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Fight or run? 5 signs of toxic work you shouldn't ignore

Fight or run? 5 signs of toxic work you shouldn't ignore Signs of toxic work you shouldn't ignore (Getty Images)

An unhealthy work environment or a lack of work-life balance can easily make even the most optimistic people unhappy. Since we devote the lion's share of our time to work, everyone should be aware of the main signs of a toxic atmosphere that can destroy a career and even health.

Read about the main signs of toxic work and how to recognize that it's time to quit.

Sources:, DOU,, Psychology Today.

Main signs of toxic work

Undertaking ideas of only one person or group of people

If only one person (or a group of people) receives more attention, trust, and prospects in performing tasks and their own initiatives, other employees feel undervalued.

This is how toxicity is formed in the team - gossip, envy, anger, and unwillingness to understand each other or make concessions.

Money is the only reward

If money (or bonuses) is the only reward a person receives at work, it can eventually lead to not wanting to wake up in the morning and start the day. Also, chasing material things often causes conflicts within the team (when everyone wants to grab a piece of the action).

It's even worse if an employer motivates a subordinate to take on a new project, work overtime, or become a mentor to a newcomer solely through extra pay.

Management's concern for profit alone can be a sign of unethical corporate behavior, as the work culture should be focused not only on generating income but also on the company's mission, values, product, and team development.

Lack of development and prospects

If you and your colleagues do the same type of work every day, don't learn anything new, don't acquire new skills, and don't use your own potential, sooner or later this routine will lead you to a dead end and you will get tired of such activities.

Companies that care about their team and want to avoid a toxic environment in the office engage in staff development (organizing workshops, exchange of experience, or advanced training courses) and even sometimes joint leisure (picnics, hiking, and other activities).

In this case, employees do not stand still but help each other in learning and become more united.

Tense work environment

One of the most important signs of a toxic workplace is an unfavorable or outright negative atmosphere in the office or work chats.

HR experts emphasize that the interaction of employees with each other should be comfortable for everyone, because negativity, envy, gossip, or anger turn the work process into hard labor.

In such an atmosphere, it is difficult to succeed and prove yourself. Instead, you can get extremely negative experiences and even health problems as a result of regular stress and anxiety.

Incompetent (toxic) management

The working atmosphere in any company depends not only on employees but also on their direct superiors. If the boss is openly toxic, it complicates all processes and destroys the desire to work in general.

A good and adequate manager has realistic expectations of your skills, abilities, and prospects. He or she never gets involved in every aspect of your work (thus preventing you from fulfilling your tasks).

Such a person trusts the team, strives to develop it, and develops oneself. They understand mistakes made and help to correct them (after all, we are all human). They do not abuse power and allow people to have their own opinions. He/she listens and guides, rather than forcing silence and obeying orders.

How to recognize when it's time to quit

If you notice toxic signs at work, you should first try to change the situation - do not keep silent about the problem, share your thoughts with your team and management (to work through the issues together).

If nothing comes of it, analyze your feelings - whether you are ready to quit and look for new horizons.

The main signs that may indicate the need for change include:

  • conflicts with colleagues or management on regular basis
  • lack of understanding of the company's priorities and values
  • lack of interest in work processes and tasks
  • lack of using own potential and long-term plans
  • not willing to start another working day
  • regular feelings of fatigue and futility of life.