A friend said today that he works in a soul sucking environment. And I decided to pass on to him a paraphrase of some advice a guy named Boethius got in the year 524. He was also in a soul sucking situation, sitting in prison on a false charge, lamenting his fate, and Philosophy came to visit him—in the form of a beautiful lady. She brought him a great and useful perspective on his fall from wealth and political prominence into the small stark cell that now held him, as he awaited an unjust execution. And he wrote up the advice that comforted him in a small book that still speaks to us today, a book called The Consolation of Philosophy.
So here's my wild and loose paraphrase of the big picture advice for anyone who feels like they're in "a soul sucking environment," and working for hostile people.
If they've got a straw, don't be a soda. Don't even be a shake. Be instead, a thick steak. Don't fit into any straw. Your soul is not anyone else's to take away.
So, Ok, Lady Philosophy is a little more detailed. But that's what it comes down to. When we build up our own inner wisdom and virtue, no environment can suck away our vital spirits, or the essence of our soul. We become transformative instead. And then, perhaps the environment will stop sucking. At least, for us. But if they go for a knife and fork, take care.