Empaths at Work: Why Doing the Right Thing Feels So Wrong

Crystal Jackson
7 min readJul 23, 2018
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

There are two things you should know about the corporate culture in America. First, it’s fairly universal. If you’ve worked for one, you can easily understand another. Second, it’s seriously messed up.

Think about it. The corporate culture wants you to make work your #1 priority. Even the ones that advocate a home/work balance really want the balance to lean decidedly toward work, admonishing you for missing days for being ill or having sick children. There’s an attitude that you should come to work sick and infect your colleagues. There’s also this idea that you should live to work rather than work to live.

Management tends to be almost universally less qualified than the people who actually do the work, excelling at saying little to nothing and hobnobbing with other members of management. I’m not going to say that none of them are qualified, but there’s a high percentage of mangers who don’t seem to actually know what their employees do on a day-to-day basis, don’t hold themselves accountable to the same rules and schedules as their staff, and often have ego or control issues that make them ill-suited to handling other employees.

Then, there’s the issue of conflict in the workplace. It’s a nightmare. In a hostile work environment, there is supposed to be a system in place for how to handle it. There’s a chain of command to be used to report problems and a human resources department to go to when those problems can’t be resolved at those levels. And yet, if you are an employee who reports the problem, you become the problem.

I speak from experience here. I once experienced active and repeated harassment from another employee. It wasn’t just emotionally challenging to deal with. It also prevented me from doing my job. I spoke to my direct supervisor about the ongoing issue, which had been witnessed by my supervisor and all the other employees on more than one occasion. It was happening on a daily basis, and I went up the chain of command to try to resolve the issue. When it made it to management, I was told that it was just a female issue.

Read: Women are catty to one another, and this should be expected. First of all, this has not been my experience of women. Secondly, this is a learned behavior, and it’s not one that is…