It has been almost a year to the day since I accepted a job at Lonely Planet/NC2 Media and picked my life up to move across the country to Nashville. It’s fair to say I took the job while chasing other dreams, but I’ll never forget the palpable excitement and joy I felt when accomplishing what I thought was the first step on the journey to my real dreams. In that year I’ve fallen more deeply in love with Nashville, been offered some incredible opportunities as a journalist, and experience the worst year of my career.
Yesterday, a large team at NC2 Media that I had a hand in building, and the joy of being apart of, got sent packing. Rounded up in a circle and told “thanks but no thanks.” Despite the promises that there would be no layoffs, after two guys from San Francisco came in to evaluate us, and the constant assurance that we were financially secure – the cultural sickness, inapt management, and unfair treatment of employees came to a head. The toxic environment I experienced during my four months over in the main office at Lonely Planet somehow seeped into the beautiful culture of NC2 Media. And, as toxicity does, destroyed a really great team.
In every job, there are flaws. I’ve learned that over the years. I left a job in California where I was nurtured, encouraged to expand my knowledge, and given endless opportunities to have my hands in different aspects of the company. All while being mentored by an incredibly supportive and empowering female supervisor. I left that job in search of Nashville, and what I found in return, was that you can be the most talented, smartest person in the world, but under the wrong executive team you can flounder, lose confidence, and be utterly destroyed.
I watched as the executive team fired people for no reason other than they weren’t liked, under-communicated with the staff to the determent of their own products and built walls around the creative environment. In the end they told the team that despite their hard work over a year – all of them had to go home and start over. I stayed with the company even after I was shuffled from Lonely Planet to NC2 when they fired my supervisor, because they’d rather have a man in charge than a woman. I stayed when they fired her again from NC2 because an executive just didn’t really like her. And I stayed when I was asked to do two jobs I wasn’t qualified to do, and even when I was asked not to do my job at all, in part because I had to and in part because of my loyalty to my co-workers.
It was, for all intents and purposes, the absolute worst year of my career. I went inward, I prayed, and I hoped for an answer that would point me in the right direction. I focused on this blog and the endless opportunities that have presented themselves over the year. I remembered I was in it for a bigger purpose.
Yesterday, we were all let go. Honestly, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders almost immediately knowing that the toxicity, negativity, and constant fear of losing my job were finally over. As hard as it is to know an entire team has lost a paycheck, that the hard work they’ve put in is gone, I see their positivity shine through even now. I learned that out of the uncertain darkness can come relationships that will last a lifetime. And that not every dream turns out the way we envision it. But that’s okay.
My hope is that one person in leadership will someday see this and realize that respecting and nurturing your employees will you get you farther than trying to pull them down. That communication will allow your projects to flourish instead of flounder. And to take a good look around, because if you have a great team, they can continue being great without you. The team over at NC2 were virtually ignored for a year, but the management within the team worked effortlessly to provide answers, guidance, and hope – even when there wasn’t any to be had.
Now I say goodbye to one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had on the eve of my anniversary in Nashville. And I do so with an open heart, an open mind, and so much more hope for the future.