You may be saying to yourself, but I hate my current job, I can not stand my boss, or my co-workers and the environment is just toxic. Well, then those are the reason why it may be time to get out and start searching. I can say that most of us have all been there, working for a company where you no longer feel the motivation to even get up in the morning to go to work because you know it will toxic.
Changing Jobs should not be something you fear, but something you embrace, because with each new position, you will gain new skills. The question I tend to ask myself has I learned everything there is learn in my current role to move on to the next role.
All of us wish to be productive in whatever Job we do, what we don’t want is to go to work and be in an environment where we want to jump ship each day. So what are some signs of a toxic work environment it may be time to head for the door? Here are some reasons:
The Physical Signs to a Toxic Environment
- Physical Signs –
- How are you sleeping
- What’s your eating like
- Are you feeling safe at home or at Work?
Working in a toxic environment has its physical ramifications that will affect you, dreading the next day and coping in your own way. For instance, I have personally dealt with this where I could not sleep, I was eating a lot more than I normally would and felt constantly unsure of my place in the organization over how unstable my department or the company was.
Many times, in toxic work environments our bodies are trying to tell us something and many times we choose to ignore those signs, because we have to go to work, we feel we have no choice, we have bills to pay. These factors all add on top of what you are already going through.
- What are some of the indicators that you’re in a Toxic Environment?
- Employee Sickness
- Narcissistic Leadership
- Little to No Enthusiasm
- Lack of Communication or Negative Communication
- High Turnover
- Cliques, Gossip and Rumors
Does this sound familiar? It might be and although your place of employment may not have all of the indicators, some do wreak havoc on the workplace. I will discuss a few these I have experienced and what that result ended up like.
- Employee Sickness- Being in a toxic environment, you feel physically sick and don’t want to go, I would experience, stomach aches, nausea, headaches fatigue, depression, anxiety. All of these ailments caused me to not be my best, literally forcing myself to go to work which was a horrible experience.
- High Turnover – You are not alone when you see the revolving door of employees leaving all the time. This concerned me and should concern you because there is a serious issue that could be going on and it’s not addressed. Now understand there will always be people leaving jobs, that’s normal, but when they leave because they are experiencing what you are, then that is not normal. In the company that I experience a toxic environment, I would see people leave every week constantly being replaced and then leaving again due to the environment.
- Cliques, Gossip and Rumors – be weary of Gossip it will destroy the environment and if you add to that Gossip it will be made worse for you. I know because I have spoken to someone in private later finding out the conversation was told to others, ruining reputations. Although I never meant to hurt anyone, I saw the dangers of speaking about anyone who is Not in the room, don’t do it. After this point, co-workers ignored me, acted out against me and made it into an already more toxic environment.
Trust Your Instincts
I am one believes trust your gut when something tells you something is wrong. Once you know what you’re dealing with.
Where to go from here?
Recognizing a toxic work environment is your first step in deciding what course of action to take, but here are some recommendations that can assist you:
- Find People who feel the same way you do – Develop those friends who feel the same, I would caution you Not to find those you work with, because this can go into adding to the toxic environment, I would find a support group, Family Friends who will listen and guide you. If you do decide you befriend someone at Work, be wary of what you say. I would prefer to speak with friends outside of work and family, they tend to be a better support system.
- Do something after work to help you relieve Stress- I highly recommend this, leave work behind the moment you clock out, go to the gym, take a course, read a book or Write. Anything that helps you relieve stress and unwind for the day. Doing this will also allow you to re-focus on what your next steps will be in leaving this toxic work environment.
- Document Everything – I recommend that you keep a journal or a notebook of events that have caused the toxic work environment. This can assist you in two ways, one would be to have a record and two if anything was to where you were unfairly fired or let go, you provide this as proof over the environment. Not every employer will consider your proof, but its good to have.
Plan Your Exit
Plan your exit Strategy- Begin your Job search, what’s typically called a stealth Job search, Not telling anyone, maybe only close Friends and Family, but no one at work should know. It’s important to know you have a choice, you can leave the Job without another Job lined up if the environment becomes more toxic or hostile, but If you are able to hang on until you get another job, that would be best.
After reading this if this sounds like yourself like many out there, it’s important to remember you have a choice to where you want to work and putting yourself first is the first step. Know that your physical and mental health is vital to your productivity.
I know in these types of situations you may feel helpless, what I recommend is that if you love your job unhappy in the environment, I would make attempts to speak up, but know there are risks. Depending on what country you reside in, you may or may not have rights to a job.
For example, in California we have what’s “At-Will” Employment meaning you can be let go for any reasons, you are not protected unless you are in a union. By speaking up, at least you know you made efforts to change the environment and not stand ideally by as it became more toxic.
Prepare yourself for the worst in any situation especially if you have to walk away, try to save, prepare yourself if you do walk away to know finding another job may not come right away.
Your Resource is Us
I would highly recommend reading our fellow writer and Operations director Megan Owens piece on “I Quit My Job” at https://myneedtolive.com/i-quit-my-job/. As someone who has lived through these situations, know that every company /organization is not like this, a toxic work environment has been allowed to get this way many times by poor leadership. Continue to search for fields and Job that will allow you to be content and be your best.
Not every job is going to be perfect, but no one should have to deal with those environments when leadership stands around and allows this to happen. Remember you are important and you come first to what you want, so if you have spoken up and those concerns go unattended too, I would recommend starting looking, because in most cases the organization is not going to change, it comes from the Top for a culture to change. Believe in your abilities and continue to look to the brighter day!