One of the worst things that could ever happen is having to deal with a toxic work environment. You wake up each day having to drag yourself to work. You feel the stress and you find yourself no longer motivated. On the other hand, you need a paycheck. You may not be able to afford to go in between jobs. Should you stay or leave?
What makes a toxic work environment?
You’re probably working in a toxic atmosphere if going to work makes you feel anxious or depressed, and/or if you have lost focus, and have shattered confidence, not to mention constant headaches or nausea. It’s helpful to be able to pinpoint what makes a toxic work environment to at least have an idea of how you could deal with it.
Bad Management or a Bad Boss
A bad boss or bad management holds a lot of power to make you hate your job. Imagine a boss who micromanages. Who looks at every little thing you do, giving you little freedom to practice judgment on how you do your job. It does not only make you feel unreliable but unmotivated as well. Who wants to work having someone commenting or nitpicking every little step you take?
Some bosses also do the opposite. They leave you to do all the work. You are not only overwhelmed but overworked as well.
There are also instances when management places little value on their workforce. Honest feedback is not welcome. Employees are always reminded how lucky they are to have their job and are always threatened to get replaced. There are constant budget cuts and those who are affected are the people under the work chain.
There’s little to no chance of promotion and communication is strained.
Toxic work culture
Imagine a workplace where you are expected to overwork. You look bad when you go home on time. There’s always competition. There’s favoritism and just plain bad office politics. There’s little to no acknowledgment or appreciation for those who are not favorites.
A workplace where colleagues engage in social cliques, gossiping, bullying, and aggressiveness are the norm is the perfect formula for a toxic workplace. Sad to say there are even workplaces where sexual harassment exists when legal action should be implemented.
A Work You Are Not Passionate About
Last but not the least, is the fact that if you find yourself doing a job you are not passionate about, then the effort can feel multiple times harder. A change of career can do the trick but will not be the easiest thing to accomplish especially if your training and education are for that job you happen to dislike.
What You Can Do For The Time Being
Let’s face it. There are multiple reasons why you just cannot pack up and leave work. Not only are there bills to pay but there are instances when you have already invested way too much in your job. And if you really have to go there are still things you have to think over.
And although it is not simple, it is entirely feasible to survive a toxic workplace. Here are a few things that are worth a try should you choose to stay.
Find friends at work
While it may be difficult and not always possible to make friends in a toxic work environment, it will do you good to still be friendly, supportive, and professional to your colleagues.
They may be suffering too and having that support from each other will make it possible to cope better and lessen the stress, having people around you who can relate to your work environment. You can never disregard the possibility of change starting with your group.
As such, shut down unhealthy gossip every chance you get or simply refuse to participate in it. If you are not careful you may end up being one of the toxic coworkers yourself.
Create your own breathers
Even (or perhaps especially) if workaholism is praised at your place of employment, look for ways to take some time for yourself during your workday. Take a brief respite from the tension you’re under by stretching, listening to a motivational song or podcast, or both.
You can also practice mindfulness techniques to relieve your anxiety and stress. You can start or end your day or even squeeze it in during your workdays. A brief guided meditation or grounding technique will help you be more intentional about how you deal with the outside forces or environment.
Reiki healing sessions can also help by restoring harmony in the body, mind, and spirit. Your body’s energy will be balanced through the use of gentle touch, resulting in healing.
Fight for your Work-Life Balance
To do this, you must set boundaries. Set some boundaries, so you can have a job and a life. Take your lunch BREAK. Do not bring work home. Set clear expectations for your boss or coworkers about after-work calls or emails. Have friendships outside of work. Make time for hobbies, especially family.
If Possible or Necessary, Plan Your Exit
In conclusion, some things are simply not worth fighting for. Sometimes the best way to survive a toxic work environment is to know the suffering is all temporary because you are already planning your EXIT.
If your work is already taking a toll on you physically and mentally and despite all efforts to be positive things remain bad, then it’s time to LEAVE. There are some things that you simply cannot change. Plan what steps you’re going to take next after leaving your job. You may also find it helpful to heal from toxic relationships at work or release negative thoughts, emotions or even doubts about yourself before moving on to a new place of work.
We are all for taking a leap of faith but you must still be prepared if you do not want to make a difficult situation even worse. Start looking for another job even before your resignation. That will make things less stressful knowing you are not going to be in between jobs.
At the end of the day, always prioritize your mental and physical health. Your work, being something that mostly consumes your time and energy should be something that at least you like doing – even love doing. As Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”