Recently I was having a conversation over lunch with a friend who is having a rough time at work. She asked me the question, “when is it time to start looking for a new job?” This really got me thinking. Is a job just going through a stressful period, or is it a toxic work environment.
My first thought is in regards to your work load. In a toxic work environment you are being asked to do more work, with little to no help, and the pressure you feel around you never eases up. When there is no way you can complete your tasks in the amount of time alloted during a work day, I see that as a probelm.
Then there is the issue of boundaries. I am a big believer that everyone, and I do mean everyone, needs to have boundaries. You should know what your expectations are for a job going into it. You know the hours, what you need to do daily, deadlines, ect. In a toxic work environment, even knowing what they expected of you at the start, the work place is still demanding more. They are not respecting you when you have time off. People from work may call you on the weekends, or even during vacations. They are asking you to stay later than what you planned and there is no acknowledgment of taking up your personal time.
And the main ways, in my opinion, to know you are working in a toxic environment is the way coworkers and superiors treat each other. If there is a blatant lack of respect for individuals, then you know this is not a great place to be. You want to be in a place where there is room for conversations, healthy dialogue, room for growth, and support. If you aren’t seeing these things, then it’s time to take a hard look at where you are.
At the end of our lunch, my friend and I were able to discern whether she was just going through a stressful work season or if it was really time to start looking. If you ever find yourself wondering if it’s time for you to start job searching think about these ideas first. There will always be stress that comes with a job, but it’s the kind of stress and the amount that will determine if you should start looking for a new place of employment.