6 things you can do to survive a toxic workplace.

We all love the work we do, which is why we chose to launch a career in what we do best and are excited about. However, it is not always sunshines and rainbows. At certain points of our lives, we may find ourselves needing to survive a toxic workplace even though we often at a lost of what to do.

A toxic work environment is more than just having some bad days, it is the feeling that you are unhappy at work and no longer excited about the work you do. You start to avoid your toxic colleagues so that you don’t have to deal with their difficult personalities and you often feel frustrated and annoyed at every situation. Worse of all, it impedes your potential at work when you know that you have so much more to offer in an unhealthy workplace.

There is absolutely no shame in finding a new career opportunity with another company and we know a job search takes time which is why you gotta stick it out. In the meantime, here’s what you can do to make it better.

how to deal with a toxic work environment:

1. don’t take it personally

This can be difficult especially if you feel that you have a bullseye on your back in the office. Some people thrive on reactions and may jab you for one. The best thing to do in these situations is to put your emotions aside and look at the matter objectively. Give appropriate responses only when asked and channel your energy to your work.

You can’t change how others choose to behave around you but you have total control over your reactions and responses.

2. speak up, calmly

Getting upset in front of the entire office does not only reflect poorly on you, but it also gives toxic colleagues a reason to be upset with you before management. 

If you feel that ignoring your colleagues does not improve the situation and they are still being rude to you, consider making your objections heard. Be sure to do so in a calm, collected and most importantly, private manner. 

3. get your manager involved

We know that getting your boss involved is not the ideal scenario. It might look like you are incapable of handling the situation yourself and you fear that they will start treating your differently at work. 

It is your boss’ responsibility to remove hurdles at work so that you are receiving the help you need to get the job done. Good leaders take the time to listen to you and do what they can to help make the workplace a friendly and safe environment for everyone to thrive in. 

4. set distinct boundaries

Maybe your bosses are the problem. They are always setting unrealistic stretch goals, moving the goalposts several times a day or expecting you to work at least 15 hours every day. 

Block out their calendars and let them know that while you appreciate the opportunities they have given, you are facing some challenges meeting the deadlines. Be specific about how they can help you complete those tasks. Focus the discussion on you, align on the expectations and explain how you can contribute to work. After the meeting, send a detailed recap capturing the discussion points to your boss so that they keep to their word.

5. be kind to yourself

We know that working in a toxic environment causes prolonged, unsustainable stress. It impacts our performance and lowers our self-esteem. 

What you need is a ray of sunshine. Find the fun and happy people in your workplace and hang out with them. Take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. No matter how much work there is, switch off during the weekend (or at least one day of the weekend) to recharge and regroup.

6. learn and move on

Ironically, it is the memories of our time working in a toxic environment that reminds us that we are in a good place now. We no longer take simple acts of kindness for granted and are grateful for the support from our teams and management. The best thing about working in a toxic environment is that you learn how not to act or be when you move on. 

In order to get there, you need to know that you are not obliged to stay in a toxic workplace, especially if you are unable to see an end to it. Set aside some time during the weekend to update your resume and send it to your recruiter. Visit job boards or our job listings to find other career opportunities best for you. During your interviews, which is likely with a competitor if you are looking within the same industry, conduct yourself in keeping with the reputation you wish to be known by. That way, you will be ready when the opportunity you have been waiting for finally comes along.

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