How to Recover From a Toxic Work Environment

A toxic work environment can sap your confidence to the point that even after you manage to escape, the consequences can carry over to your next job. Whether it’s an overly critical boss or a corporate culture that keeps you in constant fear of losing your job, recovering from a toxic work environment isn’t easy.

“The effects tend to be increased alertness and reactivity,” saysMelody Wilding, business coach and author of Trust Yourself: Stop Thinking Too Much and Start Channeling Your Emotions to Succeed at Work . This may show up as a fear of discussing ideas with your new boss; it is difficult to trust your new colleagues; fear of speaking at meetings; or feeling the need to overcompensate.

“He hasn’t gone anywhere,” Wilding said. “After that, it can be difficult to show your full self.” Unfortunately, transferring these habits to a new company can negatively affect your ability to do your best work. “In many cases, this can make it difficult to exert the kind of influence you were hired to,” Wilding said. Healing from a toxic work environment takes time, but there are a number of strategies that can help people forge a healthy relationship with a new job.

Try to find closure with your latest work

“First of all, try to deal with past experiences,” Wilding said. Given how stressful and soul-destroying toxic work can be, it can be too easy to relive what happened over and over again—thinking about actions you didn’t take or incidents you thought you didn’t handle well. . Thinking about the past like this makes you unable to move on and can end up hurting you in the long run.

One of the tips that Wilding often suggests is to write a letter – either saying goodbye to a previous job or a letter to yourself from the past. It can be as simple as telling yourself in the past that what happened at work was abnormal or normal and that things will get better after you run away.

“You most likely won’t get an apology from your boss or that colleague who really tormented you, but you can give yourself credit for how you handled the experience,” Wilding said. “You can also express compassion for what you’ve been through because you probably didn’t get it from other people.”

Be aware of potential triggers

When you are in a new job, it can take some time to realize that what was considered normal in your previous job is not the standard in your new one. Until then, there will be certain triggers that will remind you of an old job—whether it’s a one-on-one meeting with your boss, meetings with colleagues, or a presentation to senior management. UPS. Whatever was in your old job that made you nervous and miserable, you can be nervous and miserable in your new job.

To deal with this, Wilding suggests being especially mindful of these potential triggers and finding a way to carve out a little extra time to deal with them—whether it’s a ten-minute break to unwind before meeting your new boss. , spend extra time rehearsing a presentation, or find informal ways to get to know your new colleagues. “How can you plan this now to moderate any emotional reaction you may feel?” Wilding said.

Find a Way to Get Rid of Guilt

One common trait that Wilding sees in people who have left a toxic work environment is the tendency to blame themselves for not being able to survive the situation. “I so often see people who are in toxic situations at work, beating themselves up, blaming themselves for not being strong enough,” Wilding said. This often includes things like “Why can’t I hack this here?” The big risk with this type of thinking is that “it can keep you in an unhealthy situation for longer than it needs to,” Wilding said.

Whatever the particular situation, the only important thing is that it was unhealthy for you. This is true even if your colleagues have been able to find a way to deal with toxicity, or if others have a different idea of ​​what a toxic environment might look like. “The most self-respecting decision you make is to leave and find a place where you will be appreciated, instead of forcing yourself to endure it and prove yourself there,” Wilding said.

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