A toxic work environment can be a tough thing to deal with, especially in these passive-aggressive times. Whether you’re apart of it, being dragged into it, or just someone forced to watch from the sidelines as workplace morale collapses like a Janga tower, it can be a little disheartening, to say the least. Not only is a toxic work environment disruptive to all those involved or even just spectating, but it can also cause large amounts of stress to you personally, which is proven to lead to adverse health effects. What’s more, this stress can tend to carry over to other parts of your life where you probably don’t want it. With the following several tips, however, I hope I can at the very least help give some whiff of guidance to those of you stuck in a toxic workplace, and how to manage it until either the storm blows over or you can manage to get yourself to a better place.
In a toxic work environment, trying to insert yourself as a peacekeeper is never a good idea, even if one of the people in the confrontation is a friend of yours – if they’re any kind of friend, they’d understand your wish to stay out of their drama. Otherwise, you may want to tighten up your definition of “friend.” Even peacekeeping with the best intentions can more often than not lead to escalation if the issue, or at least I’m terms of your involvement. Believe it or not, you really don’t need to take one side or another because there’s a third side that you should always go with: your own self-interest, a non-involvement policy if you will. Be aggressive about your desire to stay out of the toxicity.
Even in an extremely toxic work environment, you don’t have to be alone in your non-involvement. Find some allies who are willing to side with you in keeping out of the bullshit and not talking about and dwelling on it, thereby worsening the toxicity as well as its impact on you personally. Most importantly of all, however, this strategy is to keep you from getting brainwashed into thinking that you need to be on one side of a confrontational situation or the other. But I assure you that keeping your head down and staying out of it is always an option.
Tune It Out
If you’re allowed to at work, definitely bring those headphones in and head over to jam town. Sure sometimes music can be destructing, but certainly not more so than a toxic work environment. Plus more often than not music actually helps with focus and improved workflow. So fill your head with music instead of negativity, crank that day out until it’s done, come home and relax, and repeat!
Keep It At Work
Trust me, I was raised catholic so I know all about the release that one can get from getting things off one’s chest. However, when it comes to a toxic work environment, keep it at work and in the tabernacle or the therapist’s office or wherever you go to vent. Just keep that stress away from your spouse, kids, loved ones, or whatever. It’s going to bring that stress home and potentially even make things at work even worse from there. Oh and for god’s sake keep it off the internet too! It opens yourself up to having to deal with the toxic work environment outside of work itself, plus it can really only make things worse. The internet is not as faceless of an audience as one might think, and no one needs things escalating because of a rage post.
Especially if you’re very career-oriented, a toxic work environment can quickly corrupt your identity and become what defines you. DON’T LET IT! Maybe instead of spending your off-time watching TV and relaxing, use your off time for a hobby; meditation, art, crafts, reading, writing, or whatever else defines you. And if your job is what defines you, you might want to consider looking for another job, or otherwise something else to fulfill you. Just don’t let a toxic work environment define who you are! You have so much more to offer the world than complaints about your craptastic job!
Take Some Time
If things get too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to take a break. It doesn’t need to be a three-hour nap (though that would be awesome), but just take time for yourself when you find it hard to keep chugging along. Lay down in a quiet room to get your thoughts in order, take an extra-long poop so you can scroll through Facebook and Instagram for a while, whatever you need to do. It might seem a bit lazy but I assure you that whether your employer knows it yet or not, you’re no use to anyone as a pile of anxious shambles.
Make A Move
Sometimes a toxic work environment can come and go like a storm – you just have to wait for it to blow over and things will be back to being dandy like candy. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. Sometimes a toxic work environment can be caused by, for example, an asshole coworker who starts conflict every day for breakfast and is not going anywhere because of his ties to the company. Or perhaps it’s just the result of low motivation engrained into the permanent fabric of a workplace through managerial negligence to motivate its employees. Whatever the case may be, sometimes a toxic work environment isn’t going anywhere. In times like these, it may be time to either accept your fate or start making moves to improve your condition. If things remain stagnantly toxic, it might be time to think about finding a new job, transferring branches, focus on education or self-improvement, or whatever else will deliver you from the snake-pit you call a job and rediscover your identity which can all too often be taken from you when you spend too long in a toxic work environment. Your destiny is your own to move forward or to remain forever stagnant.