Career Advice

5 Signs Your Workplace Is Toxic

Tired and sleepy woman working in front of laptop till late in office

Some employees are fortunate enough to work in a positive environment, and for companies whose cultures promote collaboration. But if you’re in the opposite scenario — you basically hate your job and dread coming to work — then the problem isn’t necessarily you. Rather, it could be that you’ve landed in a toxic workplace where pretty much everyone is guaranteed to be miserable. Here’s how to know if that’s happened.

1. Your Boss Badmouths Other Managers Openly

It’s not unheard of for employees to grumble about their bosses. But if your boss has no problem criticising other managers, or speaking poorly of them in front of you, then it’s a sign that the people you work for don’t believe in showing one another respect.

2. Your Peers Regularly Try to Sabotage One Another

It’s one thing for your coworkers to not go out of their way to be particularly supportive, but it’s another thing for them to stoop to the level of sabotaging one another in an effort to get ahead. If most of your colleagues fall into that category, it’s a sign that you ought to run the other way.

3. You’re Afraid to Have an Opinion

When you’re fairly new to a job, it’s natural to stay quiet and avoid rocking the boat too much. But if you’ve been at your company for quite some time and are still nervous to speak up when something you see doesn’t sit right, or you feel that internal processes aren’t efficient, then it’s a sure sign that you’re stuck in a ridiculously oppressive environment.

4. When You Do Have an Opinion, It Isn’t Valued

Maybe your manager isn’t particularly open to ideas or suggestions. But if you’re brave enough to offer them anyway, and they’re consistently ignored, then it means you’re just not valued the way you should be. A good company is one that’s open to employee input, no matter what level you’re at professionally, so if the opposite is happening, it’s time to make a run for it.

5. A Poor Work-Life Balance Is the Norm

Many workers have weeks when they can’t seem to leave the office on time, and periods of pressure on the job aren’t uncommon. But if you find yourself burning the midnight oil almost every day, and you’re given a hard time on the days when you do attempt to sneak out on time, then it’s a sign that your company just doesn’t care about its employees or the fact that they have lives outside the office. This especially holds true if the overwhelming majority of your colleagues have a pretty lousy work-life balance.

If you’re stuck in a toxic workplace, your best bet is to dust off your CV and find a way to make an escape. Sure, you could try waiting it out and seeing if things improve, but if most managers at your company are unapproachable and dismissive, and the bulk of your colleagues are unhelpful and miserable, then you’re better off busting out of that toxic workplace and finding a job that won’t make you loathe the idea of coming into the office.

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This article was originally published on The Motley Fool. It is reprinted with permission.

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