This is a collaboration blog by Erika Del Sordo and Meredith Kimmel, ACC.  This blog can also be found at

In our last blog post Erika and I discussed overwhelm and energy management, and the different places in our lives where that can show up.  In this blog post we want to discuss one of the factors that can lead to overwhelm…The toxic work culture.

One of the results of the Pandemic has been The Great Resignation, or the even newer term “quiet quitting.”  Quiet Quitting is when employees are not quitting their jobs, they are doing their roles, but they are not going above and beyond in their roles.

People are valuing their health and realizing that time is not infinite and that not all of it needs to be spent working.  People are also realizing that they want to feel appreciated for the work that they do.  The want to feel valued by their bosses/supervisors.

How Do You End Up in A Toxic Work Culture?

Human beings are creatures who desire to have a purpose and find meaning in what they do.  So often, we find our purpose through the work we do.  Because we are so driven to have this purpose and meaning in our lives (which our work brings us) we often overlook the negatives or downsides of the workplace. 

We say, “so what if this job isn’t perfect, at least I’m doing something meaningful each day, and I bring home a paycheck to provide for my family.”

We become complacent.  Often, we believe that if we get another job, the grass may not necessarily be greener on the other side.

One of the things that bothers me most, living here in Florida, is I’ll hear people say, “oh, I hope the hurricane comes our way, so we get a few days off of work, I could really use that time.”  To that, I always think, “you need to get a new job.  If you’re so miserable at your job, that you would rather have no power, damage to your home, or any other damage that a powerful hurricane can cause, then you need a new job.”

How Do You Know If You Are Working in A Toxic Culture?

Below are a few signs of a toxic work culture:

  1. The company mission statement and values are not followed
  2. People aren’t treated equally and/or there is harassment
  3. There is a great amount of drama and gossip in the workplace
  4. There is high employee turnover
  5. Employees have negative attitudes
  6. Employee morale is low
  7. Effective communication is not a priority

The tone of the company is set by its leadership.  The leaders may not value their employees and therefore not recognize that they need to create a positive work environment.  We see shifts in employers’ mentality when we have a thriving economy and good paying jobs are a dime a dozen, so they need to make efforts to retain employees and benefits are added. 

When jobs are scarce there may be more of an opportunity for a work environment to become toxic because jobs aren’t available and where are employees going to go?

Toxic work environment

Leaving a Toxic Work Culture

As employees, we must remember that we are the commodity in the workplace.  We have the unique skill set and values that make us marketable.  We aren’t stuck.

There are a multitude of reasons to stay in a job including seniority, vacation time, health insurance, and other benefits such as retirement.  However, these may not be reasons to stay if you are being abused.

I often see a saying which goes something like this, “if you died tomorrow, your employer would replace you, just like that.”  Well, there is a bit of truth to that.  The employer would need to replace you.  But I like to look at it from another perspective.  You are valuable as an employee, and you should be treated as such.  If you aren’t happy in your current role, and you are in overwhelm, leave, get out, move on, take the risk.  Your life, health, and everything is worth it!!

Erika, please share your thoughts on toxic work culture.

Why Meredith, thank you. I would love to share my thoughts on this important subject.

Just Leave

When a job becomes toxic, just leave! Time and time again I see people unhappy at work. They complain day in and day out. Not only can their coworkers see and feel the negativity, but customers can sense it as well. If and when you have that much disdain for your job, you need to stop complaining and make a serious move. Figure out what your next step is going to be and professionally transition.

You Decide How Your Day Will Go

The biggest part of the problem here, when it comes to workplace negativity and toxicity, is that people do not allow themselves to just enjoy the day. MAKE your day pleasant. Really bring a positive attitude to the workplace each and every day. You may start to notice that that “toxic” workplace atmosphere is actually fun when someone brings the positivity to the table. Why don’t YOU be that person?!

Every single one of us is going through something in life. As humans, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have or how young or old you are, not one person has it “easy.” Everyone has a personal struggle. So, you may think that a coworker is angry at you, but really, they’re on the verge of breaking down. They need you to bring the positive light out in the office. Make working more enjoyable for you and for them.

Now – if a workplace is very negative, abusive and toxic, then by all means, just leave. But try to place a fresh spin on each new day. Place positivity in there. Be empathetic. Even if you’re having a bad day, try and be the positive light. Remember why you wanted the job. Think of a time when you enjoyed your job. Think of how you can bring those exciting days back!

Toxic work place

This picture right here. This is the opposite of what a positive workday looks like. If this is what your workday looks like day in and day out, just leave. No one should get yelled at daily. Imagine what that does to your health!

Save Your Health

Imagine what a toxic workplace environment does to your health. In general, people spend Monday through Friday with the same people for roughly 10 hours per day each week. That might be more time than they spend with their families! So, imagine how all of that negativity builds up in your system. From the night before when you’re dreading going back to work, to waking in the morning not grateful for the day, then during the day all of the toxicity and then the cycle continues. That’s awful. It’s miserable. And something has to change.

If you can’t bring the positive change and be the light at your job, then it’s time to move on. Some places are going to be like that. No matter how cheery you are, bringing pleasantries with you wherever you go, you may still be met with negativity and obstacles. Always remember to bring empathy with you. But if nothing works and you’re trying your best, just leave.

I wish each and every one of our readers a pleasant day filled with love and light. Now get back to enjoying your job! 😊