Unhealthy Work Cultures


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“I am working in a culture that’s not healthy. It’s not terrible, but some weird things happen and everyone just winks and nods and goes about their work. Nothing illegal or unethical just awkward and weird. Admittedly, I too notice these occasional weird-nesses and wink and nod and go about my business. It is very bizarre and I’m not sure why they tolerate it. Why do I do that and what do you suggest?”

Great, it goes to how weird and awkward it is. If they’re like some– while you said there’s nothing unethical or there’s nothing, what did you say? Nothing unethical or illegal. That’s good. Nothing unethical or illegal.

Well, always ask yourself the question, does it put anybody else in danger or harm’s way? Does it create an environment where people are not allowed to thrive? Does it, in some way, harm customers or lead others to make decisions that they may make differently, or is it destructive to the human beings in the space? It’s hard for me to know what weirdness and bizarre or awkward is, but I will tell you that what you tolerate, you deserve.

If you tolerate these weirdnesses and awkwardnesses, is that a word, awkwardness? I don’t think that’s a word. If you tolerate it, then you deserve it. You said nobody’s being harmed and there’s nothing illegal or unethical. Well, you didn’t say nobody’s being harmed. You said it’s not illegal or unethical and, so pay attention. Is it harming someone, is it harming any animals, is it doing anything to damage the greater good and if it’s not, then you have to evaluate for yourself. It’s obviously whether it’s weird enough or awkward enough for you to stay there because you obviously do.

You obviously are in a culture that isn’t healthy and you’re staying there, so you, by definition, are enabling that. I would turn some lights on the weirdness and awkwardness if it is destructive or if it isn’t working and I would pay more attention to it, but if you’re there and you’re going to stay there and the culture isn’t healthy and you address it and nothing changes, you got to ask yourself some questions.

Why am I here? Because what I deserve, excuse me, what I tolerate, I deserve. Ask some questions about it. Point out the weirdness and awkwardness, but know that if the weirdness and awkwardness is happening, you are likely to be considered weird and awkward because remember normal’s weird and awkward in a weird and awkward place. Just think about that.

What’s your soul worth? What’s your time worth? What’s your weirdness and awkwardness worth? Are you weird and awkward too? Go to ask yourself the question.

Hope that’s helpful.

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