Have you been burned by a toxic job or work culture? It happens more than you might think! And it’s brutal to recover from, especially if it went on for a while or seems to be a pattern in your work life. Sadly workplace bullying and bad behavior are actually pretty common. In fact, the Workplace Bullying Institute estimates than 19% of adult workers are bullied at work, which is a staggering number. That means more than 1 in 6 people! So you are clearly not alone.
The first thing to remember is that you didn’t do anything wrong, and none of it was your fault. You are likely to be at a low ebb after a toxic, since all your resources necessarily went into surviving. And unlike in the dating world, you don’t likely have the room to take a break from working and let your wounds heal. Given that most of us need to work for practical reasons, I recommend that your next step after leaving the toxic environment be something relatively easy—sort of a soft landing place. This can be something in retail, a gig job, a part time or contract job, or whatever makes sense to you. When and if you have the bandwidth for it, you can also think about some volunteering, but make sure it’s nothing too big or tiring.
When you’re feeling a bit more like yourself, take some time to write down your accomplishments from previous jobs. Facts will drown out the nasty voices telling you you’re not enough and don’t offer anything of value—because you offer loads! You can even note any compliments you’ve gotten over the years, from coworkers, supervisors, clients or customers. This might feel awkward at first, but it’s important that you name your successes so you can turn your focus away from what feel like your failures. (But again, the toxic workplace wasn’t your fault!) It’s okay to have moments of self-pity and pain, but focusing on your accomplishments can help pull you out of the sad places that don’t help you.
Finally, when you’re feeling ready, start networking and updating your resume. Good things can come if you find ways to recover from the bad stuff!