Leaving a Toxic Workplace Can Be Difficult
January 20, 2022
Research has shown that employees who are abused at work are more prone to pass that type of behavior on to other employees.
This points to value of cleaning up toxic workplaces. But when that doesn’t happen, then this points to the reason you want to exit a toxic workplace.
The entire organization can take on an abusive stance when new employees arrive. I got treated that way when I started a job. They were like, I was treated that way, so now it’s your turn to be abuse.
I call it vocational hazing. It’s also referred to as workplace hazing and workplace bullying.
Here’s the thing: it’s not illegal. That’s right, hazing in the workplace is not illegal! Only when it crosses the line and a protected class is the target of the bullying, does it become illegal.
It took me years to understand that it was them, not me. I just had to believe in me, gather my courage and dignity and exit left.
I remember a pretty toxic workplace I landed in.
Everyone, from supervisors down to the employees felt I was fair game for snide comments, rude behavior, and sabotaging. The latter took the form of refusing give me the knowledge and training on their systems that I needed to do my job.
My crime? I was new. And they had earned the right to haze me. Now it was my time. I just needed to accept it and deal with it.
The me 20 something years ago, stayed right there and just accepted it.
People pleasing and toxic workplaces
I was a people pleaser. And, I also had social anxiety. I was more embarrassed about being singled out, and people looking at or paying attention to me.
Way more than I was about being treated poorly. So, I found it difficult to stand up for myself.
I certainly stayed in a toxic workplace longer than I should have. I suffered through people taking credit for my work. And if they couldn’t take credit, then they demeaned me in front of others. Or were dismissive of my ideas (on the rare occasions I found the courage to speak up).
And still, I turned everything inward. What did I do wrong? How could I have done it better? Why doesn’t she like me? How did I offend him? What’s wrong with me?
A Toxic Workplace Negatively Impact Mental Health.
Over time, your mental health, emotional health, and physical health start to decline.Toxic work environments make anxiety worse. They even cause employees without anxiety to develop anxiety. Today I have hypertension, one of the diseases linked to stress and anxiety.
As well, toxic workplaces have been linked to stress, depression, increased substance use, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, digestive issues similar to irritable bowel syndrome, and paranoia. Wow. Paranoia! And the longer you stay, your self-esteem and confidence take hits as well.
Leaving a Toxic Workplace Can Be Difficult. I know. At one time in my life, having anxiety and low self-esteem made it difficult for me to just leave and walk away from a job.
The thought of walking away and going through the hiring process all over again was a huge pit of dread for me.
I had to find another job. Update the resume. Ruminate over whether it was the right style of resume. Stress about self-promoting. Interviewing. OMG!
And then stress out some more about how I was going to leave my current job. How could I leave without facing conflict or confrontation?
I’ve had two jobs where the supervisor stopped speaking/communicating with me when I informed them that I had another job. That is just stressful on top of already being in a toxic work environment.
Avoiding conflict is why some people will stay in a toxic work environment, hoping against hope it will get better.
If the organization is toxic, such as tolerating the hazing of new employees (or any employee for that matter), it doesn’t generally get better.
It’s best for you to understand your health is more valuable than the stress you’re experiencing and the money you’re making. And start plans to leave.
The wiser, more mature me knows better now. That job where everyone lined up to get their 10 cents worth of workplace hazing in; yeah, I left there within 12 months of starting.
I would have left a lot sooner, but it took time to land the new job. You can do that too.
Seek the help of a career coach. I’ve been there before. And I can walk with you on that journey, step by step, to find a healthier work environment with a position that matches your unique talents.
You can set up a 30-minute Career Career Solution Call here. The journey of a thousand miles begin with just one step.