Why I started Toxic Work Spaces.

There’s one question I’ve been asked about my business more than any other in the last two years: What’s your “why”? or Why do you do what you do?

While I typically always have a short response, I realized that I never tell the story as much as I probably should.

So today I wanted to get a little more personal because I think the “why” of what we do is so important — maybe even more important than the end goal sometimes.

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would be a business owner, I would’ve probably laughed. I mean a hearty “that would never happen” laugh. I’d never thought of owning a business, and I had no background in business, mental health or work related knowledge. To make it even funnier, a business dealing with Toxic Work Cultures and all that toxic work shit?

But in August 2019, everything changed. I woke up, quit my toxic job and went on a trip to heal, recharge and think about the next steps. I did a mini thread on Twitter and weeks later I started a blog. It was meant to be just a blog where I share about my former work experiences. I recall how I agonized for days over what I would call it. I ended up calling it Toxic Spaces.

So I explored different genres like work, religion and relationships but work always seemed to be what stood out and brought out the best in me. Sharing my stories and experiences helped me heal and it also helped polish my storytelling skills.

I knew I wanted to be something different, I didn’t want to be mediocre. I took time now for what I can call a THINK WEEK. I brainstormed away from my usual routines and environment and discovered I was passionate about Mental Health for people in and out of work, I also realized I wanted to continue telling stories, coaching others how to write and share their stories, and being a journalist and storyteller, the best way to hack this was by utilizing my professional background.

I’m thankful that all of the clever names I initially thought of were unavailable because it made me think outside the box. I really had to consider what I wanted the business to feel like — what I wanted my ethos to be. Who I was going to be and what I wanted people to know about what I do. Low-key also wanted a name that made people pause for a minute and think-WTF is this about?

It took a lot, but I finally settled on Toxic Work Spaces. I remember the moment I figured it out. I was at the beach and it was a beautiful morning as I was watching a sunrise. One thing I did was to avoid asking people about what they think about the name or the business idea. I knew that most people are highly opinionated and I was in a space mentally I really needed to listen to my own voice.

I wanted people in and out of Toxic Work Spaces to identify with what I was trying to raise awareness of in the form of sharing my stories and work experiences in a toxic job.

That was it — the moment I said it out loud I knew it was the perfect name for what I wanted to do: Toxic Work Spaces.

If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember that my first logo actually included a heartbeat illustration in red. This was symbolic at that moment I was in a red zone and the illustration was visualizing how work had left me feeling.

I got an expert to redesign the logo since then, but you can still see the work and conversation inspiration in the logo today — next time you visit the blog or see an email from me, look at the logo.

After I decided on the name, I continued to read everything I could find about toxic work spaces and mental health and discovered there was a culture of silence and people till date can’t REALLY open up about what they experience in toxic work spaces.

That realization is what convinced me that I could do it and I am going to do all I can to raise awareness about toxic work spaces and how you should take care of your whole person’s well-being.

So for two years, I can say I have learned. I am still learning. I have written and I plan to continue writing.

I know it gets better. I am glad that this year I have learned so much about organisational trauma and that gives me hope and context about how most of us need healing from toxic work spaces.

When I started, I thought this would be a good part time job but I am at a point that I feel this should be my full-time job.

It hasn’t been an easy two and plus years. There were more than a few times I thought, “Why the hell am I still trying?”

For me it’s not about profits but about creating awareness, providing a safe platform for people to share their experiences and collectively heal from traumatizing work experiences.

At the moment, my business has changed because I have realized that I am passionate about healing through storytelling. I want to help you heal from a toxic work space.

I’m happy at the point where I do, in fact, make money from coaching people how to share, write or journal their toxic work experiences, and from content creation. And the people who haven’t always been quite on board with my big dreams are coming right along behind me. People used to talk about my business, myself included, now I hope you have content to talk about my business. They may not understand exactly how it all works, or why I didn’t pick a better name but I’d like them to know that it’s working for the people I want to reach out to and for me.

I want people to share their work experiences. I want people to be confident in their writing. I want to be the person who builds up other workers and holds their hand while they climb the slippery slope of healing. I want to be the person I needed when I was in a toxic work space, when I stopped working and when I started a business as I pursued my passion.

I want to help professionals be confident in the workplace, maybe even confident enough to leave a crappy workplace and pursue their passion of entrepreneurship, if that’s what they want.

Most of all, I want to help people. Out of all the things I’ve wanted to “do” in my life, that’s been the one constant that’s never changed. I want to make a positive impact on the world and my business is the way that I can best do that.

The hustle and bustle of daily lives, especially during the turmoil of a global pandemic, our reason for doing what we do becomes even more important.

Knowing it. Feeling it. Living It. Believing it. That’s what I’m doing here at Toxic Work Spaces-providing a little light & assistance so you can help yourself out of the darkness of doubt and start really living the authentic life you want and crave.

You are a force of nature — I’m just here to help you see that for yourself.

Want me to write awesome stuff for you? I am also a Story crafter. Tale teller and Content creator.

Or maybe you want to be the confident storyteller for your brand…before you stare at the blank page for an hour. I can help, and I’d love to work with you!

As always, if you have a question, want to read something you haven’t seen, or just want to chat, email me at cateshikooh@gmail.com or find me on Facebook or Twitter

If you’d like to know more about toxic work spaces, please visit https://toxicworkspaces.co.ke/

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