March 17, 2022

#CauseAChatter: Discrimination at work - how to recognize and deal with a toxic work environment

Have you ever felt the rising urge  to quit your job but are unsure of whether that would be the right thing to do? 

By this, I don’t mean the weekend sulk we all get into and then get over soon after. What I mean is a deeper, prolonged dissatisfaction that has slowly set into your heart due to extraneous factors at work and which is now gnawing at your mind, forcing you to reconsider staying on.

Leaving the security of a fixed job position is not an easy thing to do. In an unpredictable world like ours. it is only wise to grasp at the tiniest bit of stability life offers. 

But never at the cost of your well being. 

A toxic work environment can be damaging both physically as well as mentally. But many times, we cling on. We tolerate. We compromise at the cost of our mental peace and happiness. 

There are many factors that can result in a toxic work environment.

Pic source: Google images

Here is a list of warning signs that you may be working in a toxic environment: 

1) You find yourself frequently caught in uncomfortable situations for no fault of yours.

2) You find yourself often working outside office hours and in excess of  your allotted workload. 

3) You feel a sense of anxiety and unhappiness…a constant lack of energy and motivation while working. 

4) Your boss is mostly unappreciative and does not take your opinions seriously. 

5) You feel transparency and trust are amiss in your working relationships. 

6) Your feedback in projects is not encouraged and decisions are often taken without your knowledge or against your judgement. 

7) You feel alienated by your work colleagues or team members. 

8) Workplace bullying or sexual harassment (however subtle) at work are realities that you need to factor in as well. 

Once you have recognized your environment as toxic, here is what you need to do:

First and foremost, make up your mind. It is often tough convincing ourselves out of o secure (although harmful) workplace. 

For this, you can maintain a diary where you mention the uncomfortable occurrences as they occur in a daily basis. Also, list out the pros and cons. The reasons for staying on v/s the reasons for leaving. This will help put things in perspective. 

If the pros are more than the cons and you still feel you can hang on, then try to relieve the stress with simple steps like pursuing a hobby—like reading, painting etc, meeting up with friends after office hours and engaging in things you like. This can work wonders in reducing stress and help you survive the pressures of work. 

However, if all these measures provide only temporary respite and the discontent you feel continues to persist, then here is what you need to do: 

1) Talk to your HR to see if you can come up with a way to fix the solution. Or address the concern with your boss. 

2) Ask around for references, gather work portfolios, and keep an eye for suitable job opportunities.

3) In the interim, complete all your pending projects to the best of your capacity. This will ensure that you don’t leave your colleagues in the lurch, when you do eventually make the move. 

4) Update your resume with your achievements from this job while you still have access to the data and files. This will brighten your prospects for the next job opening and help land you in a better place. Also create a good cover letter handy for the time you find a suitable job opening. 

5) Keep a watch on your health- I can’t seem to lay enough emphasis on the fact that stress tends to take a toll on ones physical and mental well being. It may also cause unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, excessive eating, insomnia. Try your best to consciously maintain as healthy a lifestyle as possible with nutritious food, daily exercise, and meditation techniques. 

6) Save your earnings. The move from one job to another is always a little difficult in the beginning. There may be a period of financial instability while changing jobs. Be prepared but don’t let that scare you. Cut down on your expenses. Plan your savings in a manner that they will allow you at-least a six month no-work period, while giving it your best from the first day anyway. 

7) Leaving any company or institution without notice may look okk unprofessional and cause resentment among your seniors and subordinates. And you don’t want to create a bad implpression. Inform your boss with your resignation letter at least a fortnight in advance. Leaving on a good note may even earn you a recommendation letter. 

8) Make your exit, gracefully and without inhibition. Start afresh with confidence on the new job. And never look back. 

Here’s a shout out to all the company admins and budding entrepreneurs: 

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson

The success of your company depends on the kind of work environment you create for your employees. A friendly workspace will only increase productivity.  

Here’s a shout out to all job goers: 

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

Don’t compromise your mental sanity for a hefty pay check. Money cannot buy happiness. 

So if you ever find yourself stuck in a toxic work environment, you know what to do. 

Remember the golden mantra-

Recognize the signs. 

Repair if possible. 

Resign if not. 


This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.     

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