Not many people wake up bright and early, ready and eager to go to work. But if you dread spending an entire day with your coworkers and your boss, chances are your workplace has become toxic. If any of the following statements sound familiar, you might need to start searching for another job.
Does your workplace take you back to the halls of middle school where if you weren’t part of the “in-crowd,” and you were treated like a nobody? Cliques can be even worse in an office environment because your career is at stake. Exclusion occurs for various reasons: seniority, ageism, sexism, or just plain pettiness.
If you’re the new kid on the block, you might have a difficult time integrating into established circles, especially if you’re shy or introverted. If you’re noticeably younger or older than your colleagues, they might even meet you with distrust or disrespect. Being unable to break through with your coworkers can place you in isolation.
When your workplace culture feels like a “boy’s club” or has a “good ol’ boy” mentality, being a minority —gender, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, etc. —may make you feel like you’ll never fit in or get ahead. Even if you’re not the one experiencing discrimination or harassment, if human resources allows the behavior to persist, it poisons everyone.
Nobody is perfect, and we’re all bound to make mistakes at work. But in a toxic workplace, either no one accepts accountability or everyone pins the blame on someone else.
A workplace should thrive on teamwork. If all of your coworkers, and especially your boss, are looking out only for themselves, find a place where people will have your back and vice versa.
Every good relationship is built on communication, including your work relationships. Does your manager or team lead give vague instructions? Or, maybe the opposite happens, and your supervisor gives you too much unnecessary information.
Does your boss treat you as an equal, or does she belittle or act condescendingly towards you? Maybe she talks about your colleagues or discloses confidential information about them to you.
When communication breaks down, so does productivity. And where gossip is involved, company morale and respect will deteriorate.
Putting in extra time once in a blue moon is expected, especially if you’re involved in a special project or are on a tight deadline. However, if working overtime becomes a habit and you’re not compensated in money or time, your employer is taking advantage of you. This includes contacting you after hours and on the weekends by phone, email, or instant messenger and expecting an immediate response.
You have a right to set and keep boundaries when you’re not in the office. Let your boss and colleagues know what they are if necessary. You deserve a work-life balance. If your employer can’t respect that, then find one who will.