Harassment, unrealistic expectations, inappropriate actions, and disrespectful comments are all symptoms of a toxic work environment. Toxic environments can wreak havoc on your self-esteem, confidence, energy, and overall ability to get through daily tasks. At some point in your career, you may find yourself at a company that fosters this type of behavior.
Of course, the goal is never to land in this type of atmosphere, but if you do, it’s important that you take care of yourself during your time there. To avoid self-destruction and burnout, it is essential that you prioritize self-care, recognize the toxicity, find an ally, and plan your escape.
Toxic environments are consuming and draining. Showing up every day to a job where you aren’t appreciated, belittled, and embarrassed can start to take a toll on your self-esteem. Once your confidence starts to whittle down, depression can kick in, which makes it hard to function in and outside of the office.
To avoid falling in the hole of depression and hopelessness, you have to remember to prioritize your self-care. How can you do this? Engage in activities that you’re good at and that you enjoy. Being stuck in an office for 8 hours questioning your abilities and knowledge can put you in a funk and question whether or not you’re good at anything.
By intentionally engaging in activities that you excel in, you are naturally increasing your confidence and happiness.
Also, remember to incorporate regular physical activity as well. Even short walks on your lunch breaks help boost creativity and the fresh air can provide a sense of relief and change of perspective.
Recognize toxic environments aren’t normal
The first step to moving forward is always recognizing there’s a problem. Toxic work environments are like abusive relationships, the longer you’re in it, the more normal it seems to become. Realize that it’s not you, your skills, knowledge, or expertise that are flawed.
You are in an environment that is not embracing, uplifting, and celebrating what you bring to the table and that my friend, is not the type of environment you deserve or want to be in!
Toxic environments are not normal.
Find an ally
Often a toxic work environment can make you feel isolated and lonely which can also lead to self-destruction. I guarantee you are not alone recognizing the environment isn’t healthy. Fun, helpful, and encouraging coworkers are what make toxic workplaces bearable for the time that you are there.
Find an ally who will elevate your voice and ideas in meetings, one that will make you laugh on the hard days, and one that will support your work, and remind you that you are amazing when you question yourself.
Plan your escape
Run, run, as fast as you can! Once you recognize that you are in a toxic environment, the goal should be to move on as quick as you can. Again, you deserve to be uplifted, encouraged, celebrated, and included in your work environment. Reflect on how and why you decided to interview with this company and accept the position.
Did you do research on the organization beforehand? If not, make sure to implement thorough research when conducting your search and interviewing for the next role. Also, ask yourself if there were any red flags during the hiring process. If so, what were they and how can you avoid them next time? Take everything that you learned from this process to make improvements for landing your next role.
Toxic work environments are sometimes unavoidable and unexpected. If you find yourself in one be sure to prioritize self-care, recognize the signs, find an ally, and plan your escape. You deserve a healthy work environment that allows you to thrive at all stages in your career.
Photo/Video by Anna Shvets