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The most disappointing thing to encounter during your career is a toxic work environment. Toxic workplaces are more common than most people like to admit. This is exactly why I created a toxic workplace checklist so that you can easily identify a toxic work culture.
If you follow me on LinkedIn or are subscribed to my YouTube channel, you know how passionate I am about raising and spreading awareness on the damaging effects of toxic workplaces. As a survivor of toxic workplaces and a person who used to manage employees in toxic environments, I can tell you the ins and outs of them. I can tell you how to pick up on red flags in job interviews and how to recognize a toxic environment within the first week of working in one.
I’m so passionate about the topic, that I even created an event that I recently hosted to help professionals break free from toxic environments. During this live event, I focused on techniques for boosting confidence, recognizing self-worth, identifying red flags during the interview process, and so much more. If you want to catch the replay, click here.
If you want to be notified for the next live webinar, sign up here. In the meantime, I’m going to share some commonly asked questions regarding toxic work environments and a toxic workplace checklist so that you can get familiar with the signs and prove that you work in a toxic work environment.
This is a question I receive a lot and I often get a lot of backlash for my answer. Here it goes. You can ABSOLUTELY quit a toxic job without notice. If you are in an environment that is continuing to damage your level of confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth, you need to leave as soon as possible. Professionals often don’t realize the negative mental, emotional, and physical effects that a toxic work environment can have.
Being subjected to bullying, harassment, and tension every day can make you sick (both mentally and physically). Me and clients that I have worked with report experiencing depression, weight gain, weight loss, loss of appetite, headaches, anxiety, and more. If you begin to notice any of the effects listed above, it is ok to quit asap to protect your sanity and health.
I’ve included a lot of qualifiers below in the toxic workplace checklist. I want to first mention, there are variety of signs, characteristics, and situations that can lead to qualifying a workplace as toxic. The most important qualification is how YOU feel. On top of that, paying attention to your emotional, mental, and physical state while in a work environment is important. Once you begin to notice a decline is any (or all) categories, you can bet that the environment is toxic.
It’s also important to mention that the definition of “toxic” can differ from person to person. There are some people who thrive in toxic work cultures because they are used to it. This doesn’t make it acceptable or ok. Most importantly, it doesn’t mean that you are required to “thrive” or deal with it just because they are. You have a right to make decisions based on your needs, feelings, and values.
Yes, yes, and more yes! For the sake of your health (mental, emotional, and physical), please quit. There is no amount of money, perks, or benefits that is worth sacrificing for a toxic environment.
Toxicity doesn’t happen overnight. Toxic work environments are created due to a gradual buildup of inappropriate behaviors over time. They result from a lack of accountability, directions, and honesty. It usually begins with one or two people spreading negativity, displaying inappropriate behaviors, and setting a negative tone. Leaders often fail to call out and punish the behavior. Instead, they ignore it, and this quickly becomes the “acceptable norm.” Other employees watch and take note of what is tolerated and begin to exhibit the same behaviors and actions. Toxicity is like a disease that starts off small, but left untreated, spreads all over.
Below is a list of common indicators that I’ve created for my clients and professionals who work in toxic environments. I recommend starting with doing some internal work. This means looking inward and checking in with your daily thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
To determine if your work environment is toxic, ask yourself the following questions:
When it comes to determining whether or not you are working in a toxic environment, you don’t need validation from other people. Look inward and trust your gut. If you answered yes to the majority of questions listed above, I can guarantee that you are working in a toxic environment. If you need more convincing, below are questions to ask yourself and answer about the day-to-day environment.
In addition to the toxic workplace indicators above, ask yourself these questions as well.
Now that you’ve answered questions in detail, here is a quick checklist that you can use to officially confirm that you are in a toxic culture. Place a “T” near every trust statement.
If you answered TRUE to more than 10 of these statements in the toxic workplace checklist, these are indicators your work culture is toxic. There are many other signs of toxic work environments. As I mentioned before, it is important that you lean in and become comfortable with believing and valuing your own opinion.
Life is too short to settle for and stay in a toxic work environment. The longer you stay, the more internal damage will be done. You deserve better and you can have better. There are amazing companies, bosses, and coworkers out there who will value, respect, and celebrate your contribution.
I wish you the best as you navigate this time in your career.
Cheers to your healing and future endeavors!