workplace-1245776_640Getting out of a bad job, is kind of like getting out of a bad relationship.  You wonder why you stayed for so long? What was it that drew you there in the first place? And of course…What do you do now?

For most people who have left a toxic job, the biggest challenge is getting their confidence back, so they can go out and get the job of their dreams. Easier said than done.  A toxic work environment is one that is filled with negativity and fighting, often times employees are shamed or bullied by coworkers and supervisors.  All of this fighting, shaming, bullying and negativity can be really harmful to our self-esteem.

So what can you do to get your self-esteem back up and running? Plenty!

  1. Focus on your strengths: You’ve got them. You’ve got plenty of them! Are you honest? Trustworthy? Punctual? A hard worker? A problem solver? Whatever it is that you excel at, spend some time focusing on those positive attributes. Don’t let those voices from the office drag you down. I always tell my clients to write out a list of all the positive things they have to offer an employer and post it somewhere they will see it every day. This daily, visual reminder can be a great way to start filling in some of the cracks in your self-esteem.
  1. Learn to talk back to your negative thoughts: If you have been working in a toxic environment, odds are some of that negativity has seeped in – and made you doubt your abilities. If you find yourself saying “I can’t do this! I’m no good at writing”. Then force yourself to take a step back and replace these negative, and often incorrect thoughts, with something  more realistic. For example, “Everyone struggles with something. I am having a hard time writing this letter. But I will work through this, just like I always do”.  Changing the focus of your thoughts from something negative about yourself, to something positive about yourself, will help to boost your self-esteem.
  1. Make a contract with yourself: When you make a contract with yourself, you are more likely to hold yourself accountable to your choices, and therefore follow through on your decision. So write out a contract to yourself, that forces you to stand up for yourself the next time you feel bullied, disrespected, embarrassed or dragged down. Remember, no one has the right to make you feel inferior.

If you have recently left a toxic work environment, or are trying to deal with one right now, don’t lose sight of who you are.  Remind yourself of all the good qualities that you have to offer an employer and focus on rebuilding your self-esteem.

If you are trying to re-enter the workforce after a toxic job, or are currently trying to deal with a negative work environment, please give me a call for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

Professional Seal for Lindsay Simmons
Lindsay Simmons, MSW, RSW
Therapist in Oakville, ON