Toxic Work Environment

We probably spend most of our time awake at work. Work becomes our new family. We have various dynamics at play and it becomes our identity. We take pride in our career and our passion- we find our purpose in our work. So, what happens when work becomes a place to avoid?

We all have had THAT boss. You know…that boss who thinks that he/she is very caring and supportive but when you actually need support, they are generally not around and on top of that, they really see your concerns as something you need to deal with rather than problem-solving with you. They believe that their “clients”/ “customers” are the ones who are not within the agency but they missed the part in Management 101 about happy workers = more productivity.

What about THAT coworker? I am talking about THAT poor victim who has done everything right but is “always misunderstood.”

So, what do we do? How do we safety plan? We all need our jobs. We have bills to pay and families to take care of. How do we balance both?

Those are all valid questions and your feelings are all valid. We experience anxiety, anger, frustration, shame…the whole spectrum of feelings. But the question still remains…what do we do NOW?

The easy answer is to find another job.  Maybe you are wondering if this place has played its role in your growth and this is the nudge you need to find your next challenge; if you notice that the toxicity from work is impacting your personal life, then it is important to determine how to regain that balance back in your life.

One thing you can do is to stand up to someone continuously exerting his/her power but that can feel intimidating. There are ways you can still advocate for yourself. My personal strategy is to discuss it with the person directly involved and I know that it is not the “go to” first step for everyone.  When I first started working, many of my mentors recommended that I keep a record of activities and behaviors that make me feel uncomfortable. When discussing an issue with anyone, it helps to have clear examples or incidents to talk about. AND don’t forget to breathe!

Which brings me to my next strategy: Safety Plan. What is your exit strategy? Are you comfortable looking for another job or do you feel that what you are experiencing can be worked through? It is a good idea to keep your resume updated and as much as you enjoy what you do, remember that finding new challenges will help you grow as a person and as a professional. Maintaining your previous contacts and networking outside of your work-related events are a great way to find opportunities that may be a better fit for you.  

Keep Calm. I cannot stress this enough. You may want to say well deserved “things” to them but would that help? Anything you say or do can be used against you. Even though Texas is an at-will state, no one wants to say that “I fired them just because…”. That does not look good for the company.

When it comes to anything in life, it is extremely important to choose your battles wisely. What would be the best strategy with the least amount of damage? Your safety and sanity is more important than anything else. You have to be in a good place (mentally and physically) to do your best and serve your purpose. You have been through tough times, and you can excel again. As difficult as the situation may seem, reach out. Friends and family are great support and therapists also provide that extra support to manage anxiety, communication issues, self-esteem struggles, etc to help you overcome challenges holding you back. Zenergy is just a call away.

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