You have probably worked in a toxic work environment in which you felt that you were trapped. However, you did not realize it because you knew that all jobs had their ups and downs. You assumed that it was a normal setting which you had to endure and continue to work in.
What is a toxic work environment?
A toxic work environment is a job/career path you want to avoid at all costs. It can detrimentally impact your physical and psychological health. It is a setting where you cannot prosper nor thrive because you are limited to your surroundings. Your boss, instead of making the work environment succeed, is contributing to its toxicity.
Signs to watch out for.
- Your boss/manager expects you to be a minion rather than a smart and capable individual.
I had a terrible experience with this one. I worked at a place where the manager told me, “I like you because when I tell you to do something you do it without hesitation.”
Although this may sound like a compliment, this is something that you do not want to hear because it means that your boss is fine with you not caring about the company.
Think about it. If you had your own company, would you hire someone that thinks just like you or someone that brings something new to the table?
A great work environment is a collective work environment where the team members share their individual ideas and brainstorm together.
- You are trained not to care.
Adding to my previous point. I did not want to not care about the company, I was simply trained not to.
My job was to sell cell phones and accessories to customers. I was trained and expected to lie to the customers by telling them that they qualify for a promotion to get 50% off any cellphone.
This was, however, not true. I quit because I did not want my paycheck to depend on lies, and I did not want to rip people off when they clearly couldn’t afford to get a new phone.
- You feel insecure about your stability.
If you are walking into a job where you feel that you could get fired any second if you do not comply with their rules, why are you still going?
From my experience with the phone-selling job, I used to be told, “if you do not sell five phones per day, you will be let go.” This is not the type of mental manipulation you want to experience every day, especially when your bills and groceries depend on that paycheck.
You should consider your options and ask yourself if that harm is actually worth it. Do you have a family to feed? Have you been working on improving your resume?
- They call/text you on your days off and after you get home.
This point is highly significant and undervalued. How many times have you been emailed, texted, or called on your days off and after you get home from work?
This behavior is unacceptable since it damages your work-life balance. If you have a 9-5 job, you should only be contacted from 9-5.
When I could not sell the minimum of five phones, my manager used to call and text me asking me why I didn’t sell them. The logical response would have been, “I could not force people into buying phones that they simply did not need.”
It got to the point where I ignored the phone calls and text messages.
Additionally, the manager would get angry when she would ask me to come in because someone had called out and I couldn’t.
- Your schedule is crazy.
What do I mean by “crazy”? Well, When I was working at that place, I did not know if I had to work the following day until the night before.
Also, I did not know which of the three store locations I had to work in.
I was sent a text after my work hours to remind me that I did not sell five phones, and also to tell me if and where I worked the following day.
This means that I could not make plans with my family nor my boyfriend at that time, who is now my husband because I didn’t know when I was off.
If your current job is similar to this, then you are probably working in a toxic work environment.
- Odd interview.
When I read the “we are hiring” sign on the window, I immediately walked in to inquire about the job position. I was an eager college student with books to purchase.
The manager asked me to bring my resume within one hour. Since I lived 1-minute away, this was not a problem.
Without looking at my resume, the manager took me to the office and told me, “I will call you to start your training.” Instead of asking me the traditional questions such as, “why do you want to work for this company?” The Manager told me to sell five phones and that she would call me for my interview.
If you apply for a job and your interview process is odd and unprofessional, it is a good sign that that company has a strange work ethic and it is a toxic work environment.
- Profanity from your boss.
This should be a no-brainer. It is normal for any boss to be comfortable around the people they work with and say the occasional “f” word that we all know.
However, continuous conversations that revolve around all different kinds of profanity is not a setting you want to work in. Especially if you’re seeking for professional and personal development in a company.
Yes, I also had this experience in the phone-selling job I’ve been discussing in this post. No, I was not comfortable with the manager. I expected a professional setting, especially since she expected the same from me.
- Paycheck Issues.
For a reason that they didn’t explain, I couldn’t get my paycheck the first week as promised, nor the second. I got paid on the third week, all cash, and missed a few dollars.
They did not have a proper system to record the employees’ working hours and commissions.
Those are the signs you should look out for when you are applying for a job and if you’re working already, you should consider your options. Especially when you have a family to maintain.
For your health and financial stability, avoid working in a toxic environment at all costs.
If you want to learn more about the red flags, and I hope you do, don’t hesitate to grab a copy of my book Empowered Affluence. It will teach you everything you need to know about a healthy work environment, salary negotiations, and being given what you are worth.