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.