimum make life a living hell for those busting ass and make the environment so toxic that the good ones are forced out. Such a shame."


    7. A supermarket


    "I was bullied out of there by the night fill manager. I was in a different department, but she would make my job three times harder by sending my coworkers home or to other departments, interrupting the training of new staff.

    They also liked to ignore medical exemptions to one point where a surgical wound of mine reopened and bled through my uniform. I wasn't allowed to go out back to treat it or get assistance. I had to re-close my own surgery wound by myself on the shop floor.

    I left that hellhole years ago, but I saw the nightmare duty manager in another store a fortnight ago. Apparently, my time working there affected me worse than I thought, because I had a major anxiety attack and am now going back to therapy."


    8. Research science

    BBC America

    "Academia is a fucking joke in this country. Universities that spout all the usual bullshit about staff mental health and support and then hire post docs that treat their students and support staff like personal slaves. All the while the lab heads have no clue what is actually happening in their lab. Absolutely fuck all inductions, terrible safety training and super underpaid support staff. All the higher ups are at a 'mental health and well-being' seminar, while you're on your 14th day of 12 hours in the lab because no other cunt will help out with the animals or do any basic lab work."


    9. Factory work


    "Worked at a factory in the warehouse area early '90s. Place had a number of ex-criminals working there, including the warehouse manager, who was my boss. His brother worked there after getting out of jail, was constantly drunk after lunch and would break shit which I'd get blamed for. Mates of theirs would come in and hang around telling stories about the hold ups they'd done in the '70s and '80s — who they shot etc. and then drop hints about being good to them and keeping quiet about the drunkenness. Got the hell out of there after three months."


    10. Childcare centre


    "My worst experience was with childcare. Always a bit bitchy with women on power trips. My last centre was the worst. Privately owned, but just a short walk from home, so I thought I was lucky. I had more experience than the girls who bullied me and the one who was the worst was well-liked by the owner and after I spoke up about her bullying I got removed from that room. 

    Another girl got bullied a few years before I worked there and they just moved her somewhere else. The bullies didn’t get any warning and one still works there and is now the educational leader. Makes sense. Only two girls were nasty the rest were sweet. It ruined the industry for me and just thinking about it now gives me massive anxiety. I’m so glad I never have to go back."


    11. A spa


    "I got my dream job at a spa in February and I quit in June. The owner would sit at home watching the salon on her CCTV cameras and call me to ask why this or that was happening. She confronted me about issues at the front desk in front of customers. She told me that she didn’t see herself keeping me on after my probation. I went to the manager the next day and offered to hand in my uniform on the spot.

    The manager had no idea what I was talking about, she kept saying everyone was happy with my work and they were pleased they had me on board, so she scheduled another meeting. The 2IC said he’d spoken to the owner and 'she didn’t say that. But if she did say that, you took it the wrong way'. I agreed to stay on and continue my probation...and then immediately went and got my old job back.

    The worst part was the other girls. They all just acted like it was normal. Normal to be terrified of your boss, to be screamed at over the phone, to have to kiss her ass constantly or have your job threatened. That’s the second time I’ve been burned in the beauty industry. I’m never going back."


    12. Electrical apprenticeship


    "My electrical apprenticeship left me with slight PTSD. It was a small business and they were cunts a lot of the time. The whole experience definitely changed me. A lot of trade environments are toxic as fuck, people just have to be better to each other."


    13. The finance industry


    "I worked at a company for a few years in my early 20s and a manager from another department groomed me for a promotion. I never had any issues with performance. The manager told me that if he ever decided he didn't like me, he would performance manage me out. Once I was hired, I removed him from my Facebook (rookie mistake) and didn't want to talk to him about his single man dating conquests anymore. I guess that upset him. 

    He refused to train me properly for the role. He used to make fun of me and bitch about me to my coworkers. He'd get mad if I didn't finish all of my work, would get mad if I stayed back after hours to finish it, would get mad if I rushed and made a mistake. He'd get annoyed if I asked for help, he'd get annoyed if I didn't ask for help. Once he yelled at us (myself and others in the team) in front of an entire floor of open plan desks. 

    It came to a head when he initiated a performance plan review for a mistake I was making because he was overloading me with work. It was the most stressful thing I have ever experienced. Looking back, a lot of it was very, very wrong. Eventually I just walked into a recruitment agency, found a much better job and quit."


    14. Luxury retail

    Touchstone Pictures

    "I was yelled at about not following ‘their rules’ on how to sell a suit whilst greeting customers as they came into the store. One of the worst managed retail stores I’ve ever worked at and that’s from over 10 years retail experience."


    15. Foundry work


    "I ended up with a bad burn that got infected and caused soft tissue damage, provided medical certificates only for the owner to inform me that it 'never happened there', while the provided medical certificate vanished into thin air. I was forced to resign, too. As for toxicity, heavy metal, and not the musical type either."


    16. Shelf stacker at a supermarket


    "I had a really bad time with demanding bosses and super demanding labour. I was told off by the department manager (who only ever worked daytime) for having to go to take a COVID test when my whole family was sick with a flu and having to miss a shift. We were severely understaffed and even though I asked several managers several times to be given less shifts because I am only a casual and a full-time uni student, I was consistently rostered for six days a week whilst they cut the part-timer's hours (even though they wanted the hours). I was falling behind on classes, exhausted from never being able to sleep before 2 A.M., and dreaded every shift. I quit back in April and I am happier than ever since I started that job a few years ago and my uni grades are soaring again."


    17. And finally, teaching

    Colombia Pictures

    "Education. So much negativity. Stupid expectations from executives that try to impress the higher ups to the detraction of staff well-being. Misandry. Little support to new staff. Most of these are dependent on the school but every school has the 'stress olympics' — everyone wants to be the most stressed and I hear this conversation at least daily."


    Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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