If you’ve caught yourself thinking “I hate my job,” it’s time to look deeper with help of an objective and intuitive professional. Are you dissatisfied with your role and responsibilities, your compensation, or your prospects for advancement? Or are you dealing with toxic co-workers, a bad boss, or patterns of favoritism, bullying, or pressure to conform? In the latter cases, you may be facing a toxic work environment. Our psychics have helped hundreds of clients navigate these issues and can help you identify the hidden motivations and dynamics at work so that you can make positive and empowering choices.
What is a Toxic Work Environment
Signs of Work Related Stress
Signs of a Toxic Workplace
How to Survive a Toxic Workplace
When to Leave a Toxic Workplace
What is a Toxic Work Environment?
Let’s start with some definitions. A toxic work environment goes deeper than just a job you hate. It’s a constellation of interpersonal dysfunction and drama played out in a workplace setting, that while just short of being illegal, may cause you to become stressed, sick, anxious, or disempowered -- despite enjoying the actual work itself. Often there are multiple signs of a toxic workplace, ranging from mild gossip to outright bullying.
Signs of Work Related Stress
Work stress resulting from toxic employees, coworkers, and bosses is common. Can you relate to any of these signs of work stress?
You dread getting up in the morning. Your alarm goes off and you immediately go to that unpleasant place. This is a tell-tale sign that your work may be affecting other areas of your life. Let’s be honest, jumping up for joy each day is unrealistic! But if you awake unhappy on most days, there’s something wrong.
You’ve stopped interacting with your coworkers. The time you spend at work ultimately revolves around the people you work with, so interacting with them is natural. If you’ve noticed yourself becoming distant from them, removing yourself from social interactions, there may be a deeper issue.
You’re unable to turn work worries off. Our minds are powerful and can affect our mood, behavior, and physical body. If you can’t seem to stop worrying about problems of the workplace, can’t get to sleep due to worried obsession, or talk about anything else with as much focus and passion as what’s wrong with your workplace, it may be time to examine what’s really going on.
The thought of interacting with your boss make you feel anxious, defensive, or avoidant. According to many sources, a poor relationship with one’s boss is the main reason people leave their jobs. If you aren’t in a position to leave, you may find your self-confidence eroding under the influence of a bad boss.
Signs of a Toxic Workplace
Office politics are the manifestation of power dynamics between individuals and groups. A highly politicized work environment can be toxic when navigating relationships takes precedence over getting work done. Work alliances form wherein the same favored people get the praise and perks. Brown-nosing the boss gets power and promotion. Individuals and departments are pitted against each other with an expectation that people will take sides. There is a system to be worked, and unspoken rules dictate how work gets done or else it’s blocked.
Here are some suggestions on what to do if your work environment is highly politicized.
Seek an Outside Perspective. Discussing aspects of office politics with someone outside your organization may help you gain even more perspective. Friends who have more experience navigating their way through tough situations with co-workers may have some advice.
Find your Allies. They are there, often hidden in plain sight, and can validate your experience. Just take care not to let a bond over what’s wrong with the organization amplify a sense of negativity.
Build Your Relationships. It’s always best to avoid explicitly taking sides because just one person quitting or getting fired may tip the balance away from your alliances. Instead, work on building strong relationships with people on all sides of the political fence. If your department doesn’t usually work well with another, take it upon yourself to become the liaison between the two factions. The goal is to earn respect from everyone by positioning yourself as a bridge builder.
Create Your Own Organizational Chart. After you’ve had the chance to observe the power structure within your department or company based on office politics, think about people and their positions in terms of that hierarchy. Using this strategy gives you better insight into how people are connected, which may or may not have much to do with actual job titles. Creating your own mental organizational chart using office politics may reveal to you the best people to approach when you need something done quickly.
Jealousy in the Workplace
Instead of working together and being openly supportive of individual talents, people often mistakenly turn to a counterproductive tug of war to get ahead of those they admire. Workplace jealousy reveals professional insecurity and feelings of ineptitude on your coworker's, or even your boss’s part. Sometimes you can alleviate that fear with positive reinforcement of their talents, but more often than not this person's toxic thinking lies beyond your control. It can often have more to do with their self-image than your treatment of them.
One tell-tale sign that your coworker or boss is threatened by you is when disagreements happen in the workplace, they feel more like competition or power struggles. Often this is because your talents have been noticed and jealousy abounds. This means you excelled enough at what you do that others felt threatened by your success. If you have encountered resistance from insecure coworkers, then it may be a result of you having been especially good at what you do, not the opposite. Do not let condescending remarks hurt your pride or self-image.
A sure sign of a toxic work environment is one that enables dysfunctional coworkers to engage in sabotaging behaviors without reprimand. Signs of a sabotaging coworker can include backstabbing or blackmailing a colleague, intentionally spreading rumors about others or withholding information that could help them or forming malicious alliances for the purpose of bringing someone down. If you’re facing a colleague who’s out to get you, here are some things you can do:
Take Lots of Notes. Once you're sure that there's a sabotage occurring, you need to document everything that happens, including but not limited to:
Erasing or misplacing files
Taking important documents
Questioning your competence
If there are witnesses, note their names too. If anyone reveals a rumor, write it down verbatim, if possible, and where you heard it. Jot down all dates and times as well.
It's also a good idea to take notes on your own tasks. If your colleague starts saying that you haven't completed your tasks or did something wrong, you need proof that he or she is lying. Note when you turn something in, back up all your files, and be as detailed as you can.
Excel at Your Position. The best way to cope with a coworker who is trying to sabotage you or strip you of confidence is to do well at your job. You're a superstar, so act like it. If you excel at every task you're given, it won't matter what your colleague says. He or she could take a load of lies straight to your boss, but your performance and successes will speak for themselves.
Plan a Cordial Confrontation. It's essential to let your coworker know that you know the score. You should not by any means engage in warfare in the middle of the office; you need to keep your cool. Approach your colleague calmly and cordially, let him or her know that you're aware of what he or she has said, that it needs to stop, and that you want to keep up a good working relationship. That puts the burden on your colleague's shoulders. It flips the switch and puts the bad behavior in the spotlight.
Make Management Aware of the Problem. If the behavior continues or escalates, it's time to go talk to your boss. You should make an appointment with Human Resources as well. Take along those detailed notes. Because talking to your boss can also be nerve-wracking, especially over such a serious matter, work with your phone psychic to come up with an approach that will keep you secure but firm and resolute.