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How to leave a toxic job when you don't have another lined up

The indicators of a poisonous relationship are typically the same, whether it's with a partner, friend, or family member: your views and opinions are not valued, you're the only one ready to compromise or put in work to improve the connection, and you continuously feel like you're walking on eggshells. It may have a significant impact on your mental health and well-being, as I just discovered firsthand. My toxic connection, however, was not with a love partner or a friend; it was with my job.
 
The term "toxic jobs" refers to unfavourable work settings that put a burden on employees' mental health. These environments often feature abusive managers, discriminatory or harassing conduct, heavy office politics, and a climate of gossip or rivalry.
 
And these settings are more frequent than you would think: according to a 2020 Emtrain poll, 41% of employees do not believe their company would take a harassment report seriously, and 29% had left a job due to workplace disputes.
 
If you're in this scenario and realize it's time to split ways, let me first say congrats! It is not easy to make the decision to quit a hostile workplace (or possible for everyone, depending on financial constraints or the need for health insurance).
 
Being able to pick what is best for you is a source of great pride. Unfortunately, while there appear to be an infinite number of tools, books, and inspiring Instagram accounts accessible to support and help us find peace when leaving a personal toxic relationship, assistance for splitting up with an employer is considerably more difficult to come by.
In an effort to help you through what may be a heartbreaking transition, here's what I found useful when I went through my own breakup with toxic employment.
 
1. Treat yourself with kindness.

This is tough! It'll probably feel like a breakup from a love relationship, and you could even feel sad. It is disappointing when your work does not turn out the way you had hoped since you have put a lot of time, effort, and likely money into it. Respect your emotions and be gentle to yourself. This is the period when self-care and self-compassion are very necessary! Try to engage in as many activities as you can that will make you joyful and refreshed. Prioritize whatever fills your cup: arranging a hike with a friend, going out for drinks, curling up with your dog and a book.
 
2. Resist the need to defend yourself or give reasons for your leaving.

 
Even those employees who may have contributed to your leave may feel as though you deserve a thorough explanation, especially if you're departing unexpectedly or without a backup plan. The fact is that all you need to say to let someone know that you're leaving a poisonous environment is that you're going and when your final day is. You can reach out to any coworkers with whom you feel a close connection individually and tell them as little or as much as you like, but you are under no obligation to.
You only need to focus on what is best for you right now; your supervisor will take care of the rest.
 
3. Aim not to take personal insults in reaction to your leave.
 
The way someone treats you typically has less to do with you personally and more to do with their own inner struggles. Your employer is the same, in this regard. More evidence that your choice to leave is the right one can be found in the fact that you are encountering resistance to taking the course of action that is best for you and your well-being.

However, when you receive replies like that, whether it's your employer ignoring you or being especially critical of you for the last two weeks of work, it's reasonable (and legitimate!) to feel upset or furious.

You can journal, vent to your spouse or a friend or work with a therapist to deal with the hurt and frustration. I urge you to give yourself the time you require to process your emotions.


4. Bear in mind: It's not your fault if your job is toxic...


You cannot be held fully accountable for problems at work since you have no influence over your employer or working conditions (or fixing them). Our connection with work must be a two-way street in order to be healthy, just like any other relationship. If you were the only one contributing and making sacrifices, or if you requested help but your requests were not acknowledged or recognized, then I'm going to assume that you are not the issue. There is no justification for feeling guilty or ashamed about needing to quit because it has nothing to do with your talents or capabilities. 


Whatever your circumstances, never forget that you deserve to work in a positive workplace where you feel valued and supported. Give yourself credit for all you invested in that relationship, as well as grace and compassion for all you have endured and done in your job. Let's approach our careers with the understanding that our mental health and time are valuable.

 


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