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Finding My Voice to Reject a Toxic Work Environment

Jenise, Senior Acceptance Consultant and member of the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group, shares how the journey to finding her voice started with standing up to a toxic work environment.

Jenise Spears
Senior Consultant Acceptance
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

My first job out of college was as an assistant manager at a retailer. The management there was openly racist and discriminatory. At the time I felt that the comments they made were just part of the job.  I thought staying silent about their treatment was expected— just the “norm” to keeping my job.  Boy, was I wrong. That experience taught me not to sacrifice what’s right. It helped me to find my voice and never to accept a toxic environment like that as a norm.

I’m a perfectionist and I hold myself to too high of a standard. I’ve had to learn how to take constructive feedback as just that— constructive and not personal. I now leverage feedback to grow and evolve. Failure is not final. It’s learning opportunity to grow from.

A hard truth I’ve learned over the course of my career is that you can’t expect your hard work to speak for itself and just get noticed. I do my job well, but if I don’t advocate, network and highlight what I’m capable of, others won’t know my impact and drive.

My advice for my younger self? 1. Stay curious and keep evolving. Try new things, even if you think you won’t like them. 2. Find joy in any situation. 3. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Lastly, take time for yourself.

 

Learn more about Discover’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Black Organizational Leadership at Discover (BOLD) employee resource group.