I’ve always found it really interesting how some people get stuck in a job they hate. It’s curious that even though you have a choice to stay or go, you stay much longer than you should.

The same could be said for bad relationships or friendships! The logical part of our brain tells us ‘we should finish this’ but our emotions and the fear of upsetting others means we sometimes invest time in relationships that do not bring out the best in us.

In today’s article, I won’t be telling you how to end a relationship (even though there may be a pattern of behaviour if you’re stuck in a job AND friendship you hate), but I will be shedding some light on how you can assess whether ’It’s me, not you” or if you are in fact working in a toxic workplace.  Here are my 5 suggestions to help you take action!

1. Assess if Your Workplace is Toxic

A great starting point to developing the confidence to exit a toxic job and workplace is to try to remove the emotion from the situation and assess the facts.

Is my workplace toxic?  In this Psychology Today article, Ronald E Reggio Ph.D, explores the 5 warning signs of a toxic work environment. I share this with you because I often observe clients who’ve chosen to stay in a job they’re not enjoying because they think ‘maybe it’s them’. They know they are unhappy, but they keep trying to step up to the challenge of the daily grind with the hope that things will change. Here’s the 5 warning signs observed by Ronald in his article.

  1. You Have to Keep Your Head Down
  2. The Bullies Run the Show
  3. It Takes an Act of God to Get Anything Done
  4. No Matter What You Do, You Can’t Get Ahead
  5. It’s All Sweat, and No Heart

If any of these warning signs sound familiar, you are right to draw the conclusion that you’re in a toxic job and workplace. and you have permission to reassess if this workplace is for you.

2. Adjust Your Mindset

Your mindset plays a significant role in your ability to navigate new situations. This is what’s kept you from taking action in the past so you need to develop some strategies to help adjust how you’re viewing the idea of leaving your job by considering the possibilities you could be missing by staying.

The world of work is changing. It’s a really exciting time to be employed. Many workplace cultures are not toxic. Many organisations work hard to be an employer of choice where they nurture the individual, invest in your professional development and embrace your good ideas.

Imagine working in an organisation where your contribution is valued, where your skills are utilised and your opinion matters! By NOT leaving you are limiting your ability to professionally and personally grow.

I believe you owe it to yourself to follow the next steps I recommend to escape your toxic workplace.

3. Review & Update Your Job Search Tools

The days of emailing your resume to a few friends in high places to help ‘get the word out’ that you are on the job market, have gone. Make it easier to get found online by potential employers and recruiters by reviewing and updating your LinkedIn Profile.  You may not be aware that LinkedIn now offers the option to notify recruiters you are open to being contacted.  This is available with free LinkedIn membership and is part of your private dashboard. In the Career Interests feature you can inform recruiters of your career preferences, including the locations you would like to work, roles and industry types and whether you are seeking part time, full time, contract, project or remote work.

Your resume is still an important job search tool and is essential for specific job applications or opportunities that come up via your network. To better understand the differences between your LinkedIn Profile and Resume, and how to use these job search tools more effectively, please read this article The Differences Between Your LinkedIn Profile & Resume.

4. Seek the Advice of A Mentor

Your goal is to do research so that you can seek opportunities in workplaces where you will thrive, not just survive!  We don’t want you leaving a toxic workplace to find yourself in another one.

The best way to assess the potential opportunities available in and beyond your industry is to speak to professionals who work in that industry. I encourage you to make a list of family, friends, past and current colleagues who work in sectors or organisations you would like to work in.

Schedule regular time each week to reach out to these potential mentors and seek their advice about the current trends in their industry or organisation. This is an opportunity to evaluate potential target organisations that have a better organisational culture and a better fit to your personal values.

Investing in these conversations and seeking this advice is also an invaluable part of the job search process and will help you access the hidden job market. While your goal is to ask their opinion (not ask for a job!), these conversations can also often lead to potential job opportunities.

5. Engage the Services of a Career Coach

Yes, Career Coaching is what I do, so it’s an obvious one to mention! The reality is that too many people ‘go it alone’ when they first decide to leave a job they hate and give up after their first knock back.

Job hunting is more complex than it’s been in the past due to the requirement to have an online profile, to actively network to access the hidden job market, to submit applications via online portals and to participate in what can sometimes be very drawn out interviewing processes.  And that’s assuming you’ve successfully navigated responding to the key selection criteria in the job application with a relevant cover letter and resume!

A Career Coach can review your skills and experience and provide valuable and objective advice on your transferrable skills and the types of roles and organisations that may be suitable for you to explore further.

We can also review your job search tools and guide you through how to improve them, both generally and for each new role you choose to apply for. We teach you how to confidently talk about your skills and experience and how to have networking conversations (online and in real life). Developing these skills ensures you are maximising your chances to open many of the hidden doors that can make the job search process easier, helping you secure better opportunities by leveraging your networks. Often it’s not just what you know, but also who you know and this can certainly help create more potential job opportunities.

We can also play an active role in preparing you for job applications and job interviews.

I’m confident that if you follow the suggestions in today’s article you’ll be in a much stronger position to escape your toxic job and workplace.

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