My job sucks. Help me find small ways to reward myself.
October 4, 2017 1:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a job where my boss treats me poorly (think name calling, personal comments, the occasional lightweight item thrown at me). Sometimes I cry on my way to work. Often I cry (behind closed doors) at work. I'm trying to find ways to get through the day and reward myself in small ways, maybe something for X days without crying on the way to work. Any ideas?

I'm thinking star charts like in elementary school, micro rewards, things for making it through X days without crying - any specific suggestions? I like fun, creative things - I'd love to buy little tiny pre-packaged surprises that I could "reward" myself with once I have had enough stars on my star chart.

(Note, I've already complained to HR. I'm under 40 so most of the personal comments that would be age-based discrimination don't qualify, and he just denies the other things happened (he's careful about witnesses). When I complained to leadership he got talked to by our Big Boss and I was asked if I'm "tough enough" to do this kind of work (I'm in a relatively high profile leadership job). Other than sympathy, which I welcome, I don't need advice on the "what to do about a shitty boss acting shitty" part of the situation, I'm doing everything I can)
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (39 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If you have a master password that you use for logging into your work computer or somewhere else you log into frequently, change it to something like "BossNameIsTheWorstButHeCantHurtMe111&!"
posted by mskyle at 1:43 PM on October 4 [12 favorites]

Not sure if you have a work buddy you can vent to, but that always helps me.

And/or, you need POWER SOCKS. I have a bunch of socks that are fun or exciting or funny and when I wear them, I feel like I'm invincible. So if I'm having a rough day, I can just pull up my hem a bit and peek at my socks and have a nice smile to myself.
posted by stillmoving at 1:45 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't necessarily reward yourself for not crying, but rather reward yourself for making it through a day under these situations. I personally think it's healthy to cry when you are being mistreated, and holding it in wouldn't be healthy, but that's my gut feeling from what you wrote.

I'd also look into "adulting" stickers for this! You could reward yourself for doing unpleasant but necessary tasks like "did laundry" or "went to the dentist" on days that you might cry before work, but still accomplished personal things, too.

Some ideas for small rewards:

-A Lego minifigure in the surprise bags (about $4)
- A sample size or small size of nice smelling hand lotion
-a really good, small piece of chocolate
-a take-out meal that is around $10 but still healthy (like a salad)
-a matinee on the weekend
-a facemask (I like individual ones in little packets from Target that are $2-3 each)
-search for Japanese stationary on Amazon, and order a bunch of things you like that are in the $1-5 dollar range. A lot of times shipping takes 1-2 months, so it will be like a surprise to yourself by the time you get it.
-An easy walk outside in a park
-Give yourself a foot treatment with a scrubbing salt and peppermint lotion
-a magazine that's more on the fluff side
-rent a movie from Amazon streaming

Good luck to you!
posted by shortyJBot at 1:48 PM on October 4 [15 favorites]

Amazon has these new Dash buttons that send sweet treats. Maybe once you have 'saved up' enough of whatever you deem a rewardable level, you can push the button and get fancy treats dropped at your door. (Button is a few dollars, each box is $18, I think.) If that's too pricey, pick a different button (Reese's, M&M's, something else?) and get those delivered straight to you instead.
posted by rachaelfaith at 1:54 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]

What? Throwing things at you, as in your boss abuses and assaults you, and you want to incentivize going there?

Quitting is the best reward for yourself.
posted by kapers at 1:55 PM on October 4 [100 favorites]

This is a sad but sweet question, and my heart goes out to you. Focusing on just your specific question about rewards (and ignoring the part where you look for work elsewhere, escalate to senior management, hire a lawyer etc) - there are some pretty cool alternative advent calendars out there that are essentially cool things behind small closed doors. The one I'm thinking of is high quality whiskey samplers, but adding alcohol to your already bad day is a mistake.

You don't say what your budget is exactly - but some other ideas might be:
- nice chocolate truffles
- socks like stillmoving suggests - I think that's a cool idea
- dropping $X into a jar, and when you hit $Y you go spend it on $Z fun thing
- fun imported candy (candy stores have lots of fun stuff usually), kindereggs are fun if you can find them. :-)
- I like novelty non-alcoholic beverages from far away lands, so that could be fun.
- some pens that are nicer than you usually buy
- a nice message to yourself
- fortune cookies (there are cool novelty ones online)
- small 'stocking stuffer' type toys from stores that you like
- on preview: everybody elses ideas also sound fun
You could make these a surprise by wrapping them individually in similar size small packages and then randomly draw from a bag or something along those lines.

Another thought here is to address the crying more directly, ie - take the fight to your brain. I think crying is a good thing (I cry a lot right now myself), BUT... there are some philosophical approaches that can be helpful if it's a time or place that's just inconvenient for a breakdown. I would look into coming up with a good mantra or phrase that you can focus on when things are bad - this is used in long distance running all the time, because it helps you not focus on the pain and discomfort and helps you just keep putting one foot after the other. Also take a look at quotes by Marcus Aurellius the famed roman stoic, he has some excellent advice on how to think about suffering. I really wish you all the best and hope that things change for you soon.
posted by machinecraig at 2:08 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]

How about a little reward for yourself for every resume/application you put in for another job?
posted by strelitzia at 2:09 PM on October 4 [97 favorites]

I'm sorry you're dealing with this.

Is there something you love to do outside of work - hobbies, etc. - maybe getting something for that will help you remember that You Are Not Your Job.
posted by FencingGal at 2:14 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]

Extended bathroom breaks. Rude comment = 45 minute trip to the toilet. Thrown item = 1:45 minute trip to the toilet. Do you get paid sick leave? Thrown item = 2 days out sick.

I like to think I'd throw the item back, and respond to the comments in kind, but....

So sorry you're going through this.
posted by at at 2:16 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]

Agree with strelitzia and kapers. You'll feel much better if you invest 1 hour a day on finding another job. It's not just about sending resumes out, it's about putting a holistic plan in place:

- writing out what your ideal job, team culture, management would look like
- writing your elevator pitch on your accomplishments, what you're looking for
- networking a lot
- taking classes if they help round out your skill set / resume
- getting feedback on your resume
- practice interviews
- full-on hustle to find a new job

And yes, document each occasion that this shit happens. Escalate if you need to. Your goal is to survive this shit boss and land at a place that truly values your contributions and allows you to thrive.
posted by hampanda at 2:20 PM on October 4 [12 favorites]

I just attended a workshop on workplace bullying. You should document all of this abusive behavior and report it to HR. If you don;t have an HR office, go to the manager above your supervisor. You do not deserve to be treated like this.

To answer your specific question, give your self a reward every time you document the behavior and a big reward for reporting.

Daily reward ideas, a walk outside, a coffee break, a treat from a hidden stash of your favorite splurge candy.
posted by jennstra at 2:20 PM on October 4 [3 favorites]

(not everyone has the financial privilege to be able to just walk away from a job without another firm offer in hand and it's super annoying when people here insist that this is the Only Right Thing To Do)

i don't really have any great ideas about small rewards for yourself other than naps and candy, but maybe you can afford to outsource home tasks like getting a house cleaning service, or sending out your laundry? i feel like being able to increase your leisure time would be beneficial.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:38 PM on October 4 [31 favorites]

My suggestion would be search Amazon for "mini camera" and take actions accordingly...

Any sort of abuse is unacceptable. In particular, catching something thrown at you on camera might be something a LEO would find interesting, assault is assault.

Best of luck.
posted by sandpine at 2:43 PM on October 4 [23 favorites]

How conducive is your commute or other pre-work time to music? I have a playlist of "eff you, I'm going to do me" type of songs ("This Year" by the Mountain Goats, "Let It Go" from Frozen, "Damn it feels good to be a gangsta", etc.) that helps me gear up for work on days that I feel like I can't do it.

Seconding hobbies. Having something you care about and you're looking forward to around work really turns down the volume on work since it's just an obstacle between your morning and the thing you're doing later.

Thirdly, if you don't have a reliable work pal you can vent to, how about keeping up conversations with pals over internet chat/text message during work hours. It takes only a moment to respond and needn't be a time consuming distraction, but having someone on demand who can send you a good gif can make a big difference.
posted by sleeping bear at 2:47 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]

To answer your question, make sure there is one kindness you a doing for yourself every single day. One way to do this is to focus on your 5 senses and give one of those senses a treat every day. Like touch could be a massage or a long soak in a tub, smell could be walking through a greenhouse and smelling the beautiful flowers, for taste, treat yourself to your favorite candy or meal and take time to really savor every single bite etc. It doesn't have to be extravagant and it doesn't have to be huge, but making time to care for yourself every single day is the key.

(and this isn't directly related to your question, but I just want to echo what the others are saying above. You don't deserve this. Nothing you have done could ever justify this abuse. If you can, get out of that job. You are worthy of so much more).
posted by goggie at 2:47 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]

Reward yourself with time taken to look for another job.

Also, when I was in an abusive workplace previously, I used to buy myself little gifts, mailed to my workplace. It was good motivation to actually come in if I knew X or Y thing was en route. Do that.

Good luck. I'm sorry you're in this situation!
posted by limeonaire at 2:56 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]

I'm sorry because I didn't want to hear it at the time since it seemed harder than just dealing, but I've been there (was there for 8 years *shudder*) the answer to the question you admittedly didn't ask really is spend all your spare time and and energy and money on working towards a new job. Spend it on a therapist if you have to. That's how I'm spending it post-facto to reconstruct my soul, so...
posted by STFUDonnie at 3:37 PM on October 4 [4 favorites]

I think you should reward yourself by getting a small video camera, the sort built into a pen you might wear in a shirt pocket, or hide in a new desk accessory.

I think you should get this reward whether or not you cry on the way to work.

Other rewards: mailing out a resume, browsing LinkedIn for job leads, having lunch with a personal contact you want to network with.
posted by yohko at 3:41 PM on October 4 [9 favorites]

-Write a series of short stories about him in which he is a supervillain who is defeated in elaborately torturous ways. Submit them to literary magazines and give yourself a prize every time you receive a rejection. Give yourself a bigger prize if any are ever accepted.

-Download this app and learn how to draw by creating a devastatingly accurate caricature of his face.

-Pretend you are training to become a ninja and that as part of your instruction you must be extremely calm every time this man shows up to irritate you. Every time you have an interaction with him, write a note to your trainers in which you describe him as The Enemy. ("The Enemy launched a devious attack at 4:30 pm today, when he flung a series of paperclips at my head; however I was able to resist his provocations by breathing in slowly through my nose and imagining myself on a beach.")

-Find out if he has any strongly held garbage political opinions (he probably does). Make a chart where each one of his behaviors equates to a small money amount. Fifty cents for a mean name, a dollar for throwing a paperclip at you, etc. Every time he does one of those things, make note of it in your head and then tally up the total. At the end of every week, donate that amount to an organization he'd probably hate, in his name if it's common enough to get away with, a humorous nickname if it's not. "That's fifty cents for Planned Parenthood in honor of Jeremy Jerkface!" you can think to yourself gleefully, every time he is mean.

-Create a small and consequence-free lie about yourself (for example, that you have a dog named Snowball) and make it a game to work the lie into every conversation you have with your boss. Get a point every time you can trick him into believing you. Slowly add details to the lie. Buy a picture of Snowball to put on your desk. Leave uncomfortable meetings by claiming you have to go take care of Snowball. If your boss succeeds in making you cry, say, "No, it actually has nothing to do with you, I'm just really upset because Snowball had to go to the vet today for emergency surgery!" Once you've earned 100 points, reward yourself by getting a dog named Snowball. Never confess.

Pretend you are a spy who has been tasked with learning your boss's deepest, darkest secrets. Aggressively befriend him. Stalk him online, learning everything about his tastes and preferences, and then selectively adopt those preferences in order to win his trust. Listen sympathetically to all of his stories. Make up stories of your own. Remember his birthday, his sister's name, the name of his pets. Keep a detailed log of all this information and commit it to memory. Earn a point for every personal piece of information he divulges to you. Earn ten points every time he tells you a story about his childhood. Earn a hundred points if he tells you something he's never told anyone else. Earn a thousand points if he cries in front of you. Win the game if he invites you to his birthday party. Reward yourself by skipping his birthday party, ignoring all his plaintive texts, and immediately dropping all pretense of friendship, and treating him politely but coldly for the rest of his life in a way that breaks his heart.

-Pretend you are a primate biologist who has been sent to this office to observe an unusual species of ape. The boss is the ape. Observe all of his unusual behaviors and note them down carefully in real time, in a notebook you use solely for this purpose. Occasionally walk by his office, furrow your brow, make a note, and then walk away. When he asks you what you are doing say either, "Oh, nothing!" in an innocent voice, or else, if he has just been speaking, say, "I just thought you made a really good point and I wanted to note it down so I remembered it later." When you have filled the notebook, reward yourself by using it as the raw material for a tell-all memoir about your industry in which you refer to your boss by a pseudonym that is not only insulting but transparently obvious to everyone in the workplace, and finally earns him the comeuppance he so richly deserves from HR.

These are just a couple of options but I'm sure you'll be able to come up with more. Good luck!
posted by pretentious illiterate at 4:00 PM on October 4 [36 favorites]

OP, I didn’t say or intend to suggest quitting immediately without a new job if you can’t survive that financially, so I’m sorry if it came across that way.

What I meant was that you should incentivize quitting, not staying. This situation is too messed up. Your crying is not the thing that needs to stop, the abuse is. Reward yourself by kicking the search into high gear.

I hope you like the treat ideas others have suggested, but I hope you give yourself treats because you’re suffering and you need TLC. Not as rewards for fighting tears.
posted by kapers at 4:04 PM on October 4 [16 favorites]

I once had a similar job, while a single mom with two small kids. I did two things, at least once a day, that helped me through. (In my case I was offered a much better job by someone who had been in the office, seen how I had handled myself, and when he got a new, much better job, offered me the position of his assistant. Of course that probably won't happen to you, but remember that surprising things do happen -- don't think you can definitely see the future.)

Here's how I coped:

1) Go outside at least once a day. Weather or other circumstances don't matter. Outside, look at the sky, breath the air.

2) Sit quietly for a few minutes and visualize in very specific detail what you will do on the last day of your job. Get this kind of box, take this pen, take that plant ..... you have to be in extraordinarily high pain for this to be soothing, but it sounds like you are, and I found this worked when nothing else did.

I am so sorry that you're having to go through this. And I wish for you what I took away from a job like this: first, much more compassion for other people in difficulty, and second, some Office Horror Stories that always top anybody else's Office Horror Stories.
posted by kestralwing at 5:12 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]

I don't know how necessary this particular job is to you financially or career wise right now, but I will say that at least for me, one of the emotional side effects of abusive workplaces is an artificially heightened sense that it's desperately important to keep the job at all costs. All the fight or flight instincts that get activated by abuse and assault and make you emotionally prioritize not displeasing your abusive boss? That fear of making the bad reaction happen? All that energy and instinct that comes with being thrown into survival mode and trying to do whatever you can to make the situation bearable is also getting poured into a more general feeling that it is absolutely paramount to make the situation work, and sometimes, that means you're putting energy into keeping the situation going for much longer than it needs to. The fear. The feelings that you somehow must deserve this mistreatment and would surely encounter it anywhere else you go, if they put up with you at all; are you even employable anywhere else??? All the emotional abuse logic of making things go smooth as a top priority, plus the added subconscious mindfuck of: if you're being mistreated for doing the job adequately, what are they going to do to you if you stop doing that for them? The actual answer is: you don't deserve this, you are competent and worthy of non abusive employment, and when you leave they have no more power over you. Again, if you are trapped in this job right now, for whatever reason, please do every self care thing in this thread, breathe, know you are a person who doesn't deserve this. But also try to do an accurate assessment of how much your boss' abusive behavior is manipulating you into feeling like you have no other options. Good luck. You don't deserve this.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 5:44 PM on October 4 [21 favorites]

My suggestion, having been there, is not to try to give yourself stars for not crying (if a day is shitty enough, you are gonna cry and don't put that pressure on yourself to shame yourself for crying when someone is a shithead to you), or do stupid "rewards" for yourself because you're an adult and you can eat the cookie whenever you want to. My thing was to not go home and drink every day after work, but if it was an especially shitty day I would allow myself to go home and drink and generally coddle myself and come up with ways to make myself feel better like watching distracting television. (Note: not recommended for those with alcohol problems, I can get drunk on like one drink on an empty stomach and that's about what I did.) Have a plan for how you are going to cope on super shitty days, whatever works for you to calm you down, if it's call someone to rant or journal or television or whatever. Getting away from other people really helps too. Working on soothing yourself on your own time seems to me to be the best way to endure the unendurable indefinitely.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:59 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]

Something small you say? How about a hidden camera/nannycam? Then your physically assaulting boss can have something small too. A prison cell.
posted by sexyrobot at 8:07 PM on October 4 [6 favorites]

I agree that getting out of this environment is the best thing to do for yourself.

In the meantime, how can you make your life outside of work more awesome? If work is the main thing in your life and it sucks, then your whole life sucks. If work sucks BUT your running group / board game club / cat / Friday night dining group / knitting / whatever is awesome, then to me that mitigates the life suckage a bit.

I was having a rough time earlier this year for different reasons, and I found ways to get some surprises in the mail. I also gave friends money (usually via electronic amazon gift cards) and asked them to send me care packages. I got some awesome stuff. While it wasn't directly tied to any action on my part it still made me feel loved by my friends and it was fun to come home and find a package waiting.
posted by bunderful at 8:18 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]

One time I bought a package of underwear that had a purple one in it. Once when I was having a really bad day at work, I went to the bathroom and saw my purple underwear and said to myself “Hey, I can handle anything! I’m wearing purple underwear!” And that kinda became my mantra. I “saved” my purple underwear for times when I knew I would have a hard day. It was my little secret. So go buy some purple underwear, or Superwoman or Superman, or whatever works for you.
posted by raisingsand at 9:37 PM on October 4 [8 favorites]

Get voodoo doll of your boss, your reward is sticking another pin in it.
posted by 445supermag at 9:56 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]

You could regularly sneak in completely nonsensical pieces of official looking stuff from anonymous individuals into his inbox. Or maybe have that one company mail him a box of glitter. Because fuck that guy.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:12 PM on October 4 [1 favorite]

I've been pretty down at work lately, so I've been rewarding myself with a bottle of my favourite kombucha each day. I like it because it tastes good and I hope it's supporting my immune system with the good bacteria. You might not like kombucha but maybe there's another small treat that could help you get through each day.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 11:28 PM on October 4

1. Look for another job on your current employer’s time and dime

2. Secretly record and film all those instances of harassment and build a case against your boss (there are lots of device today)
posted by Kwadeng at 12:14 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]

I'm dealing with people in a situation I can't get out of, and I am currently tallying up the hours that I have to deal with those people. It currently stands at about eight hours a week. Do you have to deal with this person for a certain amount of hours? Or maybe there's a certain amount of BS things this person will say to you.

Teachers often say you need to say "three good things for every bad thing" so try to do three good things to yourself for every small bad thing that he does. Write down three positive things that other people have told you about your job or your personality, and think of those things. Write down times that you felt that you've been valued.

I also set a day aside for rewards, and chart future rewards.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 5:06 AM on October 5

Self-esteem jar. I think I saw this written about on MeFi originally, but can't find the relevant comment. This is all about providing a reservoir of good thoughts for yourself in advance, for when you really need support but circumstances are terrible.

1. Get a nice jar, one with a wide enough mouth you can reasonably reach your hand into.

2. Cut up slips of paper into fortune-cookie fortune sizes, or thereabouts.

3. Write nice things to your future self on the slips of paper. These can be super generic - "you've got this! - or really specific -"remember when you thought you couldn't cope with X, but you did?". Or stuff specifically about your villainous boss - "don't ever listen to Z, he's full of toxic venom and nothing he says is to be trusted".

4. Shove all the slips of paper, folded in half, into the nice jar.

5. Keep nice jar somewhere near where terrible times will go down, eg office desk drawer.

6. In bad times, dip into the jar and pull out slips of paper at random. Read and remember you're going to be OK in the end, and also the present horrific moment is not eternal as you clearly had the brainspace to write these notes some time. Keep pulling out slips until you feel soothed, or at least like you have a better handle on stuff to move forwards with the day.

Bonus step: get people you love and who love you to write notes on slips and stuff these into the jar. Print out kind words from emails, screenshots of text messages, etc, and stuff these into the jar too.
posted by thetarium at 6:39 AM on October 5

Yeeesh, that sucks. I agree with others--I'd be more in favor of reframing your treats as "yay, I survived another horrible week!" than "yay, I successfully stifled my natural human responses to mistreatment at my shitty job!"

Maybe a lovely after work ritual on Fridays? A favorite happy hour joint, a massage, a treat from your favorite bakery, etc. Then you're helping to end your week on a high note. Alternately, a Monday morning ritual of fancy coffee or something fun to try to START you work week off better could be nice.

A "break glass in case of emergency" type treat you can keep in your office could also be good on days where your boss is being extra shitty. Maybe order fun eBay trinkets (the ePacket ones from like China and Hong Kong that don't get there for like a month, so you forget what you ordered), don't open them right away, and tear into one when your boss super sucks that day.

Surprise--it's earrings! Or some emoji stickers! Or coffee-themed enamel pins! Or a lighter that looks like a pack of gum! There is all sorts of bonkers stuff on eBay!
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:29 AM on October 5

Be really careful about making any secret recordings. Check the laws in your area to see if it's legal to make audio recordings of people without their knowledge. (if you're in the US, find a list of "one party consent" and "all party consent" laws.) Also check your workplace policies. A lot of places specifically prohibit that sort of thing for corporate espionage reasons. Violating either of those is the kind of thing that could follow you beyond this job.

But DO document everything. Get yourself a nice, pocket-sized notebook where you keep track of all the workplace abuses in writing. That can help you support your case, and maybe it'd even be cathartic to get it all down in writing.

Speaking of catharsis, do you have a friend you could make a regular dinner date with or something? Maybe buy them dinner once a week as compensation for listening to you complain? It always helps to have someone on your side.
posted by ernielundquist at 7:31 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]

Imagine that his insults are code messages he is being forced to relay to you; you are a spy who needs to crack the code. "Stupid bitch" may be code for "mission was successful;" "you're late again" means "new critical mission starts soon;" and so on.

Also, potentially look into Suzette Hadin Elgin's "Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" series, especially The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work.

And when you have the ability to do so, start looking for a new job. You are coping with a bully and abuser, and if HR won't do anything about it, they're supporting a hostile workplace. And if he's actually throwing things at you, that goes beyond "a bit of harsh language" and into assault and battery. It may not be provable, but hold on to the awareness that you are working for someone who is committing violent crimes because he knows he won't be held accountable for them.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:13 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]

Just the fact that you are looking for cute hacks to make it through this makes me think that you are already being damaged, you are already thinking small.

What has worked for me in difficult jobs was exercise. I started going to the gym every day and doing boxing and it was my little secret. It was THE THING that I did for me that made me feel like I was so much better and happier than my shitty boss. It felt SO IMPORTANT.

Also, more recently, I started commuting on my bike (18km round trip) and that also felt SO IMPORTANT.

I am overweight and not sporty, and when things are going well I experience a lot of procrastination to exercise.

I had read something about making job problems seem smaller, by making other parts of my life bigger, and it worked for me. What wonderful things outside of work do you have going for you? What is something that you can make bigger? Something that when you do it, you feel so focused and happy that you forget about work, and when you get to work, you can't wait to get off work to go do it?

You need to over-affirm yourself, do something that really pumps up your self-esteem. High self-esteem is like an invisible power shield.

(Bonus points if it's something the boss wouldn't do or like. )
posted by Locochona at 3:53 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]

Man, I have been in a hard place with work before. Here are some of the (sometimes ridiculous) things that I do to maintain my composure and reward myself just for being me and getting thru a rough day/week/year/life.

- Wear a secret t-shirt under your sweater! I can't wear t-shirts to work, but sometimes in the middle of a hard week or on Fridays I'll wear one of my sweet band t-shirts (hello mountain goats shirts) under my sweater and I JUST KNOW that it's there, being badass. All week you'll know that you're going to get to that sweet Friday when it's the end of the week and you're secretly dressed for ROCK.

- Participate in No Fucks Friday! This is a concept developed by my friend in AU. We define it as, wear literally anything you like and can get away with to work on Friday that makes you feel good about yourself and in your body. This can run the gamut from exceedingly comfy clothes to wild and crazy outfits. (Mine tend toward the latter.) Examples of things I've actually worn to work: bright silver jeans, a tulle skirt, blindingly bright colors.) This ALWAYS feels like a reward to me. I commemorate it with an insta post which honestly feels like a sticker chart to me. You could reward yourself here and there with fun/silly/comfy things to wear on your NFF.

- Other fashion related challenges, such as one of my favorites that I've done: "Dress Like a Spy." I did this one for seriously like a month. It was incredibly rewarding in that I felt fun and silly much more than I typically do and it made me feel awesome. I got myself spy items here and there and dressed up.

- Make a folder of pictures of Lil BUB or your other favorite inspirational lil animal to look at when you need a dopamine reward! Imagine that BUB is saying (because she would totally say this) "You can do it! You can make it through the day. Good Job!"

- I keep a lavender and peppermint essential oil roller on my desk and I breeeeaaathe it in. It smells amazing and it gives me a boost, I feel amazing when I smell it.

- Keep luscious lotion that smells fantastic on your desk and give yourself a little hand massage with some lotion.

- Make yourself a playlist of songs that make you feel like a badass and pop it on when you need a "You just made it through that hard thing" moment.

- Since it is fall, get yourself a Tiny Pumpkin that sits on your desk and is your friend. I do this every year and I am gazing fondly at my tiny pumpkin pal right now. You could have different tiny gourd friends throughout the season, and then you could have tiny Xmas or Hannukah or winter decorations!

- Keep an assortment of tiny treats that really get you into a happy place gustatorially. (sp?) I like those Belvita cookie things, this dark chocolate granola, and vegan marshmallows.

- Adorable office supplies! Cute post-its, kawaii pens, sweet little paper pads, there are SO MANY amazing tiny things for the office setting! It seems silly but they really make me happy.

- A weekly soak at a wellness center or other hot pool type place. This is often one of the highlights of my week, and it is so luxurious that it really feels like a reward for hard work.

- Also, exercise is awesome. I got myself a yoga mat for my office and I often use it to do various relaxing or energizing poses when I'm not seeing clients.

Good luck pal, be well.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 6:43 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]

how about a nannycam to record him pulling this crap so you've got some proof to sue his ass!
posted by lemniskate at 8:19 PM on October 5

I'd look into the legality of serendipitously recording in your state before taking the advice on spy cameras.

This said, if I were you I'd reward myself with a lawyer. Put on on retainer and that that person's advice on how to deal with a toxic work environment.

I'm not sure why Big Boss thinks it takes less strength to stand up for yourself than to just take abuse, but sound to me like that person needs to have his worldview corrected. A lawyer can help do this.

The other way I would reward myself is piling up large piles of cash. You need fuck you money. Life's too short to put up with shitty jobs or shitty people.

I work with someone that people tell stories about that sounds just like your abusive coworker. This individual has never pulled that kind of crap with me, but he allegedly thrown items (prior to my employment). Worse he's ever done to me is yell and send emails to my supervisors complaining about decisions he wasn't consulted on, implying I failed to keep him informed of these changes. So I just forward the emails where I informed him. I've never had a CYA relationship with someone before, but there you go.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:00 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]

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