Karen Darrin

I would bet most of you have experienced a toxic workplace.  It could have been caused by one venomous  leader or a whole organization. The “dis-ease” could be from a mismatch in your values and the organization’s values and practices. There are many reasons. But you choose to stay just a little bit longer. You might need to stay in your job because it provides health benefits, or maybe you’re only staying while you look for another position. Whatever your reasons for being unhappy, you need to maintain your professionalism and prevent a bad attitude from sabotaging you.

Here are a few tips to consider as you wait to execute your exit strategy:

Be clear as to why you are staying in this situation. You always have a choice. Kick the victim mentality to the curb.  There is nothing worse for you or your co-workers than carrying around a set of metaphorical chains around your legs when you can choose to leave anytime. Don’t become part of the lethal culture. Be the bigger person.

Create a support team. Building a support group outside of the office is always a good thing, but it’s especially important when you find yourself in poisonous waters. When tensions at work are high, you may not want to or be able to vent to your colleagues. Plus, there are some things you just shouldn’t discuss with them, as constantly airing your frustrations could easily be misinterpreted if overheard by the wrong person.  Find a few trusted friends or family members who will let you vent; but, keep the venting to a set time limit — say 10 minutes, so that poison doesn’t seep into your off hours.

Work daily on your “after this” life. If you are looking for new job, keep updating your resume, clarifying your examples around your key skills for interviewing,  and learning more about how to use social media and your network to help you in locating your next work chapter.  Focusing on your future for a small part of your day will keep your spirits up and help you feel more in control of your life.

Be curious about your triggers. Why does this person or that situation push your buttons?  Be a scientist and try to observe your reactions.  Why did it bother you so much?  Noticing and naming, as succinctly as you can, what infuriates you is key self-awareness that you builds your “emotional intelligence.”

Try a new reaction when triggered. Next time you become triggered, be ready with an alternative response or reaction. It could be just walking away or a simple statement such as, “That’s an interesting point.” Become “response-abled,” by consciously choosing how you want to behave. Remember, you always have choices.

Find an outlet outside of work. Find a way to work through your pent up frustrations in a healthy way.  Make whatever you choose a regular part of your day. A long walk with your dog, boxing class after work, cooking and eating a healthy meal are examples. Find something that you will enjoy that engages a different part of your brain.

Find (or Accentuate) the positive. Make a list of the good points about your job. You may be thankful to have healthcare and other benefits. You may like your coworkers, or the fact that you have a short commute. Listing what you do like about your job will help shift your perception and keep you from feeling so trapped. If you don’t take responsibility, it will hurt your performance, erode your satisfaction further, and make your time at the job worse.

CALL TO ACTION:  Need help in how to manage through a toxic workplace? Let’s outline strategies together. Schedule a Free 30-min Consult or email me at karen@karendarrin.com.

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