How toxic is your job?

There are several factors that influence job satisfaction. It isn’t just about the money you earn, or your job function. In fact in the overall scheme of things your work environment plays the biggest role in job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction comes from the organisational culture and the type of people you work with. It is based on whether it is a highly political environment where people like to play power games and be competitive, or whether it is a culture that values its staff and is concerned about their wellbeing. If you work in an environment that is hostile then there is a good chance that it is toxic.


Beware the toxic environment

Working in a toxic organisational environment is very bad for your health and wellbeing.

Dreading going into work every day clouds your perspective on life. It creates a negative mindset which can overflow into your personal life, making you feel deeply unhappy and unable to appreciate all the good that is in your life like your family and friends.

A toxic environment also exacerbates stress, and as we all know too much stress can lead to physical health problems from never-ending bouts of colds and flus, to migraines, physical pain and digestive problems.

So beware, if you work in a toxic work environment you may be putting your health at risk.


10 Signs that you work in a toxic environment

To find out if you are working in a toxic environment ask yourself:

  1. Is my boss a narcissist or dictator?
  2. Are my co-workers untrustworthy?
  3. Does the organisation favour criticism over positive feedback?
  4. Is there a lack of honesty and transparency, or a complete lack of communication?
  5. Has my self-confidence or self-esteem decreased since I’ve started working in your organisation?
  6. Does the organisation encourage competition between employees?
  7. Do employees like to play power games?
  8. Is there a lack of team morale?
  9. Is the management inconsiderate, demanding and unsupportive?
  10. Does the organisation engage in unethical or immoral behaviour?

If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, then you are probably working in a highly toxic work environment and already feeling the strain.


Is it time for a career change?

While I cannot tell you to jump ship if you are stuck in a toxic work environment, I will say that you have to make your health and wellbeing a top priority. No one can sustain long term stress, exhaustion and unhappiness without it severely impacting them physically and mentally.

Unfortunately you cannot change other people, and unless you are part of the top management team you have no influence over changing the organisational culture. So if you are already suffering with work-related health issues then it is a good idea to seriously consider changing jobs, or if the problem exists in just one department then transferring out of your office.

Even if you feel that you cannot leave just yet then start planning your escape. Spend time considering what you would like to do for a living and what would give you job satisfaction. Think about the type of work environment that you are keen to work in. Set yourself a deadline to start actively pursuing a new role and then stick to it.

Taking this approach lessens the impact your current toxic environment has on you. Instead of taking onboard the bad behaviour of your colleagues and boss, you see it as a temporary situation – one that you will be escaping soon.

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