Signs Your Work Environment Is Toxic & Affecting You Negatively
Working in a toxic environment is no one’s ideal situation. While it’s normal to have a stressful day every now and then at the office, there are key signs that you may have a toxic work environment. But what exactly do some of these signs entail?
“A toxic work environment is any that makes you feel uncomfortable, unappreciated, or undervalued. This can range from all out bullying, screaming and talked down to, to more subtle forms of poor communication, setting people up for failure, mismanagement and an air of hostility. It can come from your boss, your peers, your juniors and even your clients. No one should ever have to work in an environment that causes your stomach to go in quivers but the unfortunate reality is it’s more normal than we’d prefer.
But what if these signs sound familiar, but no one at your company has quit? Is it just you? Are you overreacting? Probably not. “Don’t rely on turnover — just because a lot of people aren’t leaving the company, doesn’t mean the environment isn’t toxic. People may be immune to the bad environment and convince themselves it’s worse to leave. It’s unfortunate when fear supersedes a bright future, but it happens.
If anything, it’s important to listen to your gut. You and only you know what’s best for your future. While not every job is perfect, you want to work in an environment that will not make you feel devalued or worthless. Before you put in your two weeks’ notice, here are 19 signs you might be working in a toxic work environment.
1. Your Boss Has Poor Leadership Skills
Sometimes toxic work environments are derived from how the boss treats their employees. Supervisors can take advantage of their power, and make their staff feel inferior by bullying them. “When you’re working with a boss who’s a bully and/or tyrant and there’s lack of intelligent leadership, that’s certainly toxic,” says Salemi.
2. Your Colleagues Are Unprofessional
If your fellow employees don’t take their job seriously or they love to spread rumors, it might be time to talk to HR or hit the road. It can be hard for you to work in an environment properly if you don’t feel supported by your team. “Colleagues who throw you under the bus, take credit for your work and constantly gossip also constitute a toxic work environment,” says Salemi.
3. Your Work-Life Balance Is Out Of Whack
While it’s nearly impossible to have the perfect work-life balance, it’s vital to have a healthy relationship with your career. “Even if the elements of your toxic workplace aren’t quite that obvious, you may notice your morale plummeting, a lack of work-life balances (what life?) And an inability to learn and grow, as well as constant stress and deteriorating mental and physical health,” says Salemi.
4. You’re not excited About Going to Work Anymore
OK, let’s be real: there are just some days when you don’t feel up to working. And while those days are completely normal to have every once in a while, it’s a huge sign that you might be working in a bad work environment if you’re feeling this dread all the time. “Toxic work environments can also develop over time. Perhaps you used to have a healthy work environment, but then got a new boss and all of the sudden, you’re noticing that you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, are constantly defending your work and simply no longer enjoy your job,” says Salemi.
5. You Started To Become More Aware Of the Red Flags
When you first start a job, it might be hard to see the red flags because you’re so excited. But as time goes on, you may begin to realize that once you take off your rose-colored glasses, things aren’t what they seem. “There are different levels, but if you find yourself questioning things and complaining, that’s a sure sign you’ve entered the land of toxicity. Keep in mind that these environments only tend to get worse. You may convince yourself that it’s not that bad, but then the more you notice red flags, the more they don’t seem to improve,” says Salemi.
6. Your Boss Doesn’t Support You
Your Boss doesn’t have to be your BFF, but a good leader supports your dreams and ideas rather than just using you for their own purposes. “Your boss can definitely make your environment worse by not supporting you — this isn’t uncommon, unfortunately. According to a recent Monster poll, 32 percent of participants described their boss as horrible, and only 15 percent said their boss is excellent,” says Salemi.
7. Your Boss Is Preventing You from Growing
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine you could live in a world where your boss doesn’t want you to grow, and instead, controls your career path by preventing you from getting a promotion. Most of us, ideally would like to work with someone who sees our potential and wants us to grow. “Your boss may start getting jealous of your performance and start blocking opportunities for you to advance to the next level. Your boss may start taking credit for your work, undermining you, and giving you ‘busy’ work even though you’re capable of so much more. There are a variety of bad bosses that can contribute to a toxic work environment — a bully, someone who plays favorites, someone who’s unethical, a micromanager — the list goes on.” says Salemi.
8. You’re not as happy as you used To Be
Whether you like it or not, there will always be those days when your work causes you stress. However, that doesn’t mean that it should steal your happiness entirely. Your job should be fueling you because you’re doing work that you’re proud of, not sucking your energy and preventing you from enjoying life. “You’re depressed or you lack energy — or both. Do you want to do activities outside of work and spend time with people, or even just have time to sleep and be alone? Or, do you go out anyway but feel like a total zombie, not really present and certainly not enjoying life?” says Salemi.
9. Your Gut Is Telling You to Leave
“That gut feeling is there for a reason, so trust your instincts – if you sense you work in a toxic environment, chances are you do,” says Salemi. You might be second-guessing your gut for a numerous of reasons, but if you find the same thoughts happening over and over again, it might be time to examine why that’s happening.
10. You’re constantly Getting Sick
Sometimes people get sick not because the flu is going around, but simply because they are feeling stressed. “Are you getting sick? I worked in a toxic environment a few years ago and had numerous doctors’ visits for ailments I had never previously encountered. Plus, I was severely sleep deprived (falling asleep on the bus on a Saturday is a sure sign you are overworked!),” says Salemi.