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专家解答:上份工作不愉快,该如何开启职场新篇章?

专家解答:上份工作不愉快,该如何开启职场新篇章?

Jennifer Mizgata 2021年06月01日
剖析有毒文化对我们产生的影响很难,但非常重要。

提问:我想知道如何避免把上一份工作中的感情包袱和不良诱因带入新的职场。如果是刚刚结束一段糟糕的感情关系,可以花一段时间来恢复,但职场不行,我们大多数人在摆脱了一份糟糕的工作后,没有恢复期。直接就走入到了下一份工作中。我担心的是,在一个不会让员工过度工作的公司,在一个我可以信任管理层会把员工利益最大化的公司,我反而会不知道如何处事。最近我和公司里的一个实习生聊了聊,他们非常清楚应当在什么时候、什么地方明确地划出自己的界限,这让我意识到自己毫无界限感。

——阿什利

亲爱的阿什利,

你之前在那样的一个地方工作,而且没有过渡期直接就开启了新工作,真是令人难过。凶险的职场比比皆是;曼努拉•普利斯姆斯在《哈佛商业评论》(Harvard Business Review)里写道:“仅在美国,就有数百万人在工作中遇到过霸道的上司和职场霸凌。”尽管这种情况无处不在,却并不意味着它们的危害会因此减少,我明白你为什么会思考上份工作对你的影响以及对你下一段工作的影响。

剖析有毒文化对我们产生的影响很难,但非常重要,这是我们所有人都要做的事。我们有责任反思自己是如何全盘接受那些对自己和他人产生负面影响的充满破坏性的文化标准和行为,不断加以强化,还将其体现在了日常行为中。在你尝试弄清楚这些负面影响在你的生活中以何种面目出现时,我希望你能腾出空间,仔细想想它们对你和你的身体产生了何种影响。当你对自己在下一份工作中如何崭露头角满怀期待时,想一想要如何有意识地为那里的文化做出贡献。

尽管我希望,我仅仅需要告诉你,在进入下一个角色前你应当如何利用一段时间来调整,但我知道不是每个人都能在两份工作中间拥有长时间的假期,因为现实的生活成本、医保需求、上一份工作离职日期和新工作到岗日期之间的协调等等。尽管如此,我仍然认为,在这个时候,无论如何都要把休息和修复个人健康当成头等大事。

如果能在两份工作之间休息一下,一定要休息。时间越长越好,但也要量力而行。如果现在不能休息,那就在入职头两个月或者一旦有时间,就安排一些假期。不同公司的政策不同,哪怕没机会和老板谈在入职前休一个月假了,仍然可以考虑入职后什么时候可以休息一下。哪怕你在前几个月只休几个长周末,等入职5个月再计划休假,也能有所帮助。给自己留足空间很关键,只有这样你才能捋清楚过去的经历,想明白你想在下一份工作中如何表现。

在思考如何腾出时间来休息和恢复时,可以从“小憩部”( Nap Ministry)找找灵感。小憩部由特里西亚•赫西于2016年创立,相信“小憩具有解放的力量”,休息是“社区治疗的一种激进工具”。小憩部认为,在资本主义制度下,每个人因为要一直保持生产力、一直辛苦工作而承受很大压力,我们的体制给边缘化群体造成了不成比例的创伤,也给我们造成伤害。小憩部在推特和Instagram上很活跃,它们的账号中有一些小技巧和小提示,提醒你要找到空间来休息,在你被新工作卷入到新一轮的生产力循环中之前,可以把这些账号加到自己的订阅里,或许会有所帮助。

“很多事情都要用心、用身体、用灵魂去感受。你不可能通过阅读、交谈和学习把一切都弄明白。”午睡部本周在推特上写道。你需要的就是这样的理念,我很难找到更恰如其分的表达。

除了提倡从不停转的工作中抽时间歇一歇,小憩部还会分享一些让你休息、检查身体状态的小方法,包括午睡、抽时间冥想、寻觅一些安静时刻加入一天的固定日常。这些关注自我的平静时刻十分重要。

但这些时刻也无法帮助你立即摆脱上一份工作的负担。

“在资本主义世界里,没有什么技巧可以让你一蹴而就,摆脱奋斗文化,养成休息的习惯。也许这就是问题的一部分——我们总是想要“快速见效”的灵丹妙药。你会需要一段时间的舒解期。休息的时间到了。你可以做到的。”赫西今年早些时候在Instagram上写道。

每天都给自己留点时间停下来,记住工作之外的时间才是自己的时间。抵制资本主义要求你不停“做”的压力,想一想怎么可以“静”。只有你自己才可以停下来,就像只有你才可以在下一份工作中设定界限、保持界限一样。

你似乎已经意识到了,你在工作上没有明确的界限,这已经迈出了重要一步。你离开了一个有毒的环境,进入了一个更健康的新环境,又迈出了重要的一步。因为你说你觉得自己的工作界限“不存在”,从这点上来看,即使你不这么认为,你可能一直在某些方面强化上一份工作中习以为常的文化规范。这点可能很难接受,但我们每个人都是这样的。

这是因为职场文化不是像天气这样发生在我们身上的外部环境。我们是它的一部分,我们已经融入其中,我们被动地或主动地参与了进来。研究表明,如果某些职场的领导层有毒,会通过公司文化加以传播,受到摧残的员工往往会将这种文化内化,再传递给其他同事。

《合作、集体和协作文化工作工具包》(Toolkit for Cooperative, Collective, & Collaborative Cultural Work)指出,“通过我们生活在其中的有毒文化,有毒行为根植于我们体内。”这个工具包非常有用,它从个人优先的角度在宏观层面上识别有害行为。它是Press Press和Institute for Expanded Research合作项目的一部分,前者是一个总部位于巴尔的摩的团体,致力于创建社区、提高边缘团体的声音,后者是一个由跨届艺术家张路(音译)创立的艺术项目和研究计划。

Press Press多年来在巴尔的摩开展了出色的工作,我很欣赏他们把价值观体现在每个项目中的做法。随着他们把工作从巴尔的摩扩展到洛杉矶,和Institute for Expanded Research进行了更广泛的合作,深入研究了“帮助文化组织者开展集体工作的紧急模型和方法”,试图扩展和阐明“培养并维持与世界上其他人共处合作时兼具道德感和同理心的基本准则所必须的条件”。该工具包是他们通过合作,向公众大方提供的产品之一。

该工具包“以平等、解放、正直和差异的价值观为基础”,综合了来自不同群体关于协同工作的建议。它是一个思想理论与最佳实践的宝库,为我们与他人共事提供参考,帮助我们认识到周围的系统和它们对我们的影响。如果你想在工作中以新方式展露峥嵘,它可以针对如何建立卓有成效的合作为你提供灵感和战术技巧。

你需要努力改掉一些习惯,探索一下可以在哪里更好地定义并保持你的边界。对“不存在的界限”的另一种解读是,你做事缺乏目的性。该工具包分享了一些实用的方法,可以帮助你在工作和你正在创造的文化中划清责任,提高目的性。重要的是要从一开始就设定期望值。“在进入项目、集体或工作关系之前,一定要订立合同或共享协议,”这是工具包的建议。“合同是一种组织工具,是人们之间的协议,在工作和我们自己间划定界限。合同可以用于问责。和你的合作者一起设定目标,直接而清晰地列出你的个人目标会很有帮助。”

在思考你准备如何与他人共事、如何开展合作时,不要想“我的职位是什么,我要如何按照职位与人们相处?”,也不要想“对于我们来说,好的合作是什么样子的?”需要考虑的问题可能是:

我们希望从这个项目中得到什么(目标和可交付成果)?

我们在这个项目中应如何分工,以体现人们的天赋和技能?

我们的职责如何相互影响?

我们如何进行沟通?

我们如何做出决定?

如果有人没有达到我们的期望,我们如何让对方承担责任?

逐一回答这些问题可以帮助你梳理关于共事协议,并把它编入团队规范。

“从一开始就建立问责制十分重要,这样在出现问题时,人们能有解决问题的机制体系。要想创立一个有意义的问责程序,需要充分理解呵护合作者的需求、情况和生活经验,这点必不可少。”

该工具包还提供了在出现有毒因素时应如何处理的实践指南。它引述了Ngọc Loan Trần的智慧观点,提倡在出现问题时应呼吁大家共同参与进来,而不是立刻对当事人加以公开斥责。该工具包提供了如何与你想要继续一起合作的人一起处理有毒行为的详细信息。“找到与你的团队成员一起直接处理有毒行为的方法。1、为学习和成长保留空间。2、使用恢复性司法的方式。3、习惯、重置、和解。”这么做不仅仅是为了合理解决每一次的问题,或者创建一个无毒的环境;也是为了当我们把来自不同背景的人聚集在一起合作时,找到解决挑战的方法。

最后,我想向你推荐一部十分精彩的影片,《费城地方检察官》(Philly D.A.),这是一部关于拉里•克拉斯纳的纪录片,他曾是一名民权律师和公设辩护律师,后来竞选费城地区检察官并获胜。克拉斯纳目前还在任上,简而言之,辩方已经变成了控方,而他打算改变该机构长期存在的大规模监禁的有毒文化。

可以想象,要从根本上改变一个大型政府机构的文化极其困难,尤其你的大部分手下在过去几十年里一直是你的对手。虽然没有人比克拉斯纳更能看清楚该机构运作中存在的问题,但他仍有可能把自己当辩护律师时的一些挑战性行为带到新环境里。

该系列对于理解司法系统的现状很重要,但作为一个研究职场文化又非常关注人们如何改变传统机构的人,我看得十分着迷。克拉斯纳在上任之初解雇了大约30个人,没有提前通知,几天内也没有发表任何声明。他的新闻官后来反思说,他们本应该用不同方式处理这个过程,这样能更好地引导舆论。后来,克拉斯纳再谈到大规模解雇事件时,并没有过多关注公关,而是反思了自己行为的局限性。他向波士顿地区检察官瑞秋•罗林斯说:“我应该要求更多人离职。它们像扁虱一样使劲往里钻;他们无时无刻不在搞破坏。”每一集你都能看到新机构和被封闭在旧体系中的人之间的动态变化,而这种变化永远都比人们预想的更加复杂。

这部由PBS电视台制作的八集纪录片是必看推荐,一定能给你一些关于工作方法和环境应对之道的思考,尤其是当你在思考如何有目的性地开展下一份工作时。最初的行为做法往往能奠定基调,所以想一想,你希望在新环境中强化或重置哪些习惯。你要管理好自己的日常表现以及与人共事的方式方法。

祝你有个好状态,

珍 (财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

提问:我想知道如何避免把上一份工作中的感情包袱和不良诱因带入新的职场。如果是刚刚结束一段糟糕的感情关系,可以花一段时间来恢复,但职场不行,我们大多数人在摆脱了一份糟糕的工作后,没有恢复期。直接就走入到了下一份工作中。我担心的是,在一个不会让员工过度工作的公司,在一个我可以信任管理层会把员工利益最大化的公司,我反而会不知道如何处事。最近我和公司里的一个实习生聊了聊,他们非常清楚应当在什么时候、什么地方明确地划出自己的界限,这让我意识到自己毫无界限感。

——阿什利

亲爱的阿什利,

你之前在那样的一个地方工作,而且没有过渡期直接就开启了新工作,真是令人难过。凶险的职场比比皆是;曼努拉•普利斯姆斯在《哈佛商业评论》(Harvard Business Review)里写道:“仅在美国,就有数百万人在工作中遇到过霸道的上司和职场霸凌。”尽管这种情况无处不在,却并不意味着它们的危害会因此减少,我明白你为什么会思考上份工作对你的影响以及对你下一段工作的影响。

剖析有毒文化对我们产生的影响很难,但非常重要,这是我们所有人都要做的事。我们有责任反思自己是如何全盘接受那些对自己和他人产生负面影响的充满破坏性的文化标准和行为,不断加以强化,还将其体现在了日常行为中。在你尝试弄清楚这些负面影响在你的生活中以何种面目出现时,我希望你能腾出空间,仔细想想它们对你和你的身体产生了何种影响。当你对自己在下一份工作中如何崭露头角满怀期待时,想一想要如何有意识地为那里的文化做出贡献。

尽管我希望,我仅仅需要告诉你,在进入下一个角色前你应当如何利用一段时间来调整,但我知道不是每个人都能在两份工作中间拥有长时间的假期,因为现实的生活成本、医保需求、上一份工作离职日期和新工作到岗日期之间的协调等等。尽管如此,我仍然认为,在这个时候,无论如何都要把休息和修复个人健康当成头等大事。

如果能在两份工作之间休息一下,一定要休息。时间越长越好,但也要量力而行。如果现在不能休息,那就在入职头两个月或者一旦有时间,就安排一些假期。不同公司的政策不同,哪怕没机会和老板谈在入职前休一个月假了,仍然可以考虑入职后什么时候可以休息一下。哪怕你在前几个月只休几个长周末,等入职5个月再计划休假,也能有所帮助。给自己留足空间很关键,只有这样你才能捋清楚过去的经历,想明白你想在下一份工作中如何表现。

在思考如何腾出时间来休息和恢复时,可以从“小憩部”( Nap Ministry)找找灵感。小憩部由特里西亚•赫西于2016年创立,相信“小憩具有解放的力量”,休息是“社区治疗的一种激进工具”。小憩部认为,在资本主义制度下,每个人因为要一直保持生产力、一直辛苦工作而承受很大压力,我们的体制给边缘化群体造成了不成比例的创伤,也给我们造成伤害。小憩部在推特和Instagram上很活跃,它们的账号中有一些小技巧和小提示,提醒你要找到空间来休息,在你被新工作卷入到新一轮的生产力循环中之前,可以把这些账号加到自己的订阅里,或许会有所帮助。

“很多事情都要用心、用身体、用灵魂去感受。你不可能通过阅读、交谈和学习把一切都弄明白。”午睡部本周在推特上写道。你需要的就是这样的理念,我很难找到更恰如其分的表达。

除了提倡从不停转的工作中抽时间歇一歇,小憩部还会分享一些让你休息、检查身体状态的小方法,包括午睡、抽时间冥想、寻觅一些安静时刻加入一天的固定日常。这些关注自我的平静时刻十分重要。

但这些时刻也无法帮助你立即摆脱上一份工作的负担。

“在资本主义世界里,没有什么技巧可以让你一蹴而就,摆脱奋斗文化,养成休息的习惯。也许这就是问题的一部分——我们总是想要“快速见效”的灵丹妙药。你会需要一段时间的舒解期。休息的时间到了。你可以做到的。”赫西今年早些时候在Instagram上写道。

每天都给自己留点时间停下来,记住工作之外的时间才是自己的时间。抵制资本主义要求你不停“做”的压力,想一想怎么可以“静”。只有你自己才可以停下来,就像只有你才可以在下一份工作中设定界限、保持界限一样。

你似乎已经意识到了,你在工作上没有明确的界限,这已经迈出了重要一步。你离开了一个有毒的环境,进入了一个更健康的新环境,又迈出了重要的一步。因为你说你觉得自己的工作界限“不存在”,从这点上来看,即使你不这么认为,你可能一直在某些方面强化上一份工作中习以为常的文化规范。这点可能很难接受,但我们每个人都是这样的。

这是因为职场文化不是像天气这样发生在我们身上的外部环境。我们是它的一部分,我们已经融入其中,我们被动地或主动地参与了进来。研究表明,如果某些职场的领导层有毒,会通过公司文化加以传播,受到摧残的员工往往会将这种文化内化,再传递给其他同事。

《合作、集体和协作文化工作工具包》(Toolkit for Cooperative, Collective, & Collaborative Cultural Work)指出,“通过我们生活在其中的有毒文化,有毒行为根植于我们体内。”这个工具包非常有用,它从个人优先的角度在宏观层面上识别有害行为。它是Press Press和Institute for Expanded Research合作项目的一部分,前者是一个总部位于巴尔的摩的团体,致力于创建社区、提高边缘团体的声音,后者是一个由跨届艺术家张路(音译)创立的艺术项目和研究计划。

Press Press多年来在巴尔的摩开展了出色的工作,我很欣赏他们把价值观体现在每个项目中的做法。随着他们把工作从巴尔的摩扩展到洛杉矶,和Institute for Expanded Research进行了更广泛的合作,深入研究了“帮助文化组织者开展集体工作的紧急模型和方法”,试图扩展和阐明“培养并维持与世界上其他人共处合作时兼具道德感和同理心的基本准则所必须的条件”。该工具包是他们通过合作,向公众大方提供的产品之一。

该工具包“以平等、解放、正直和差异的价值观为基础”,综合了来自不同群体关于协同工作的建议。它是一个思想理论与最佳实践的宝库,为我们与他人共事提供参考,帮助我们认识到周围的系统和它们对我们的影响。如果你想在工作中以新方式展露峥嵘,它可以针对如何建立卓有成效的合作为你提供灵感和战术技巧。

你需要努力改掉一些习惯,探索一下可以在哪里更好地定义并保持你的边界。对“不存在的界限”的另一种解读是,你做事缺乏目的性。该工具包分享了一些实用的方法,可以帮助你在工作和你正在创造的文化中划清责任,提高目的性。重要的是要从一开始就设定期望值。“在进入项目、集体或工作关系之前,一定要订立合同或共享协议,”这是工具包的建议。“合同是一种组织工具,是人们之间的协议,在工作和我们自己间划定界限。合同可以用于问责。和你的合作者一起设定目标,直接而清晰地列出你的个人目标会很有帮助。”

在思考你准备如何与他人共事、如何开展合作时,不要想“我的职位是什么,我要如何按照职位与人们相处?”,也不要想“对于我们来说,好的合作是什么样子的?”需要考虑的问题可能是:

我们希望从这个项目中得到什么(目标和可交付成果)?

我们在这个项目中应如何分工,以体现人们的天赋和技能?

我们的职责如何相互影响?

我们如何进行沟通?

我们如何做出决定?

如果有人没有达到我们的期望,我们如何让对方承担责任?

逐一回答这些问题可以帮助你梳理关于共事协议,并把它编入团队规范。

“从一开始就建立问责制十分重要,这样在出现问题时,人们能有解决问题的机制体系。要想创立一个有意义的问责程序,需要充分理解呵护合作者的需求、情况和生活经验,这点必不可少。”

该工具包还提供了在出现有毒因素时应如何处理的实践指南。它引述了Ngọc Loan Trần的智慧观点,提倡在出现问题时应呼吁大家共同参与进来,而不是立刻对当事人加以公开斥责。该工具包提供了如何与你想要继续一起合作的人一起处理有毒行为的详细信息。“找到与你的团队成员一起直接处理有毒行为的方法。1、为学习和成长保留空间。2、使用恢复性司法的方式。3、习惯、重置、和解。”这么做不仅仅是为了合理解决每一次的问题,或者创建一个无毒的环境;也是为了当我们把来自不同背景的人聚集在一起合作时,找到解决挑战的方法。

最后,我想向你推荐一部十分精彩的影片,《费城地方检察官》(Philly D.A.),这是一部关于拉里•克拉斯纳的纪录片,他曾是一名民权律师和公设辩护律师,后来竞选费城地区检察官并获胜。克拉斯纳目前还在任上,简而言之,辩方已经变成了控方,而他打算改变该机构长期存在的大规模监禁的有毒文化。

可以想象,要从根本上改变一个大型政府机构的文化极其困难,尤其你的大部分手下在过去几十年里一直是你的对手。虽然没有人比克拉斯纳更能看清楚该机构运作中存在的问题,但他仍有可能把自己当辩护律师时的一些挑战性行为带到新环境里。

该系列对于理解司法系统的现状很重要,但作为一个研究职场文化又非常关注人们如何改变传统机构的人,我看得十分着迷。克拉斯纳在上任之初解雇了大约30个人,没有提前通知,几天内也没有发表任何声明。他的新闻官后来反思说,他们本应该用不同方式处理这个过程,这样能更好地引导舆论。后来,克拉斯纳再谈到大规模解雇事件时,并没有过多关注公关,而是反思了自己行为的局限性。他向波士顿地区检察官瑞秋•罗林斯说:“我应该要求更多人离职。它们像扁虱一样使劲往里钻;他们无时无刻不在搞破坏。”每一集你都能看到新机构和被封闭在旧体系中的人之间的动态变化,而这种变化永远都比人们预想的更加复杂。

这部由PBS电视台制作的八集纪录片是必看推荐,一定能给你一些关于工作方法和环境应对之道的思考,尤其是当你在思考如何有目的性地开展下一份工作时。最初的行为做法往往能奠定基调,所以想一想,你希望在新环境中强化或重置哪些习惯。你要管理好自己的日常表现以及与人共事的方式方法。

祝你有个好状态,

珍 (财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Q: I'm wondering how to avoid bringing the emotional baggage and toxic-workplace triggers from a previous job into a new one. If you end a bad relationship, you can take some time to recover, but that's not something most of us can do after getting out of a bad job. You dive straight into the next one. I'm worried that I don't know how to function in a workplace that doesn't gaslight its staff into overwork and where I can trust senior management to have their employees' best interests at heart. I had a conversation with one of our interns recently, and they were just so very good at knowing where and when to explicitly draw their boundaries, which made me realize how non-existent my own are.

—Ashley

Dear Ashley,

I’m sorry that you’ve been working in a place that has felt this way and that you’re jumping right into your next job. Toxic workplaces are rampant; in the U.S. alone, “millions of people face abusive supervisors and bullies at work,” writes Manuela Priesemuth for Harvard Business Review. The fact that they’re pervasive doesn’t make them any less harmful, and I see why you’re thinking about how this place has affected you and what it might mean in your next position.

Unpacking how toxic cultures affect us is hard work, but it is crucial work, and it is all of our work. We have a duty to reflect on how we internalize, reinforce, and embody damaging cultural standards and behaviors that negatively affect ourselves and others. As you work through how this is showing up in your own life, I want you to make space for better understanding how this is affecting you and your body. As you look forward to how you’ll show up in your next job, think about how you’ll be intentional in how you contribute to the culture there.

While I wish I could focus solely on how you should take all the time you need before moving to your next role, I know that not everyone can take substantial time off between jobs because of the realities of costs of living, healthcare needs, and coordinating the end date of one job with the needed start date at the next one. That said, I do think that it’s critical that you make rest and restoring your personal health a priority at this time, however you can.

If you can take a break between jobs, please do. The more time the better, but take what you can. If you can’t take a break now, plan some vacation time within your first two months or as soon as you can get some time on the books. Employers have different policies, and while it might be too late to negotiate taking a month off in between jobs, you can still look into when you can take time once you get started. Even if you only take a couple long weekends in the first couple months, and you book a vacation for five months in, you’ll be better off. Having space is critical to processing what you’ve been through and for you to get perspective on how you’re showing up in your next job.

One inspiration for you as you think about how you can make time to rest and reclaim yourself is the Nap Ministry. Founded by Tricia Hersey in 2016, the Nap Ministry believes in the “liberatory power of naps'' and rest as “a radical tool for community healing.” The Nap Ministry acknowledges the burden under capitalism for everyone to be productive and grind all the time, the disproportionate trauma inflicted on marginalized groups by the systems we live in, and the damage that this does to us. The Nap Ministry is active on Twitter and Instagram, where you can find tips and reminders to make space for rest, which might be helpful for you to add to your feed before you get sucked into the productivity cycle at your new job.

“So many things have to be felt with the heart, the body, the soul. You will not be able to figure everything out by reading, talking and studying,” the Nap Ministry wrote on Twitter this week and I couldn’t have asked for a better insight to pass along to you while you need to hear it.

In addition to advocating for breaks from productive work, the Nap Ministry shares small ways you can take rest and check in with your body, from taking naps, to making time for meditation, to quiet moments you can build into your day. These moments of calm and self care are important.

But those moments are also not going to help you shed the burdens from your past job immediately.

“There are no quick tips for deprogramming from grind culture and crafting a rest practice in a capitalist world. Maybe that’s part of the problem- we want ‘quick’ magic bullets all the time. You will be unraveling for a while. The time to rest is now. Anyway you can,” Hersey wrote in an Instagram post earlier this year.

Make space throughout your days to pause and remember that your time outside of work is your time. Resist the pressure under capitalism to “do” all the time, and focus on how you can just “be.” You’re the only one that can take the time off, just like you’re the only one who can set and hold the boundaries that you have in your next job.

That you seem to realize that you didn’t have many boundaries with work is an important step. And moving into a new environment that is less toxic than the one that you’re leaving is another important step. Since you said you feel your own work boundaries are “non-existent” that tells me that even if you don’t see yourself this way, there are ways that you may have been reinforcing some of the cultural norms that were common where you worked. That can be hard to accept, but it’s also true that we all do it.

That’s because workplace culture isn’t just something that happens to us, like the weather. It is something we are a part of, that we are woven into, that we either passively or actively participate in. Research shows that in workplaces where leadership is toxic, it gets spread throughout the culture and that employees who receive abuse often internalize it and pass it along to other colleagues.

According to the Toolkit for Cooperative, Collective, & Collaborative Cultural Work, “toxic behavior is embedded in us through the toxic culture we live in.” This toolkit is a useful resource because it identifies toxic behavior on a macro level from a person-first perspective. It’s part of a collaborative effort from Press Press, a Baltimore-based collective deeply committed to building community and amplifying marginalized voices, and the Institute for Expanded Research, an artist project and research initiative founded by multi-disciplinary Lu Zhang.

I’ve seen the awesome work that Press Press has done in Baltimore for years, and I love how they embody their values in every project they create. As they expanded their work beyond Baltimore to Los Angeles, they undertook the broader collaborative project with the Institute for Expanded Research, digging into “emergent models and methodologies for collective work that aid in the efforts of cultural organizers” which seek to expand on and elucidate “the conditions necessary for cultivating and sustaining ethical and compassionate frameworks for being with and cooperating with others in the world.” The Toolkit is one of the generous offerings to the public from their collaboration.

The Toolkit synthesizes recommendations from a diverse group of people focused on collaborative work, “grounded in the values of equity, liberation, integrity, and difference.” It provides a treasure trove of ideas and best practices for working with folks, recognizing the systems that we operate within and how they affect us. If you want to find new ways of showing up in your work, this will give you inspiration and tactical tips on how to set up fruitful collaborations.

Committing to unlearning some of your habits and exploring where you can better define and hold your boundaries is part of your work. Another way to think about your “non-existent boundaries” is as a lack of intentionality around what you’re doing. The Toolkit shares practical ways you can build accountability and intentionality into your work and the culture you’re creating at work. Setting expectations is critical from the outset. “Always create contracts or shared agreements before entering the project, collective, or working relationship,” the Toolkit recommends. “Contracts are an organizational tool. They are agreements between people for setting boundaries for the work and ourselves. They can be used for accountability processes. It’s helpful to set intentions together with your collaborators and lay out your personal goals directly and clearly.”

When setting your intentions about how you are going to work and collaborate with folks, think beyond, “What is my job title and how does that determine how I engage with people?” to “What does a good collaboration look like for us?” Some questions to consider might be:

What do we want to come out of this project (goals and deliverables)?

How do we set up the roles in this project in a way that speaks to people’s talent and skills?

How do our roles impact each other?

How are we going to communicate with each other?

How will we make decisions?

How will we hold each other accountable if someone isn’t meeting our expectations?

Working through these questions can help you create an agreement about how you work together and codify them into team norms.

“Establishing an accountability process from the start is important so folks have a system for addressing issues as they arise. Being tender and understanding to your collaborators’ needs, conditions, and life experiences is essential to any meaningful accountability process,” says the Toolkit.

The Toolkit also gives practical guidance around how to deal with toxicity when it shows up. Pointing to the wisdom of Ngọc Loan Trần, who advocates for calling folks in, instead of immediately calling someone out publicly when something happens, the Toolkit provides details on how to work through toxic behavior with people you want to keep working and collaborating with. “Find ways of addressing toxic behavior directly with your group members. 1. Hold space for learning and growth. 2. Apply a restorative justice approach, 3. Ritual, reset and reconcile.” The work isn’t just about getting it right every time, or going somewhere where toxicity doesn’t exist. It’s also about finding ways to work through the challenges that show up when we bring people with diverse experiences together to collaborate.

Lastly, I want to leave you with a viewing recommendation: Philly D.A., the fascinating docuseries on Larry Krasner, a former civil rights attorney and public defender who ran for District Attorney of Philadelphia and won. Krasner is currently in office and in short, the defense has become the prosecution and is intent on changing the office’s longstanding, toxic culture of mass incarceration.

As you might imagine, it is incredibly hard to radically change the culture in a large government office, especially when many of the people who work for you were previously working against you, for decades. And while no one was more equipped to see the problems of how the office operates than Krasner, that also doesn’t mean he doesn’t bring his own challenging behaviors from his old job as a defense attorney.

The series is important for understanding the realities of the justice system, but I’m also fascinated by it as a person who studies work culture and who cares a lot about how you change legacy institutions. Krasner fires about 30 people early into his tenure without much notice and without making any statements about it for days. His press officer later reflects that they should have handled the process differently so they could be more in control of the narrative. When Krasner touches on the mass firings later, he isn’tt focused on the PR fallout but on the limits of his actions. He told Boston District Attorney Rachael Rollins, "I should have asked more to go. They dig in like ticks; they undermine you at every turn." You see the dynamics play out between the new administration and people entrenched in how the system has traditionally worked play out in every episode and it is always more complicated than anyone could have predicted.

The eight-part series on PBS is a must-watch and is certain to give you some food for thought on approach and navigating work environments, especially as you think about how you can approach your next job with intentionality. What you do early on can often set the tone, so think about what habits you want to reinforce or reset in this new environment. You get to be in control of how you show up and work with folks every day.

Sending you lots of good vibes,

Jen

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