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8 Signs You’re in a Toxic Work Environment

It’s common to have a disappointing workday or even week. But just a bump in the road is different from being a part of a toxic work environment when your day-to-day not only possibly stunts your career but also your personal life.

Now that mental health is more of a topic of conversation in the workplace, the discourse around the “toxic workplace,” is more prominent among employees. Due to the Great Resignation, companies are rolling out shorter work weeks, letting their employees work from home, and creating more flexibility for them overall. While all of this is shifting within the work world, toxic workplaces unfortunately still exist. And according to Forbes, these environments are the #1 reason for people to resign.

If your gut is telling you something is off about your company’s atmosphere, odds are it’s right. Here are eight signs you’re in a toxic work environment.

1. There’s poor communication

Have you sent an email or instant message and not gotten a response? Have you tried nudging your boss multiple times without a clear answer? A lack of communication can leave you feeling tired and confused, putting energy into filling in the missing pieces when you could be using that energy for work-related tasks. A manager or co-worker’s poor communication is one of the first red flags to look for within your work environment.

2. There’s little to no emphasis on work/life balance

Your work life and your personal life are separate things. If your employer or manager doesn’t respect your life outside of the office enough to see it as separate from your work life, odds are that you’re a part of a toxic work environment.

3. The job is different from what it seemed during the interview process

Career catfishing is an unfortunate situation that candidates deal with. If the job you got seemed way different from how it was originally pitched to you during your interview process, you may want to reconsider working there. It’s normal to get used to the rhythm of a job once it becomes a part of your normal routine, but if your expectations greatly mismatch the reality of it, then there’s a bigger issue on your hands.

4. There’s little to no upwards movement

Have you been at a company for a long time without a promotion or raise? As passionate as one can be about their job, the lack of reward in return for hard work can be discouraging and can often lead to burnout.

5. There’s more talk than action

“You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?” is an overused statement, but one that holds an ample amount of truth—especially when it comes to your work life. If your manager or employer has promised you something—a raise, a promotion, a project to work on—without fulfilling their promise, it could mean you are a part of a toxic work environment.

6. You’re frequently burnt out

Burnout is real and nothing to be ashamed of. If your burnout doesn’t seem to improve, especially without the help of your employer, you may need to take a step back from your situation and evaluate if your work environment is healthy for you.

7. You’re micromanaged

Micromanaging is when a manager or leader controls almost every aspect of their employee’s duties—so much so, that it creates mistrust and burnout. If you’re dealing with micromanagement at work, you are most likely part of a toxic environment.  

8. You’re surrounded by gossipy behavior

No one wants their workplace to feel like middle school all over again with cliques, gossip, and exclusion. If you constantly fear being talked about, feel like an outsider, or must work to win the attention of certain co-workers, you probably also waste the energy that could be put into your work. Cliques and gossipy behavior are counterproductive for workplace cultures, and they’re a sign of a toxic one.

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