They’re Gonna Miss You When You’re Gone
Do you think you’re missed at your old job? If not, you should think again. Knowing how much you mattered may provide a much needed boost in self confidence.
65% of targets of workplace bullying will lose their job. And whether you transferred to escape, were fired unjustly, or took a stand and walked away from the abuse, those of us left reeling in the aftermath often feel defeated. Our confidence suffers as we struggle to separate our prior beliefs about ourselves from our devastating outcome. We often find ourselves wondering,
“Did my contributions mean anything? Did my self-sacrifice, hard work, and personal convictions even have a purpose? Did ANY of it really matter?”…
“Did I matter?”
But what if I could show you that what you did and who you were mattered greatly? That your work wasn’t in vain. And, in addition, there were consequences for the company losing YOU in the way they did.
Oh, they’re gonna miss you when you’re gone….and you’re about to learn just how much. Let’s start with why it’s so important to know you mattered in your workplace.
The Value of Being Missed
“The will to survive evolves, in a higher creature like us, into the will to matter.” – Rebecca Goldstein
When we are missed, we feel loved. When our absence creates a void, we know our presence was important. The sense that we’re missed in the workplace means our contributions made a difference and we had a positive impact. In other words, we mattered…And mattering is essential for our mental and physical health.
Sociologists predict that people who believe they don’t matter to others are more likely to be depressed. And depression often plagues the lives of workplace bullying targets. In fact, 49% of us will face clinical depression making it difficult to get back up, dust ourselves off and find a company worthy of us. Realizing just how much you mattered can turn that internal voice of unworthiness into one of hope, purpose, and possibilities once again.
So, how do we know we’re missed? Well, one way to know is that companies are spending millions of dollars to hire someone just like you.
You’re the One Everyone Wants
Ever wonder who gets bullied at work the most? Turns out, the best employees…employees just like YOU.
Companies that fail to protect their employees from abuse lose the very talent they work so hard to obtain. To show you just how true this is, I want to share an article in Monster.com where recruiters and career experts list the qualities they look for in candidates. Following each desired quality, I have included the exact characteristics targets are often known for. Be sure to make a note of each quality you confidently identified with prior to the abuse.
Ambition (achievements): Workplace bullying targets are often the most veteran, skilled, and competent employees.
Humility (focuses on teamwork): Workplace bullying targets are cooperative collaborators, are well-liked, and tend to have greater emotional intelligence.
Hustle (as depicted by effort, ethics, attitude): Targets have a high moral standard, are ethical and honest, and often have better social skills.
Positivity (great attitude, smile, energy, and optimism in interactions): Targets display warmth in the workplace and towards others, are conscientious, and tend to believe in a well-meaning, kind world.
Reliability: Targets are most often known as the go-to person. They feel ownership in their job and care deeply about the customer, company, and the products and services they deliver.
Transparency (open and forthcoming): Workplace bullying targets are known to be open and accountable, straight forward, and independent thinkers.
Your years of service, who you were as a person, the positive way in which you saw and embraced the world, the care you brought to your workplace…all of it mattered. And not only did your workplace lose all of this when they let you go, but they are going to have a tough time replacing someone like you.
Which brings me to another misconception that often hurts our self-esteem. Did you feel disposable when they let you go?
Let me assure you, you weren’t.
You’re Not Easily or Cheaply Replaced
The way in which we were exited from the workplace can appear, at first, to have no consequences and that can be extremely painful for our ego. But the truth is, there are repercussions that last weeks, months, and even years after your departure.
You see, no matter how hidden the bullies think their behavior may be, the presence of abuse in the workplace is always seen, heard and felt by others. Those left in the wake of a dedicated employee’s departure are now faced with the reality that their workplace is unsafe. Employees begin to disengage and companies can expect a major decline in morale, a decrease in service quality, a deterioration of integrity, an increase in absenteeism, and negative PR (and that’s just the short list!).
Another consequence to an abusive work environment is turnover. And turnover costs a company big time. While your position remains open, not only are they are losing the productivity you provided while they recruit, hire, and train, but there is no guarantee they will find someone with your commitment, experience, and knowledge. Companies with high turnover rates find it difficult to replace you with top talent.
So, let’s talk numbers.
Experts estimate that the replacement cost of an employee is approximately 1 1/2 times their salary. For example, a salary of $50,000 will cost $75,000 to replace. With the likelihood of turnover following your departure, just 7 employees following you out the door can cost the company over half a million dollars (and that’s a conservative estimate).
Get Ready to Rock It
As I reflect on my road to recovery, there are many powerful moments that come to mind. There were the ways in which I found peace, the steps I took to let go of the pain, and the beauty I found in gratefulness. But the truth is, for me, the moments with the greatest impact were the ones that helped me believe in myself again.
If you can begin to understand your need to matter. If you can see that you’re valuable. That your beautiful qualities are sought after and not hindrances. If you reject the notion that someone like you could ever be easily replaced –
That’s where you’ll find the confidence to get back out there, find a workplace that deserves you, and ROCK it once again.
Wherever you are in your career or recovery, I wish you success, peace, and most of all, good health.
This is a FANTASTIC piece of work, Janice and so true.
In fact, one of my most severely bullied clients worked for a company that made a good $2-3mil each year. The owner sided with the bully CEO against her.
After she left, the company went into liquidation within 2 years. All because of his bullying ways.
Conversely, I had a client recently whose company was enormously supportive of him after he’d been bullied by a senior employee. They suspended this chap and paid for my client’s therapy – promptly too!
They took my advice (yep, the owner actually called me!) and cancelled the planned mediation (which we all know doesn’t work) and reassured my client how much they valued him.
When the suspended chap returned to work – with the understanding that one more incident and he’d get fired – he actually APOLOGISED to my client for his behaviour! Yep, took full responsibility.
That had an INSTANT effect on my client’s mood – and he’s no longer embittered or pessimistic. His severe ankle injury (which he’d been bullied about) is now starting to heal.
What makes this a very SAD case is that in all my years treating targets of workplace bullying, this is the FIRST time I’ve experienced a company DOING THE RIGHT THING. And in so doing, IMMEDIATELY there are positive outcomes.
Now that I quit I see it’s true. I have decent co-workers texting me upset I left. And I know my bullies are screwed because I did EVERYTHING and 2 other people quit last week. I left them hanging because I know there is A LOT my supervisor doesn’t know how to do that I did.
I am so glad you decided to leave that toxic place and put your skills to good use where you can be appreciated! All my best to you.
Thank you for this post. It is very helpful.
I’m so glad to hear it was helpful. And it’s all so true!
Well, the person who reported to me who took my place is now leaving to stay with the company but to relocate — a little over a year after I left. He knew the job wasn’t easy when he was next in line. But not everyone realized — I think they realize now.
I’m sure they do. Hope you are doing well and finding peace after your ordeal.
Thank you for this blog entry! I have chosen the legal route… mainly for the students; I was a teacher…
But I will practice what I preached and use my voice to bring change… and hope!
Julie, good luck with your case! I am so sorry you’ve experienced this abuse. Please take care of yourself in the midst of the process, I know the fight can be long and hard. We are here if you need support! Thank you for being someone that spreads hope and change. And thank you for being here!
I have a lump in my throat. I would probably break down and cry right now. I’m still at the job. Sadly or maybe not, I love what I do. I’m emotionally tired…. I’m physically sick. I don’t know how I bumped onto this blog. But God knows I feel empowered. I’m really grateful that you are sharing your journey. I’m in South Africa and I relate. Thank you so much.
Wendy. I am so glad you have found this blog. I hope it provides some validation during this experience. What those suffering need is to know that someone that gets it, that the abuse is predictable and well understood. Please reach out if you need some resources – the ones I found helpful. Let me know what you may need! So sorry you are experiencing this. There is a whole tribe out here ready to help.
Janice, congratulations on another excellent article. this is just the thing that anyone being bullied or suffering the consequences after being bullied needs to read. It will provide them with the opportunity to reflect on their self value after facing someone who has purposely trying to strip away their self worth and confidence. As a past target of bullying I can vouch for the impact of your words.
Jonathan, thank you for being such a wonderful source of encouragement for me and so many others! I am so glad this article is validating for targets. The way back to finding ourselves again is a long one, but well worth the fight. I found so much empowerment and truth in articulating my journey. Here’s to being MISSED and finding our awesomeness once again!
Well I don’t like to think I’m revengeful but from leading the VISN in encounters to them coming in dead last with their group educational offering? sad part is what was the consequence with that? those guys were making progress, they had something to do, they could aspire to something more than coloring or watching TV all day. Management don’t get that? gosh why do I question it
well written article Janice !!
Thank you, Scott!