How to Survive a Toxic Workplace
It's one thing to dislike your job, but it's completely another thing to dread going to work or feel physically ill walking into the office. If that's the case, chances are you are in a toxic environment.
These are some common signs of a typical toxic workplace:
1. The Narcissist on Top
Your boss thinks that they can do no wrong and they expect complete obedience from you. You're either with them or against them, so everyone tries super hard to appease the boss's ego so not to get on their bad side.
Remember the 'Mean Girls' cafeteria tribes scene? It's just like that, except each clique has a Regina George (and the burn book is as big as the Game of Thrones books combined).
3. Lack of Transparency
The job description wasn't laid out clearly to you and you don't know how your performance is measured. It even sometimes feels like the closer you get to achieving your goals the further the post is being moved by management.
4. It's a Blood Bath
Management encourages internal competition which leads people to actively try to sabotage your work to get that raise or bonus. The concept of team collaboration is non-existent.
5. Inconsistent Rulebook
You have rules and regulations but not everyone has to adhere to them. Some people are reprimanded for being five minutes late, others are two hours late and no one brings it up.
6. Oh, the bureaucracy
Micromanagement is the dominant management style at your workplace. Getting a document approved requires you to jump through endless hoops of managers, which affects the productivity level of the place.
7. The Big Bottom-line
The focus is entirely on numbers. It doesn't matter how or what you do to get them as long as you do. This often manifests itself through little or no concern for work-life balance by upper management.
8. The Place is Sick (Literally)
Stress has been linked to employee burnout, fatigue, and downright illness. You find yourself so stressed that you're becoming physically ill. And it's not just you, employees seem to always be calling in sick too.
Working in a Toxic place doesn't have to be the norm. Here's what you can do:
1. Assess the Potential for Change
Identify the things you'd like to see changed in order for you to stay at your current workplace and the likelihood of these changes taking place. Maybe a conversation with your coworkers or managers will result in you seeing the changes you seek.
2. Prioritize your Basic Needs
Being stuck in a toxic work environment can seriously affect your emotional and mental well-being. It can leave you feeling helpless and powerless, and you need to take that power back. Reestablish your agency over your life bit by bit by taking a lunch break away from your desk, or by ignoring work emails after dinner to create work-life balance. Whatever it is you need, put yourself first and practice daily self-care.
3. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Whether it's a positive person at work, or family and loved ones, you need an emotional support system that is going to lift you up on days on which you feel like everything is too much for you to handle.
4. Consider the Benefits of a Bridge Job
It might not be the best career move, but it could be just what you need to keep your sanity. A bridge job that is less hectic and toxic than your current position will allow you to have the time and mental energy to pursue your dream job.
5. Bye, Felicia
Although you shouldn't quit your job before finding a new one, sometimes you just gotta jump ship (especially if that ship is the Titanic and there is a gigantic iceberg ahead). If you can cover 3-6 months of expenses and your current job is taking its toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally, and you have exhausted all other options this might be the right step for you.