Poisonous Work Surroundings: The Characters You Want To Get Out Of
62% of the respondents from our last “Is your job toxic?” According to polls, they fear going to work on Monday morning, a sentiment that Ramit referred to as “Sunday Scaries”. If you feel under-challenged, underrated, and sick every time you get up to go to work, you may be stuck in a toxic work environment.
- 45% said they didn’t like their team, boss, or the company they currently work for
- 39% said that even though they received a raise in their current role, they are still stressed out about money
- 68% feel “stuck” in their career
Is your office full of rumors and gossip, unclear management expectations, and cliques that make you feel like you are back in high school? These are all red flags of a toxic work environment. Spending all your day with people you dislike or disrespect can leave you feeling unhappy, unproductive, and wearing down over time.
Signs of a toxic work environment
- The management is not interested in your input
- Infinite fluctuation and reorganization of employees
- Supervisors tell you that you are “lucky to have a job”
- Employees are caught in an endless loop of gossip and innuendo
- Rival cliques have formed
- You feel increasingly isolated
- They think you are underpaid
- You have been in the same role with the same title for over 3 years
- You feel increasingly insecure at work
- Work stress puts a strain on your mental and physical health
Ask yourself: Has a recently hired employee left the company? Are there any other new hires starting today? Are their constant rumors of another buyout, reorganization, or possible layoff plan floating around? If so, it may be time to plan a new course.
Sometimes our nostalgia for a company’s original goals, a particular manager, or a previous successful project can make it difficult to leave a company, even if it becomes toxic. If you keep wishing things were “back to normal” or “going back to the way they used to be,” it is probably time to move on to greener pastures.
This is especially common in organizations that have grown significantly since you first started. Jobs that started out small, with nurturing and honest communication, can turn into complicated bureaucracies over time.
If the atmosphere, the people or the surroundings of your work place disturb your everyday life with worries and fears, it can affect your physical and mental health.
When you are feeling all of this, it is time to think about an exit strategy.
How harmful a toxic workplace is
It is normal to take a concern home with you from work. When you’re nearing a big deadline, an important client meeting, or the climax of a lengthy project, it’s natural to cause stress every now and then.
Chronic work fatigue – the kind bred in unhealthy work environments – is an entirely different matter.
Signs of toxic workplace fatigue
- Insomnia / developing poor sleep patterns
- Increase in depressed and anxious thoughts
- Constant fatigue
- Inability to concentrate
- Stress-related mood swings
- Whipping on family and friends
- Increased drug and alcohol consumption
- Lethargy – Choose the couch above the gym
- Fluctuations in appetite
- Satisfy yourself with poor, unhealthy foods
The most damaging result of a frozen work environment is apathy. When we become apathetic about our work, we begin to question our talents and believe that we belong in a toxic work environment.
But you can break free.
Plan an effective exit strategy
Short-term solutions to finding your way out of a bad job target the immediate: releasing your immediate stress to put you in the right mindset and embark on a new path.
Strategies for coping with a toxic work environment
- Build and maintain relationships with employees who are also disappointed with the organization’s corrosive culture.
- Exercise to relieve stress and increase mental clarity
- Try to improve your eating habits to ward off fatigue
- Avoid negative coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol
- Focus on your workload / client list again
- Focus on what you can control
While it is possible for toxic work cultures to improve, it is never advisable to wait for an organization to change. Then it’s time to use your free time to plan your next move.
Lay the foundations for escape
- Research and gather information on organizations where your skills could thrive
- Update your resume from scratch and highlight the skills and achievements that you are really proud of
- Look for organizations that you work with personally and professionally
- Reconnect with old colleagues and create new networks
- Examine your passions and how you can align them with your professional goals
- See short-term roles unrelated to your specific career as a potential source of temporary income
You may have developed invisible scripts about your work life since getting stuck in a toxic work environment. Break apart these invisible scripts by remembering the following:
- You should be adequately compensated for the value you bring to an organization
- You deserve to work in a safe, considerate work environment where people support you and encourage your growth
- Making a change now may feel overwhelming, but once you decide to make a change, you’ll be amazed at how it changes your life
What would you say if your friend told you he doesn’t like his co-workers, hasn’t received a promotion in years, and is no longer heard?
You would tell them to get out!
We all want to do meaningful work. We all want to be paid for what we’re worth. We want to work with people we respect. And we want to live a life outside of work.
When you’re ready to break out of your toxic work environment and find your dream job, just enter your name and email address. I will show you how to create a successful resume in under 3 minutes. Before long, your inbox will be flooded with vacancies from non-toxic organizations.