Every workplace has its share of drama and pettiness, but hostile work environments are about much more than a clash of personalities. Morale is low and most employees hate reporting to work each day. Workers are belittled, underpaid, under-promoted, and typically don’t feel respected or appreciated for their work or ideas. There may even be illegal practices going on such as sexual harassment and discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.

A collaborative study conducted by researchers at Harvard and Stanford found that workplace stressors have damaging effects on the health of employees — both physically and mentally. However, one of the most notable effects is how they can impact your self-esteem. Many people who have worked in a hostile environment report feelings of insecurity and loss confidence in their abilities.

If this sounds like you and you’re wondering how to rebound in the aftermath of working in a hostile environment, continue reading.

Give yourself time to regroup

Working in a toxic environment can have significant effects on one’s mental, emotional, and physical wellness. If your finances allow, try to take a few days or weeks to regather yourself before starting a new job. You may want to simply spend time at home reflecting and spending time with loved ones or you may opt to take a trip to get a change of scenery..

Talk about what happened

There’s no such thing as keeping something bottled inside. One way or another, it’s going to come out so it’s a good idea to let it out in a secure setting to professional or someone you trust. The last thing you want to do is carry old baggage into your new place of work.

Reflect on your accomplishments

While your old job may not have been a walk in the park, it’s likely that you accomplished many great things in spite of the unfortunate hand you were dealt. Don’t allow your good work to get lost because you worked in a bad setting.. Take tme to reflect on your accomplishments and acknowledge your wins.

Remind yourself that the opinions of others can’t determine your worth

The wrong colleagues and superiors can break you down in a way that can cause you to constantly question your worth. Remind yourself that their opinions will never determine your value. Only you are able to do that.

Brainstorm ways to reinvent yourself

Perhaps your last position turned you off from your industry altogether. The great news is that your skillset is likely transferable to other fields. Create a list of your skills and duties from your previous position and consider how you can apply what you learned elsewhere.

Use positive affirmations to reprogram negative thinking

When you’ve been beaten down long enough by supervisors and colleagues, those negative voices sometimes haunt you in your future endeavors. To drown out the negativity, surround yourself with positive affirmations. You may choose to listen to inspirational audio, read inspirational books, or even write yourself affirming notes and letters.

Establish a game plan

Now that you’ve escaped a toxic work environment, what have you learned? What red flags did you overlook? What are you no longer willing to tolerate for the sake of a paycheck? Make a list of things to look out for and keep this in mind as you interview for positions in the future.

Invest in yourself

It’s always a good idea to invest in yourself. As you explore your career options and determine what your next step will be, consider taking a class to sharpen your skills or working towards a new certification or degree. Additionally, you may want to consider giving your resume a makeover or creating a professional website.

Take care of yourself

If you’re looking to rebound after working in a toxic and abusive environment, one of the best things that you can do is take care of yourself. Do the things that make you feel calm and bring you joy.


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