How to deal with a toxic work environment

In today’s world, where work-life balance is becoming increasingly important, toxic work environments can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health. From overworking to having tyrant managers, inappropriate banter, to no opportunity for growth, these experiences can lead to burnout and other complications. This article delves into the topic of toxic workspaces and provides actionable tips on how to recognize the signs, set boundaries, and ultimately quit if necessary.

The importance of researching potential employers, aligning with their values and culture, and saying no are all highlighted as crucial steps in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. With the help of resources such as TikTok content creators and tools like ChatGPT, individuals can navigate toxic workspaces and prioritise their mental and physical health. Here are a few things to consider….

Toxic Workspace Explained (Even if everyone is nice, it can be toxic)

In today’s fast-paced and competitive world, workplace stress is a common phenomenon that affects individuals of all professions and backgrounds. Unfortunately, many workplaces are plagued by toxic cultures from overworking (often working on weekends or past hours) to having tyrant managers, inappropriate banter, no opportunity for growth, silent team meetings, these experiences can exacerbate stress and lead to burnout. Burnout is a mental and emotional exhaustion that often includes physical health complications. No job, opportunity, externship, or internship is worth your life. 

This article will explore the various ways to respond to toxic work environments and give practical tips on what individuals can do to protect themselves from burnout and improve their overall well-being, even if that means quitting.

Tips include:
  • The importance of researching potential employers;
  • Aligning with their values and culture,
  • Saying no are all highlighted as crucial steps in maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

With the help of resources such as TikTok content creators and tools like ChatGPT, individuals can navigate toxic workspaces and prioritize their mental and physical health. 

What to do: Find an Employer/ Manager/ Team You Align With

In a time that burnout, mental health and being overworked is recognized more than ever researching your employer before you ever experience neglect is important. Doing extensive research on companies you apply to before signing an offer letter is paramount. Google the company’s internal culture, brand, values, mission statement and decide if they align with yours. If you find out your manager researching their background can also help you handle situations. Determining if  they value family, do they have a life outside of work and other factors can help you all empathise with each other.

What to do: Say No & Mean It

Easier said than done however, extremely necessary. Setting boundaries as early in your career will be the difference in your mental health. Regardless if it’s your first job or 30th anniversary at a company, learning to keep a balanced life is the difference between life and death.Even at jobs that are a part of your career with the best coworkers and a great company still should include the full sentence of “No.” Saying no is not always the easiest but following up with alternative ideas or support help you make the boundary and keep it. Also consider turning off work notifications after office hours, 

Tiktokers Laura, and DeAndre surround their content with tips on how to not only recognize your boundaries and non-negotiables within the workspace but how to respond. Another helpful tool to type an email when you can’t find the words is ChatGPT. 
What to do: Quit 

If you did your research, set your boundaries and your workplace is still shaming you for not overworking. If your position or promotion is being hung over your head when you mentioned not staying late. It is time to go. While not available for everyone, talk about negotiation to get your terms in writing. Regardless, remember to keep your resume sharp, LinkedIn updated and go to a recruiter coffee chat here and there. There is more work than ever including freelance sites and referral opportunities within your network. 

You got this! Be healthy and happy. If you ever need assistance please reach out to the crisis line.

Hali Smith 

About the author: Hali Smith
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