Most people dislike their jobs from time to time. Usually, these complaints are temporary and relatively minor. However, that’s not always the case. In extreme situations, you might find yourself in a toxic workplace, an environment that can threaten both your physical and mental health.
Luckily, toxic workplaces are relatively rare. In fact, one study found that only one out of every nine workers would describe their professional environment in that way.
However, this creates a good-news-bad-news situation. Even the comparably low percentage of truly terrible workplaces still leaves a large number of employees in extremely uncomfortable circumstances. Specifically, the data suggest that around 30 million U.S. workers operate in situations that they would describe as toxic.
If you’re stuck in one of these awful scenarios, it can be a grinding, stressful slog. But don’t let these circumstances get you down. Instead, use these tips to effectively deal with toxic work situations:
Tactics to Most Effectively Deal with Toxic Work Environments
Concentrate on the Work
Often, the toxic parts of a job have nothing to do with the job itself. Office politics or burdensome policies muddy what should otherwise represent a pleasant opportunity.
In these situations, your best bet is to step aside from distractions and drill down on your central tasks. Focus on the work and try to ignore all the inessential toxic elements.
Look for Bright Spots
Beyond ignoring the toxic parts of your job, look for true elements of joy in your daily routine. This can start with your core tasks. If you love your job, you can put up with a lot of peripheral nonsense.
However, don’t stop there. You can likely find other benefits to brighten your outlook. This could include a connection with your coworkers, the potential for developing your career, or a schedule that benefits other aspects of your life. Whatever the precise points of emphasis, these bright spots can help you get through the less appealing facets of your position.
Lean on Your Support System
Seek out emotional support from your loved ones. Talk to your friends and family about your work situation. These conversations will let you vent and make you feel better. At the same time, you might get additional advice about how to deal with the situation.
Develop Stress-Relieving Techniques
Find ways to alleviate the anxiety generated by a challenging work environment. This will help you minimize the near-term agitation that comes with these situations. At the same time, you can protect your overall mental health. Here are a few techniques to consider:
- Time with Friends and Family
Talk to Your Boss
Don’t just look to alter your mindset when dealing with a toxic environment. Also, consider ways to improve the situation. The easiest strategy here is to approach the person best positioned to make changes: your boss. Your supervisor might be able to adjust aspects of your position to make things less upsetting.
Of course, there are limits to this (after all, your boss might be the source of some of the toxicity). But a conversation with your manager will let you know what can be improved and what is beyond their power. This will give you a good sense of what you’ll need to deal with on an ongoing basis.
Plan Your Exit
Not all toxic work conditions are fixable. You can develop techniques to deal with these situations in the short term. However, your long-term success depends on finding a situation where you can thrive.
Try to discover a more nurturing environment. To do this, be prepared to look around. Don’t quit without a plan. But begin searching for a more encouraging and supportive employer.
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