How to bide your time at a company once you’ve realized you need to leave.
You’ve been with a company long enough to know that the same issues keep popping up and those same issues just get swept back under the lavish rug in the lobby. You’ve seen the revolving door spin enough times that you‘re starting to feel motion sickness and the patronizing compliments from your boss just don’t have the same flattery they once had. The writing is on the wall, clear and bold…. IT’S TIME TO GO.
Once you’ve uncovered the workings of a toxic work environment, it’s hard to remain calm, cool and collected. Biding your time until you have a new job lined up is challenging… it may even feel like torture depending on the toxicity of your situation.
Stay positive: Focus on the fact that you are in the search of finding a new job and will soon be out. Try not to walk around with a rain cloud over your head and become a victim to your situation. In every moment there is some positivity to be found. Dig deep if it isn’t apparent. By staying positive it will ensure the toxicity of the workplace you are in will not pervade into your personal life or your mental health. Even if you have to fake it, just do it. Smile like the Joker if you have to, but stay positive. Use this opportunity to be less critical and practice finding positivity in some of the murkiest moments.
You are in control of your space: You may not be able to change the culture of the company that you are in but you can change the culture within your own space: desk, cube, office or emails. Take the opportunity to show your colleagues what a safe place looks like: where failures are rewarded as learning opportunities and grace is fully abundant. Remember how it feels to be out in the toxicity minefield and ensure it does not permeate into your space.
Stay consistent with your boundaries: People who are constantly disrespecting your boundaries are people who are usually the ones taking advantage of you. If it is going to cause resentment in your life continue to say no or set healthy expectations with them.
Fact check the situation: Toxic environments most definitely become psychological warfare. There are moments when you start to believe the things your boss is criticizing you about; maybe you’re being gaslighted. Take it with a grain of salt. Chances are your boss has unclear and unreasonable expectations, false sense of entitlement and they’re probably just a bully. Stay resilient to their games and stand your sacred ground.
Don’t waste your energy on negative criticism: It is important not to be a doormat but it is also important to not waste energy defending yourself to a person who is irrational, delusional or unrelenting; this is a no win situation. No matter what you say, they won’t listen and nothing
will change. Sometimes they just want to argue or get a rise out of you. This may sound backwards, but one of the best things to do is to be agreeable with them and take all their fun away. If you just agree and walk away you no longer have to put energy in that situation. You have left it at the door. Whatever you do, do not internalize it. The objective was to not waste energy and if you internalize the negative feedback you give it a life. Don’t let negativity rent space for free in your head. Remember your boss is probably the crazy one and it may be easier to let them think they are right rather than arguing with them. It makes getting out of there a lot less turbulent.
Stay as motivated as you can: Chances are your boss is the main person you have an issue with and the casualties will be leaving the co-worker you have made friends with. Do your best to keep working diligently and respectfully until you leave. You don’t want your friends to be stuck cleaning up your work that you neglected through your moments of disengagement. It may be hard to continue to stay motivated, but help out the person that will be assigned your work once you make an exit.
Look, I get it, being the bigger person is hard and biding your time at a place that sucks the life out of you is even harder. These tips are meant to bridge you through the short period of time it takes until you land a new job, but if your toxic workplace is causing you to be ill or mentally unstable, the best thing you can do is leave ASAP. If you're in an unhealthy state, you risk jumping into another unhealthy situation. Have faith the universe will provide the next right thing.
Written by Brooke L. H. (from Episode 3) 2021