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Squelching the Sunday Scaries - Dealing with a Toxic Work Culture

You’ve probably heard the quote:

“Culture is how employees’ hearts and stomachs feel about Monday on Sunday night.”

So, what exactly is culture? It is defined as everything that people think, say and do in an organization.

Have you ever had a job where you had the Sunday Scaries?

That feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach Sunday evening when you realize you have to go back to work the next day. This may be an indication that you are working in a toxic work culture. I even had a job where I felt like I was going to throw up every time I pulled in the parking lot!


What is a toxic culture?

A toxic culture is plagued by fighting, drama, politics, and unhappy employees to the point that productivity and employee well-being are affected. We spend approximately 1/3 of our lives at work so that is no way to live!


Below are some common characteristics:
  1. Bullying and intimidation occur frequently.

  2. Coworkers frequently gang up on each other.

  3. Bosses or coworkers frequently take credit for others’ work.

  4. Employees are insubordinate.

  5. Office gossip and false accusations run rampant.

  6. The boss is ineffective or absent.

  7. Everyone operates under different rules.

  8. The environment is highly political.

  9. Supervisors don’t communicate expectations well or at all.

  10. There seems to be dark, fearful energy that flows through the workplace.

Keep in mind that what is a toxic work culture may not be for another. But there are some common characteristics of what most people would see as toxic.

How do you survive a toxic work culture?

Here are some tips:

  1. Make friends. They can help provide a support system.

  2. Seek opportunities to learn and grow. This will create more positive energy and perhaps prepare you for your next job!

  3. Practice reframing. When faced when a negative interaction or situation, try to see it as a learning opportunity.

  4. Create a more positive workspace by reducing clutter and personalizing your workspace.

  5. Use healthy coping techniques like exercise, meditation, and reading to create boundaries between yourself and the work environment.

  6. Create an exit strategy. Update your resume and establish a plan of exit if the work environment becomes too stressful.

  7. Pray!

Help is on the way!

Having worked in several toxic work cultures, I'm passionate about helping people navigate! If you would like some assistance formulating a plan to navigate the culture or exit, reach out! I’d love to help.

Culture Catalyst Solution

If you are in a leadership position and feel that there are opportunities to improve your culture, ask me about the 3-step culture catalyst framework.


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