surviving a toxic workplace

surviving a toxic workplace

Whether it’s because your boss doesn’t know how to manage their employees or you’re dealing with lazy coworkers who just don’t care about their job anymore, working under these type of conditions are never fun for anyone. 


Working in a negative environment can impact your personal life. It can damage your self-esteem, your health, and may even make you depressed as I’ve been through. While feeling slightly stressed out from your job might be considered normal, feeling uninspired or worse anxiety, overwhelm, depressed about your current work situation should only go so far. If you’re not sure – check out my older video on 5 signs you’re in a toxic workplace

Today, I wanted to start with the question of WHY THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU?

SCENARIO (1) It is not personal – it could be a tough time for the business, and frankly this is a tough time for everyone – leaders are thinking about the bottomline even as the pandemic continues to rage upon us, and may not be aware of how this is rubbing off on others – which then creates a ripple effect. 


SCENARIO (2) It is personal – People are feeling jealous or threatened by you. So especially for high performers, where there is no doubt that you are bringing true value to the organization, it becomes clear that there is ego at play here and someone else who may have possibly been the star before feels overshadowed by you. Take a step back and observe when you feel toxic behavior is being applied to you. Observe without judgment if this behavior has truth or not.  If it doesn’t and is of pure jealousy, remember 

—if someone is jealous of you it is because it has everything to do with them, and nothing to do with you.


SCENARIO (3)-  this is a concept that Linda Raynier, a career coach shared which I found interesting – You are drawing this to yourself – stick with me here. She explains that if you are already feeling low about yourself and your capabilities, your low energy is drawing toxic people to target you; because they know they can. It is the concept that your world and your reality is your mirror —> and remember this is not to blame you; but I found this to be interesting here because this also reminds me of the concept in Lean In which is “don’t leave before you really have to leave” – call it subconscious thoughts or energy you’re giving out – this can affect your actions more than you think, and your signaling maybe something to think about. 



I won’t be able to cover all strategies in this episode but there are 3 approaches I’ll share depending if:

  • You want to leave now
  • You want to survive for awhile, and then leave
  • Or you want to stay and address the situation 



(1) Tune out, set boundaries

Don’t let the negativity in the office distract you. In certain circumstances, you might need to add barriers to keep yourself focused. “Tune things out if allowed. Especially this time if you’re working from home, use this opportunity to take a break from work every now and then for a walk – I find giving myself space from the source of toxicity is helpful. Also, a tip here for you folks with significant others – Let it go when you check out – journal about it if you need to but spare your significant other from the negativity, protect the sanctuary of you home – you don’t need the negative energy to bleed on beyond what it has already


(2) Focus on positives, find people that you can connect with

Hanging out with positive people at work can really turn your negative office environment upside down. “Choose to associate with positive people who don’t exude toxic qualities. Learn from them, support them, and spend the majority of your socializing time with them,” 

This does not mean gossiping – and gossip includes saying any bad thing about anyone to another. Gossip will not improve the situation, and you’d be surprised how people can turn on you – take it from me. 


(3) Find inspiration elsewhere

All throughout my career I’ve had some extracurricular activity – whether that’s volunteering as a board member for a non-profit or actually starting a side business HA! This for me still is a coping mechanism for when I need a break from my ‘day job’ and I think that will help you through toxic times you have to survive through as well.