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It’s Not You, It’s Your Job

June 21
19:23 2019

By: Dr. Abigail Joseph

It’s generally a routine for me to wake up at 6am and just lay in bed and stare at the ceiling until 6:30 – (yes, I am one of those people that have 2 alarms). In that moment I would contemplate and question myself on just how important my job was, if they really needed me, if they would notice me gone and most people’s favorite…should I call in sick? Yup – every day I contemplated. Other days, if I got out of bed without my routine I would drive to work, reverse park and sit in my truck and stare at the entrance of the hospital with loud music on. Don’t worry – it wasn’t loud enough for people outside to hear, but just loud enough to wake my inner spirit and get me pumped for a new day and the challenges it came with.

You may have some sort of routine in your life and that is good. It doesn’t mean you hate your job. it just means you take time to prepare mentally for work. All jobs have a particular level of stress, some more than others – but all jobs are stressful regardless of the type. Stress is found even on good days. But, if you find that just the thought of work makes you depressed, tired, anxious, nauseated or people have been commenting that your behavior is different or maybe that you seem off…then it is possible that you are working in a toxic environment and that it’s making you mentally or physically sick. Toxic workplaces can have an impact on health. Increased stress in a dysfunctional office can lead to burnout, fatigue and depression. So how can you tell if you are working in a toxic environment? Oftentimes there are obvious signs of toxicity, but there are also subtle signs that might alert you even before situations become unbearable and you start getting sick. A toxic workplace is interpreted as any job where the work, the atmosphere, the people or combining factors create negative disruptions in your personal life, your productivity and your health.

Peer pressure & Bullying

Have you ever been at work doing your own thing and a coworker comes up to you and expresses that you are working too hard, or being a kiss ass? Or tells you that you are making the rest look bad? Some employees don’t want to do more, they want to do less. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “that’s not my job” or “they don’t pay me enough for that.” These statements generally represent the ‘I only care about me’ mentality. This attribute quickly destroys overall performance and changes a team effort into a dysfunctional group of individuals.

Gossip culture

Society in general is made up of cliques. It’s how we survive. We find a group of likeminded people and we hang out. The same exists in the workplace. Cliques in the workplace tend to talk about other coworkers and most of the time – it’s not good. Not only do employees who create the culture of gossip wasting time, but every time they gossip, it allows others to have less respect for their coworkers. Anything that diminishes the dignity or respect of employees should not be tolerated in the workplace.

Negative Communication

Poor communication is a weak chain and can quickly be considered a negative aspect of the workforce. This can be seen on all levels – between coworkers, employee to supervisor, supervisor to management, between departments, with sales representatives, clients, patients and the list continues. Evident forms or examples of lack of communication would be finding out about decisions after they have been implemented, the use of indirect communications such as text messages or Facebook, withholding information or the use of misleading information. Poor communication can also be visible in core meetings. The meeting is held and when they ask about queries or complaints no one has any – this is because they feel as if management will do what they want anyways and so it is futile to voice opinions and get singled out. Feedback from your boss is often negative, you are critiqued and never complimented. This can make you feel overworked and underappreciated. Other times instead of receiving an email or text message you are left completely out of the loop.

Bad Attitude

Have you ever been to a place where everyone is on edge, on go slow or has a bad attitude? Ok, ok, I’m still here, quit thinking about the hospital. I’m offended. Think of another place like where you work! Do people seem easily angered, dismissive or miserable? If not, what about not so obvious signs such as no enthusiasm, no smiles, no PR? These can be hints of a hostile workplace. Hostile workplaces are not toxic but can become so quickly. These places generally have a high turnover, meaning employees are constantly changing. If you notice an organization constantly having new employees it can be an obvious sign of toxicity.

Narcissistic Boss

Your superior is always right. Rules and policies do not apply to them. They generally rule with an iron fist. What they says goes. They don’t listen and even if they pretend to listen, they still do it their way. Most of the time you feel as if they do not support you, that they block your moving up the chain, don’t want to see you succeed and take all the credit for your hard labor. They display blatant favoritism and respond to you by telling you that you should be grateful you have a job.

Your workday takes up a large portion of your time. We spend more time at work with coworkers than we do at home with family. Jobs are important because we are financially dependent on them and may have professional goals we’d like to achieve. Having a toxic job makes it difficult to move ahead in life and can also make it difficult to fulfill our purpose in life. Sometimes we have no choice but to stay at the job we are at. But if you notice that you are having difficulty sleeping, feeling restless, have frequent panic attacks, stress eating, anorexic, tachycardia, hair thinning or falling out, uncontrollable blood pressure or nausea at the thought of work…if you’re drinking more, having thoughts of suicide, low self-worth or maybe just feel frustrated and angry all the time, then it’s time to talk to someone. Your job is important, but never at the expense of your physical or mental well-being. Talking about it can help you to brainstorm how to cope with working in a toxic environment or help you decide to move on.

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