9 Lifesaving Tips on How to Survive Hazing in a Toxic Workplace
November 15, 2021
9 Lifesaving Tips on How to Survive Hazing in a Toxic Workplace
Before we talk about the 9 Lifesaving Tips on How to Survive Workplace Hazing in a Toxic Workplace, can we talk about vocational hazing for a moment? That’s just what I call it.
You may also hear it referred to as workplace bullying, workplace hazing, or companies that “eat their young”.
When a workplace “eat their young” that means an organization or company hires new employees, colleagues, and even sometimes the supervisors, engage in behavior that is very troubling such belittling, not explaining tasks, or saying things like “I had it tough, so you just need to figure it out”.
However you refer to it, it’s common in toxic workplaces.
Behaviors in a Toxic Workplace
- sabotage by coworkers
- withholding crucial information
- negative gossiping about other team members
- public humiliation
All the things you’ve seen on TV shows like Mad Men. In the real world, however, such commonplace destructive organizational behavior results in lower morale, higher turnover rates, less productivity, more absenteeism, greater stress among those who remain, and higher health care costs. Working in a toxic workplace is hazardous to your health.
Toxic Workplace is Detrimental to New Employees
It is especially devastating to newcomers, who may see it as a personal failure or something they’ve done wrong.
For employees with anxiety, these types of workplaces can really tick up the worry, fear, and stress. And ultimately burnout because you are trying to do a good job and simultaneously watch your back.
Deliberately or not, many organizations prevent new employees from feeling like full members of the team. Research shows that when people belong to groups where they feel accepted, they just do better work than those who don’t belong to such groups.
I’ve been in several organizations like this. The longer you stay, the more your mental health may decline. The stress of when will they “get” me takes its toll. It was through leaving that I learned how to do career transition. And how to recognize the signs of these toxic work environments.
I’ve also known several people who say, every job I get is like this. So, what’s the point of going through the hassle of getting a new job. These thoughts are when hopelessness starts to creep in.
Understand, that the longer you stay, the harder it can be to leave. If the company has a reputation, that reputation may follow you. The longer you stay, it may also be harder to get good references. I’ve had several clients who came to me for coaching with no reliable references.
Your self-esteem and confidence take a beating. So, it’s difficult to even see yourself doing better somewhere else. Which explains why people stay stuck in a toxic job environment 5, 10 and even 20 years! Read below for my experience leaving a toxic workplace because of workplace hazing.
Tips to Avoid a Toxic Workplace
While you may not 100% avoid these types of workplaces, here are some tips when you are in career transition or job seeker mode.
1. Use your network to vet the organization. LinkedIn is great for this. See what connections you have to the company you want to work for.
2. Do informational interviews with folks working there and folks who used to work there.
3. During the interview, ask questions such as
a. Tell me about the most recent successful hire
b. Tell me about a hire that didn’t work out
c. Ask about how direct reports would describe their management style
d. Ask them how they provide feedback
e. Ask how long they’ve had the current team in place and lastly
f. Ask for a description of the team culture
How I Left a Toxic Workplace
Ideally, you’d want to avoid taking a job with a toxic environment. But if you land there. It’s okay. Just immediately start planning your steps to get out. So you can make as quickly an exit as possible.
Earlier in my career, I once left a job after 2 months! I knew at the 15-day point (yes 15 days), the environment wasn’t healthy. The supervisor was extremely vindictive. And the longer I stayed, the worse it would be. And it took another month to exit right. Here are some useful steps for planning your escape.
1. Document, document, document. Cannot stress this one enough.
If you feel discriminated against or harassed, documenting is a life saver. If it gets ugly, you have proof of your actions. And theirs too. Writing also helps you understand that the issue is real, not imagined. Often time people with anxiety have problems deciding if they are overreacting. Writing helps you sort that out. It helps you realize when you are actually in a toxic workplace.
2. Carefully reach out to your network for other opportunities.
Why carefully? Some workplaces are brutal when they find out you’re trying to leave. It’s pretty bad when an entire workplace gives you the silent treatment.
3. When you first get a job, ALWAYS update your resume immediately in preparation for the next job.
Whether you need a job in a month or 5 years, you’ll feel that’s one less task to do.
4. Do stay in contact with your support group.
Isolation and aloneness magnify feelings of anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness. Remember you had value before the job, and you’ll have value after the job.
5. Seek professional help.
If you start to become so anxious or depressed that it’s interfering with everyday life.
6. Write down your plan.
Planning gives you hope that at some point you’ll be leaving.
7. Invest in a career coach.
They are skilled with helping you see beyond your current situation, as well as helping you strategize an exit plan. I’ve had clients who came to me for career coaching, and after working with them for just one session, I was able to identify they were in a toxic workplace.
If you are working in one of these type jobs, don’t give up hope. Be aware that sometimes, it is the job not you. I know that’s hard to believe when anxiety is riding high. And that’s why a career coach is so helping when you are trying to exit a toxic workplace.
But there is help. Set up a free 30-minute Career Solution Call with me here. Let’s look at a step-by-step plan to help you make the best career decision for you.
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