You may work around incredibly supportive and kind people. However, this is not the case for everyone in the workforce. It is not uncommon to work in unhealthy situations with malicious and upsetting people. If your job feels oppressive and hangs over your head, here are some tips on how to survive work in a toxic environment.
Engage in Positive Self-Talk
Many toxic work environments degrade and demean your spirit all day long. Whether you have an oppressive boss, frustrating client, or vindictive co-workers, all these people can get you down. To combat the overwhelming negativity, engage in positive self-talk. Affirm the things that you know are good and true about yourself. Though you should not be blind to areas of necessary performance improvements, learn to accept yourself where you are and focus on the positive. Remember that one poorly completed task does not diminish your worth as a human being or your competence as an employee. If you are as hard on yourself as those around you, it will quickly inhibit your ability to perform at your job.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
While you may not want to push anyone’s buttons at work, the reality is that saying no is an empowering and necessary part of life around other people. Establish healthy boundaries between you and your superiors or co-workers to give yourself the mental space for peace. People at work may not receive conversations that establish boundaries as well as you might hope, but rehearsing the conversation ahead of time will give you confidence and likely end with a better result. Building boundaries does not end with workplace relationships. Be sure to keep all the negativity and toxicity at work, and do not take it home with you. Whether you live alone or with family, you do not want that heavy and dark feeling to invade your safe space at home.
Take Action When Possible
There are many issues of interpersonal conflict that can find resolution with a direct conversation or slightly altered behavior. But there are times when the problems are too large or too deep-seated to change in an instant. That is why you must take action when possible. Do not grow accustomed to inappropriate behavior. If there are workplace laws your employer is violating or discriminatory practices that go unchallenged, you must be the one to speak up. You may not know how to navigate these waters, so contact a workplace attorney for specific guidance. The most critical step is the first one.
Knowing how to survive work in a toxic environment can drastically alter your job experience. Though you cannot change the miserly and invidious people around you, take the time to focus on yourself and change your perspective. Act when you can, and look for ways to make small improvements at work. Who knows? You may be the person to establish healthier patterns for everyone else around you!