• Anna H.

Is it ok to not be ok?: Toxic Work Culture

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

I live in Texas, where we recently had a winter storm that revealed the ineptitude of our government and the fragility of our infrastructure. As someone who has lived in hurricane-prone areas her entire life, I am not unfamiliar with the havoc natural disasters can wreak. But, there was something entirely different--and entirely destabilizing--about the effects of the Texas winter storm. Consequently, three weeks later, I am still exhausted. Meanwhile, the rest of Texas has continued on as if we weren't five minutes away from the utter collapse of our electrical grid. Shit is toxic.

This toxic eschewal of how exhausted nearly everyone is--I know I am not the only one--has everything to do with capitalist demands for our labor that necessitate we disavow our most basic necessities. That we ignore the effects of trauma.

I'm writing this because in the three weeks following the storm, I've been the busiest I've been all semester. Part of this has to do with the ebb and flow of the Spring semester, with the end being the most overloaded, but it also has something to do with this toxic refusal to admit that we are not all right. I see evidence of this in Greg Abbott's renunciation of mask mandates as the exigencies of the winter storm that forced people together will probably result in an uptick of COVID diagnoses.

By engaging in this problematic push to portray life-as-usual, I am complicit in the bull shit! How do we collectivity divest from and refuse this culture of ignoring not-okayness? Of course, saying "No" is a start, but even this, at times, feels dangerous when it is clear that academic labor is disposable (and I got bills to pay). So, this is an honest question. I want to know your practices of refusal, major and minor.

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