SM left a comment that says “You cannot survive in a toxic workplace.” She’s so right. And that moved me to write this post. I’ve spoken about the ways a toxic work environment can affect people before, but she brings up some key points I’d like to talk a bit more about.
“I’m about six months into the new job and astonished at how much better I feel mentally and physically. For anyone who was like me and stuck in a horrid job, I hope they read my past and current comments and your articles and realize it’s so much worse to stay at a place that’s hurting you. A new job may not be your dream job, but it’s still so much better when you can get into a better environment with … decent human beings.
My new job isn’t what most would consider a dream job. It’s a large company that has a good reputation, but it’s also a low-totem pole type job and more office work. Even so, I love it!”
A toxic work environment saps your spirit
Even if the work you do is something you enjoy generally, when your work environment is toxic day by day you feel yourself slipping into just getting through that day. And now you’re mostly in survival mode.
As time goes on, you begin to feel numb to the reality. And you can lose your ability to stand up for yourself or even care enough about things you once cared about.
More importantly, you begin to forget your own power and abilities. Or at least doubt them. And the idea of moving elsewhere to a better job is accompanied by thoughts like:
- Good jobs are hard to find.
- No one will hire me.
- What can I really offer a new job?
- All jobs have problems.
- What if the next job is worse?
- I just don’t have the energy to look.
When a job belittles or minimizes or even makes you doubt your ability to do things you know you do well, over time you lose the desire to try to make things better elsewhere. And you continue to look for ways to make where you are work better for you. Or just accept things as they are … toxicity and all.
While your first choice should always be to see if you can make a job work, if the people and managerial methods are toxic and nothing is being done to help, then you need to muster whatever energy you can to get yourself to a job where you will feel appreciated … and thrive as your full capable self.
What is a better job?
You may not want to consider a job that pays less or seems less impressive on paper. But consider the cost to your health and well-being … and what you bring home from the job as a result. A better job is one that is better for you.
SM says she loves her new job despite surface appearances. In the end that is worth more than money or any negative judgments from people you know. Or maybe even judgments coming from yourself at first.
And remember, sometimes just getting yourself to a job that is not eating away at you because of a toxic work environment is enough for the moment. You can recover in a safe environment. And rebuild your confidence and spirit. And then if you like you can move on.
Or maybe you can take the new better “temporary” job and slowly apply techniques that get you even more of what you enjoy and feel good about right where you are. I call this self-help technique job morphing.
I wish you strength to do what’s needed. And the patience with yourself to allow time to get there. Above all, remember you are capable of finding better … and you deserve it. Every part of your life will thank you.
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