Intern-alising Toxic Workplace Culture
Interns in our office make Tea and fill Water Bottles for others and sometimes even wash lunch boxes of their team members…this is part of their training…
…if you read the above and thought “WTF???” You are part of a company with a Non-toxic culture.
Of course, I was kidding about the Interns at our office, but unfortunately, according to what was shared with me, this is exactly what is happening at one of the Top Sri Lankan companies…and I am sure at many more Private and Government institutions.
While menial tasks related to office (filing, sorting out stationery and other administrative tasks etc), are part of the internship training, it is unacceptable for fellow employees to get others, even Interns to do things like make Tea for them, fill their Water bottles and wash their lunch boxes.
This is reminiscent of Sri Lanka’s slave mentality left over from colonial era. Most of the time, we would recognise slave mentality if WE are the OPPRESSED, and see fellow oppressed. But what we fail to realise is that, sometimes WE are indeed the OPPRESSORS! This is a vicious cycle that will continue, and because it will continue, Sri Lanka will forever be stuck in this slave mentality.
We have been programmed to unconsciously seek to ‘enslave’ OR failing which ‘be-enslaved’, this of course is determined largely by Money, Power and Hierarchy but in the modern era, it mostly boils down to choice (barring certain extreme circumstances).
Sadly, there is a high probability that this intern will display the same kind of behaviour when she is in a position of relatively higher authority…and this cycle of toxic mentality will continue.
I believe that it is our responsibility and Duty to call out any kind of Toxic behaviors that we witness in office and ensure that a toxic culture cycle does not continue.