Search
Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » Workplace Checklist: How Toxic ...
Workplace Checklist: How Toxic Is Yours?

Workplace Checklist: How Toxic Is Yours?

By Larry Buhl, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Nobody loves going to work all the time -- but there's a difference between routine workplace hassles and a working environment that stresses you out to the point of illness, according to Linnda Durre, the author of Surviving the Toxic Workplace.

Durre suggests that hostile working environments typically have one or more types of dysfunction -- how many symptoms does yours have?

Unfairness

  • You do the work of two or three people and receive little or no appreciation.
  • Coworkers steal your ideas and take credit.
  • Some workers get away with things that others don't.
  • Bosses or team members deflect responsibility or project blame for failures onto others.

Immoral and Illegal Activities

  • Coworkers ask you to cover or lie for them.
  • You are asked to falsify data, reports or documents.
  • A coworker uses sexual favors to get ahead at work.
  • Someone is having an affair and asks you to lie for him.

Abusive Bosses and Poisonous Coworkers

  • You or others suffer sexual harassment.
  • Coworkers miss deadlines and affect your productivity.
  • A coworker or boss routinely tells lewd, racist or sexist jokes.
  • Bosses and peers rely on fear and intimidation.

Physical Danger

  • You or others are at risk because of unsafe conditions.
  • You or others have ever been threatened or assaulted.

Just Plain Annoying

  • Coworkers interrupt your work, invade your space and help themselves to your files.
  • Constant gossip, office politcs or spying.

Any one of these issues indicates a toxic environment and should not be tolerated, according to Durre. And if you've got check marks next to items in more than one category, your workplace may be dangerously poisonous. Unfortunately, employees often believe that these problems are the cost of doing business and must be endured. "Many workers believe they are helpless to change the situation and suffer devastating physical problems from the stress and anger," Durre says.

Detoxifying Your Workplace

How you respond to any of these problem areas depends on you, on the level of threat the situation poses and on the supportiveness of the company.

Confront, Politely

You should be able to resolve many interpersonal problems -- gossipers, time wasters and game players -- without intervention, according to Hilka Klinkenberg, founder and managing director of Etiquette International.

"If someone's always invading your space, for example, you can say you need to work and you'll speak with them later," she says. "If someone is talking loudly, you can say, 'You have a good, strong voice, but it's hard to concentrate when you speak at that volume.' When teammates waste your time, tell them what will help you meet your deadline. But don't vent and don't blame. Present every issue in terms of a solution, not a problem."

Do Not Confront

Situations where you're in physical danger should be handled as if you're meeting a bear in the woods: Back away slowly and don't antagonize. But don't let it go. Report the problem to HR or to your supervisor if there is no HR department. If your supervisor is the threat, seek the next higher level -- or in extreme cases, the police.

Go Higher

If your boss won't resolve the problem, or is the problem, and if HR doesn't resolve the problem, or is part of the problem, you still have options, according to Durre.

"You can get an attorney or even hire a lawyer to write a letter merely threatening to sue, and you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to do it," she says. "If you are part of a union, let them handle it. If you are part of a professional organization, tell them about it and recommend that the offending party's license be revoked." If it's an illegal or unethical situation, you can threaten to bring the situation to the media. "Companies hate bad publicity," Durre adds.

Have Back Up

When HR becomes involved, you'll need documentation to prove your case. Keep scrupulous records by writing down who said and did what, and when. It's even better if you have other coworkers who witnessed the situation and are willing to go to bat for you.

Plan Your Exit

Some companies have a culture of dysfunction. If the toxicity is coming from the top down, and it bothers you a lot, you're better off coming up with an exit strategy, according to Marie McIntyre, author, columnist and creator of YourOfficeCoach.com.

"You can't change a corporate culture on your own," McIntyre says. "Give yourself a timeline for leaving and start working on it. Just focusing on a more positive future will help your stress level while you're still in that negative environment."

You shouldn't have to leave just because of a bad boss or insufferable coworkers. But if the situation prompts you to start the company you've always dreamed about, that's not such a bad thing. The bottom line is, you don't have to suffer in silence. "The workplace shouldn't have to be nasty," Durre says. "It should be and can be a win-win for everyone."

Is your current job poisoning your life? Find a better one.

Latest Jobs

Delray Medical Center
Posted: 07/29/2014
Delray Beach, FL
Neopost
Posted: 07/29/2014
Memphis, TN, 38141
CyberCoders
Posted: 07/29/2014
Austin, TX
CyberCoders
Posted: 07/29/2014
Tampa, FL, 33601
CyberCoders
Posted: 07/29/2014
San Antonio, TX

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.35.44-324
eTrustLogo