WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 30 July 2019How to Deal with a Toxic Work Environment
It’s the new year and you’re ready to take that next step. It may be your first job after graduation or maybe you’re ready for a new adventure and need to find a new job. You’re panicked at the thought of having to send dozens of applications, the time it’ll take to hear back from them, the interview process, the possibility of a dreadful rejection, and the possible offer. But before you completely freak out, consider every position you are thinking about, regardless of what step in the application process you are, and ask yourself these five questions.
Does this position fit with the lifestyle that I want? Or am I willing to change my lifestyle for this job?
You’ve finally found a position that you truly resonate with. You meet all of the company’s qualifications and truly believe you would be a great fit. Great. Take a step back and think about a few factors in which taking this job would mean changing your lifestyle.
Time. It’s the perfect job but it’s a position that is known to go into overtime every week and you know the company expects that from all of their employees. If you’re someone who truly values their time and wants a typical 9-5 job, this is something you have to rethink.
Location. Often times the job you really want will require a bit of a commute. Sometimes, companies are more flexible and allow their employees to come in at different hours so be sure to ask! But here are some questions you should consider in the meantime. Are you willing to drive 1+ hours every morning to get there and then an extra 1+ hours to get back? Do you have the means of transportation to get there in the first place? Are you able to relocate to somewhere closer to work? Keep in mind, gas and mileage do add up!
Money. If you’re used to living a certain lifestyle that you know you’ll need to make $40,000 salary to keep up, don’t accept a position that pays $30,000 and think things will magically work out or that you’ll get a raise in the near future. Consider your student loan debt, monthly expenses, miscellaneous expenses, and what you spend on leisure. Though it’d be nice to accept any position that comes your way, this is definitely a very realistic part about applying for and accepting a job one should think about.
Stress. The first point I’d like to make about this is yes, it can be difficult to admit that a position is “too stressful” for you. But there is no shame in that. For some, this “stress” is what drives them towards success. For others, it may just be their downfall. The second point is that stress can come in many different shapes and sizes. It could be time, traffic, the work that you’re doing, finances, the expectations that come with the job, the people you are surrounded by. Lastly, yes, there will be times when you’ll be stressed at work (and no, I’m not telling you to run away), but if you know you’ll be stressed every single day, that stress will start affecting you in other areas of your life as well.
What matters most?
Stemming from the first question, look at the different factors of your life that matter most. Maybe none of the points above are that important to you and what you really want (and need) is a job. Ask yourself this question before you decide to delve deep into the interview process and understand what your priorities are. Do you require the job to be flexible? Do you want to be able to work remotely? Do you want to avoid the 9-5 aspect of a job completely? Are you interested in working for startups? Do you see yourself working at a desk or cubicle? Know what you want and own it. Deciding what you want before you head into the interview process will give you the opportunity to tackle every future interview with the right questions that will land you the job.
Do I fit in with their company culture?
Do your fair share of research on how the company functions and what their specific company culture is like. Do they have a startup feel? Are they more casual or is it more of a professional environment? Am I able to come in with a t-shirt and jeans everyday or will I need a blazer and button-up? How does the company engage and support it’s employees? How does the company deal with conflict and politics? Look into some of their current employees (including your potential boss) and get a better idea of who you would be working with. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with them so you want to have a good idea of whether or not you’re actually going to like spending that time with them. If, at any point, you sense that there might be a clash or a problem, listen to what your inner voice is telling you.
Is this job just right or right just for now?
Often times, factors such as money, stress, or pressure can dictate whether or not a person goes through with the job hunting process and accepts a job. This can often lead to accepting a job that diverges from your dream career and sends you on a long path you didn’t expect to see coming. You might tell yourself “Oh, I’ll just do this for one year and find a new job.” Trust me, don’t do it. Yes, this is just one common mistake many young professionals need to avoid. Frequently, that one year will become two, three, five, and before you know it, you’ve gone a lot further in a completely different career path and that much further from your dream career.
Sometimes you really can’t help but to take that job. If you do and you know it’s a job just for right now, plan an exit strategy. Know at what point you plan on leaving and follow through with it.
Are there opportunities for advancement? And does that help in my path towards my dream career?
This is an important one. Do some digging and research what positions people usually hold after the one you’re currently looking into. Yes, you might be applying for a certain position now, but does that company have a position for you after that? Does that company or position foster a learning environment that will help you grow? Does this actually relate to what you want to do in the future (not talking about 15 years from now but in the next few years)? Just like asking if the job is just right or just for now, think about whether or not that job can help lead you towards another job that is just right.
So, there you go. The five tips you should be asking yourself the next time you apply for, interview for, or accept a job offer. Still feeling stressed? Read up on a few more tips to manage the stress/anxiety that comes with the job search!