At some point in your career you are going to deal with combative co-workers or manipulative supervisors. These two types of people are your usual suspects in a toxic environment – an environment filled with office drama, power struggles, distrust, and alot of hallway gossip. Surviving in a toxic work environment, at least until you find your exist strategy, will require alot of discipline and patience. The advice and recommendations in this blog are based on the realities of overcoming a horrible work environment.
1. Don’t Eat Lunch With Co-workers
Eating lunch with your co-workers is a good idea, only if you are employed in a healthy work environment. However, you should avoid eating lunch with co-workers if you are stuck in toxic work place. Lunch should be an enjoyable time to decompress, talk about sports, family, or share ideas on work projects. What ends up happening during lunch time in a toxic environment is essentially a cafeteria full of gossip. You are more likely to participate in gossip and back-stabbing if you decide to start eating lunch with co-workers in a toxic environment. You don’t want to adopt this type of behavior because it can have detrimental effects on your reputation, create unnecessary office enemies, as well as impact your ability to secure a good professional reference.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Distrust and unhealthy power struggles are always at play in toxic work environments. Often times the end result is an office filled with bruised egos out for revenge. You can protect yourself from such destructive behavior by not taking anything at work personally. Some people will intentionally provoke you inorder to justify a reason for your demotion, termination, our even worst just for fun. Keep a calm attitude during tense discussions. Your ability to keep calm will allow you to stay focused on your work rather than office politics.
3. Don’t Join The Clique
There are cliques within every organization. Healthy work environments have cliques because co-workers share similar hobbies, interests, or social causes. In a healthy work environment these groups bring camaraderie, boost moral, and so many more added values. However, when put in a toxic environment you’ll quickly realize that these cliques are nothing more than groups of employees clinging onto the coat tail of the most powerful people within that group. There is no job protection by joining the clique. You cannot hide behind the false protection of the clique. At some point members within the clique have to answer to their superiors and the outcome always ends with somebody in the clique having to fall on their sword, back-stabbing, and other sneaky behavior for the sake of self-preservation. Joining a clique in a toxic environment is a horrible idea because it now ties you to the office drama.