What I’ve Learned From Toxic Workplaces

You probably won’t hear a lot of people say this, but I feel kind of lucky that I got my career start in toxic workplaces. I think there are probably more toxic workplaces than there are healthy ones, at least here in the United States. It’s a sad fact, but the culture of the work grind with no free time is just the way things have been going.

I started out my career in nonprofits, and I certainly can’t speak for all nonprofits, but they really are catty. My workplaces were female dominated, which I enjoyed because I rarely experienced any misogyny or toxic masculinity, but females do have their own versions of that when they are over asserting their power. There is also an immense amount of pressure in the nonprofit world, everything we do is stemmed by donations and fundraising, so even though I didn’t work in that department I felt the heat from the people who did. They were given lofty goals and didn’t have much control over meeting them, it was kind of sad to watch.

I worked at my first job for 6 months and in that time around 4 people quit due to management. My next job was also a revolving door of staff. When you’re new to the workforce, you don’t know much, but it’s easy to see when people keep leaving that there is probably an issue.

So my first taste of working prepared me for bad situations. I grew thicker skin. But it’s really not ideal to work in a toxic workplace.

What I’ve learned is while company culture or one manager is bad, not everything is bad. You really have to look for your bubble at work, the people you feel safe with, and constantly remind yourself of the positives.

Of course if you can’t find those things, I don’t think that’s a healthy place for you to work. In my 5 years out of college, I’ve realized I spend MOST of my time at work and with my coworkers. I see them more than I see my own family. So you don’t want to spend that much time being miserable or being treated poorly. I hope more people realize this, because you are worth so much more than a toxic workplace makes it seem. 

20 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From Toxic Workplaces

  1. This is so true and really eye-opening. I did not know that about non-profits. I would have thought the complete opposite. But what you say is so true! I am so lucky to be working with two of my bets friends, and my fiance is on the other side of the building. I have also found that juggling relationships like this at the workplace comes with a level of ability to balance friendship and work, which is tough for many. To be able to maintain this level, one must be able to compromise.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, absolutely! I met my fiancé at the Junior prom (we were chaperoning). Fortunately, things worked out, but it definitely wasn’t a given at the beginning. It could have gone bad! We are getting married in June, do it worked out, but it was a risk. 😆

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny I was thinking bout this only the other day and the toxic workplaces I’ve had to endure, there’s a been a few and some where I’ve had to tolerate months of it after realising after only about 30 minutes of walking in the door that the place is toxic.
    Sometimes we have to deal, it’s not healthy or productive so I don’t know why or how workplaces exist like this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I completely agree with you – having interned at places that were toxic and having worked in teams that were toxic, it opens you eyes to what is and isn’t important in a workplace setting ….. as well as how to treat others! Was very grateful to later move on to something that was a better fit for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes! I’ve always valued the culture at my workplace. It’s something we work really hard to cultivate but it’s hard when everyone is working from home. It feels toxic most days because the expectations are high and I can’t keep up. I love my team though so I try to focus on that to get through all the bad days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Office working can be so toxic depending on the managers involved. So many of them are pumped-up dictators who are crazy with power. Best to keep away from people like that if possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s terrible to work in a toxic place especially if you can’t afford to leave, but it does build up your character for sure. I think there are toxic people wherever you work. So glad I’m not in the workforce anymore 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I found that a very difficult position for a young woman to be in is to be the youngest and most free among older women with kids, husbands, mortgages and no free time. They will HATE you. That’s why I left corporate. They even trolled me for having a degree, because they didn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Its definitely worth understanding your value when you end up in a toxic workplace. I’ve stuck these out in the past despite the warning signs thinking if I show loyalty things will get better.

    Liked by 2 people

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