I want to share my story with you and the insights I have gained since those days of working in a toxic environment as an administrator.

Anyone who has felt disrespected or abused in the workplace can understand the emotions I felt. I remember anger, frustration, betrayal, and hopelessness as being prevalent. What I found even worse was the lack of support from my employer and some mental health professional’s inability to grasp the issue.

Imagine, here I am having gone through a very traumatic experience and I was being told that the problem was me and I needed to learn how to cope with difficulties. Are you kidding me? I was not the one being rude, yelling, constantly criticizing, flipping rules, micromanaging, etc.

Over time, what I really learned is that they were partially right – I was part of the problem. I would not change my ethics and standards to accept such bad behavior, and just coping in that environment meant that I was giving my approval; but it was still my choice whether I accepted the situation or left.

What I discovered to be more important at the onset was having my emotions validated as being real and appropriate for my experiences and abilities, it meant that I was respected as an individual – something this experience takes away. I was not looking for someone to agree with my perceptions, but I wanted someone to respect my feelings. I have no doubt that our emotional reaction is already justified based on our level of understanding. The life experiences, skills for dealing with difficult situations, personal ethics, and goals all play a role; and just how positive emotions can tell us things went well, negative emotions can tell us we need to learn some new skills, including when to leave.

I truly believe that our emotions are a critical piece to our growth, but first we have to embrace them to understand them. When we respect our feelings, we also respect ourselves. It does open up the understanding and ability to learn new skills. My business partner Edna, who is developing a program to assist office support staff has just published a video called Emotion Commotion at http://youtu.be/9UOO_YSKpNA, which can help us to further understand our emotions. I hope you find some value in her words, and remember you are important.

Cheryl Ericson offers Virtual Office Services at https://www.creativeoffice.ca and has an extension to that business where she is developing a program to help Office Support Staff (receptionists, administrators, etc.) with their soft and practical skills through the VIP Connection.

It is completely different, a combination of a Google Office and Walt Disney, in order to make it fun and attract a specific audience. Edna (her puppet) is involved in that part of her business.