Toxic Jobs, Time To Say Go

Andrew Weaver
April 19, 2022

We talk with tech leaders, managers and developers from around the world and at different stages of their career.

Our focus is on helping an individual understand where they want to go, and building out the skill set required to get them there.

Generally this is shaped around a career development strategy and putting in place a learning programme and multiple actionable steps towards achieving the role and life they want.

There are so many variables within the requirements, aspirations and purpose for each individual that no conversation is the same, no advice is duplicated and no career plan a photocopy of another.

But one discussion that does generally result in the same advice each time, is how to deal with a toxic job and working environment. 

In short … Stay calm, Plan deep, Leave quick.

Toxic Work Environments

Toxic work environments build from a number of factors.

As with most cultural issues, it generally comes down from the top. 

Your immediate problem might be an individual line manager or hot shot colleague or unfriendly clique but that’s not where the problem stems.  That culture has been allowed to build because of a failure and/or encouragement from the very top.  

And unless you’re at the top then your ability to change that environment is extremely limited and you’re probably stuck with it, at least in the medium term.

So, the question has to be asked.

Is it worth enduring?

Surely life is too short?

Is most of your Sunday consumed with dread about having to go back to work on Monday, your mind full of drafting that long overdue resignation letter?

Do you feel that no matter what you do, how many hours you throw at them, or how you adopt and adapt to all the latest top down dictats, nothing changes?

If you’re suffering, then so is everyone in your immediate circle.  Colleagues, subordinates and most importantly, loved ones. They’re the ones vicariously getting your unhappiness and stress in the neck and no-one is seeing the best of you.

What Is Stopping You?

Don’t be limited by “it’s the best I can get” or “I can endure it” etc.

It’s almost certainly not and why should you when the boss, company or board that you’re slavishly hoping will change, almost certainly won’t.

They might deliver short term ‘empty gestures’ to buy more of your time, but time is something you can least afford to lose and you don’t want to suffer from burnout.

Some people get so frustrated that they walk and deal with the consequences later. That can be a wonderfully liberating sensation but, it clearly comes with a significant health warning that dealing with the consequences of a hasty decision has its own risks.  

Choosing to stay or leave must be based on what you expect for yourself, not what anyone else demands or expects. What are your boundaries? Which environment do you flourish in best? What is stopping you from moving and even more dramatically, a complete re-invention.

Much of this process is about transforming your mindset and perception of what you deserve. The long term damage being inflicted on your self esteem and mental health of staying within a toxic job is far greater than the short term hit of salary, status or that you want to ‘fix it’.

Don’t Get Angry, Get A Plan

And if you are enduring those restless sunday nights, you’re clearly far from alone.

A recent survey, conducted by the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll, included 2,000 workers who left their tech jobs over the previous three years, and of them, 37% reported leaving due to unfairness or mistreatment.

In fact, mistreatment was the single largest reason for leaving a company. In contrast, only 22% said they quit their jobs because they were recruited away by a better opportunity.

So it’s clearly time to ditch those Sunday night blues and go find something you love.  

Energy goes where your focus goes and from now on, your focus should not be about fighting it but instead, replacing it with something you love.

You don’t want to rush into another poor employment fit, nor do you want to endure this for much longer so instead, you need to start scoping what you really want from work, from life, from yourself.  Pour your energy into planning your way out and towards a culture, company and environment where you can thrive and reclaim your sunday nights.

And your self esteem might need some TLC so take some time out, a few steps back. Your current environment does not define you, it might be affecting you, but it does not define you.

What is required is a clear head and focus on what can replace this. Channel the frustration you feel now into visualising where you want to be tomorrow.  

Understand what you really need and start focusing on how you can make it happen. 

Join CTO Academy where courses include modules on Leadership and Personal Development.

Find out more here.

“I came across the CTO Academy when searching for CTO Training material. Whilst browsing the website, I realised they offer a mentoring service and I decided to make use of the same. I had a few mentoring sessions and they helped me to develop my personal brand. They also helped me to express myself in an engaging manner and made me clear with respect to the direction that I would like to follow. Thank you CTO Academy”

– Anjali Subburaj, Software Architect, London

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