We have all had trouble at work, dull assignments, irritable bosses, gossipy coworkers, but sometimes, all the small factors that make a day at the office a drag can come together, creating something far worse: a toxic workplace.
A toxic workplace is a work situation that feels psychologically unbearable, not because of the actual work that you do, but because the emotional dynamics of the place are so deeply dysfunctional.
In a toxic workplace, you might be bullied by bosses or coworkers. Policies might be totally unclear and hard work might go unrecognized. Sound familiar?
The following points will help you to identify if you are in a toxic workplace:
If you do the work of two or three people and receive little or no appreciation or compensation or your coworkers steal your ideas and take the credit.
Immoral and Illegal Activities
If your coworkers or boss ask you to cover or lie for them or you are asked to falsify data, reports or documents.
Abusive Bosses and Poisonous Coworkers
If you or others suffer sexual harassment or your bosses and peers rely on fear and intimidation to get things done.
If your coworkers interrupt your work, and always invade your space and help themselves to your files, even constant gossip or spying is a clear indication that you are in a toxic workplace.
Any one of the above issues indicates a toxic environment and should not be tolerated. Unfortunately, many women in the workplace often believe that these problems are the cost of doing business and must be endured. Also, many women struggle with speaking up and end up suffering in silence.
Detoxifying Your Workplace
How you respond to any of these problem areas depends on you, on the level of threat of the situation poses and on the supportiveness of the company. The first step to freeing yourself from a bad work situation is understanding that you are in one - not always an easy task.
So, use the points below as a guide to help get out of your toxic workplace - the key is always speaking up!
Do Not Confront
Situations, where you are in physical danger, should be handled urgently. Step away and don't antagonize. But don't let it go. Report the problem to your HR or your supervisor if there is no HR department.
If your supervisor is the threat, seek the next higher level. Sharing your experience with someone who is knowledgeable about these challenges can serve as a great guide to getting out of the situation.
Plan Your Exit
Some companies have a culture of dysfunction. If the toxicity is coming from the top down, and it is affecting your work and who you are (your integrity, values, and character), you are better off coming up with an exit strategy.
Give yourself a timeline for leaving and start working on it. Just focusing on a more positive future will help your stress level while you're still in that negative environment.
Learn how to protect yourself by simply keeping your bridges intact and not hurt your professional prospects.
Talk to a lawyer, if something makes you uncomfortable and goes beyond a normal office dispute.
You shouldn't have to leave just because of a bad boss or insufferable coworkers. But if the situation prompts you to start the company you've always dreamed about, that's not such a bad thing. The bottom line is, you don't have to suffer in silence.