How to Thrive in a Toxic Workplace
There comes the point in everyone’s career where their workplace is their primary source of stress. I’m not referring to the work, or the responsibility of the job, but the actual workplace. Whether it’s a hostile culture, toxic boss or nightmare colleagues, the apparent solution is leaving. Sometimes we’re not in a position to jump ship, for whatever reason finding new work is not an option. Instead, you have to adapt and learn how to flourish amongst the toxicity and protect your peace while doing it, here’s how to tackle that…
1. Set boundaries and enforce them
Consider where you want to draw lines in your life. It could be times of day you refuse to work, locations you want peace of weekly activities that involve screen-less time. Consider what brings you piece and work-life balance, and hold it close. Setting boundaries can involve small changes that make a big impact, such as not checking emails or answering calls outside of work hours, turning your phone off on weekends, blocking work-related people from your socials and saying no to work events. Decide what’s important to you and make it happen.
When dealing with difficult colleagues or managers, enforcing boundaries can be difficult but vital. Stand your ground, ensure you’re strong in your approach and don’t feel like you owe anyone an explanation. Simply enforce and move on. There’s no need to forewarn your workplace you won’t be active outside of business hours or whatever boundary you align with, just make it happen and let them deal with it.
2. Ensure you’re validated elsewhere
My experience in a toxic workplace impacted my self-esteem the most. I felt unappreciated, bad at my job and unworthy of acknowledgement, leaking negativity into my self-confidence across different areas of my life. Protect yourself against this. Find self-assurance elsewhere, whether it’s in your personal life, healthy pockets of your work life or across a personal hobby. Ensure you have your ego rightfully inflated, feeling sold in your capability and strong enough to navigate the potential deflating toxic workplaces so often involve. If you can maintain workplace confidence through these steps, you’ll be a force to reckon with.
3. Find a comrade
Seek out a support network in your workplace that shares your experience. Find colleagues you trust and connect with that are able to listen to you vent about whatever situation you find yourself in and relate. To remember this isn’t about you discussing circumstances with others who find themselves in the same situation is invaluable. You’re able to rise above the toxicity and seek refuge in the idea that you are not the problem. It also brings you closer to your colleagues who you might even find yourself sharing real friendships with.
4. Focus on what you’re getting out of it
If you’re choosing to stay there’s a reason. Maybe it’s about the money, security or professional opportunity or something entirely different. Hone in on that and never lose sight. In your most frustrating moments come back to the reasons this job is serving you and try to find the light in that. And if you’re finding it harder and harder to see the benefits…it could be time to leave.