Toxic work environment

Any time you start a new job, you have high expectations for how things will go. You probably have at least a few ideas for how this job is going to go, including how you’ll get along with your coworkers and and how much you’ll enjoy the work.

But, things don’t always turn out to be the way we hoped they would. And, in the working world, what you might have expected to be a great job with fun coworkers could end up being an oppressive, toxic work environment that drains your energy day after day. What can be done when this happens? Are there steps you can take to help you deal with this toxicity until you can make a move to a new job?

More Than Just the Work

We all know that what we do for a living doesn’t define us. Most of us also need to adjust our lifestyles to fit the work we do. But the actual work that is completed when you’re on the clock isn’t the only factor that can affect a work environment.

Sour coworker dispositions, incompatible management styles, unnecessary paperwork requirements, and rote tasks can build up over time, creating a stressful work scenario that no one wants to be a part of for five days out of the week.

Here’s how you can deal with these stressors in the near- to mid-term:

    1. Anytime you’re feeling put upon, mistreated, or even abused at work, make a record of it. Even if this means writing it down on a piece of paper, try to collect an honest account of the instances that negatively affect you at work.
    2. Involve human resources if possible. Not every toxic work scenario will allow for this, but if it’s possible, try to express your concerns to the human resources person you feel most comfortable approaching within your organization.
    3. Develop an exit plan and refer to it when you’re feeling especially down. When you have a clearly defined strategy to leave your toxic work environment, it can actually help to think on it when times get tough.
    4. Rely on the good relationships you do have at work. Most of us have at least one or two coworkers that we can commiserate with, and there’s no shame in confiding in someone who understands what it’s like to work in the same environment. Just be careful to have confidential conversations where they can’t be eavesdropped by management.
    5. Try not to ruminate on how bad things are at work when you’re not there. One of the biggest mistakes some of us make is taking our work home with us—not just physically, but emotionally as well. Put a hard stop on all work-related thoughts when you’re not actually working, and allow yourself to enjoy your downtime.

If you remember to put these five tips to work for you the next time you feel like you’re wrapped up in a toxic work environment, you should have an easier time dealing with it. Be sure to share this article with the person(s) in your life who might benefit from it!