If you’ve found yourself in a toxic workplace and have made the decision to leave, congrats! Stepping away from an environment where you don’t feel valued or heard takes a heck of a lot of courage, so we’re here to talk about what comes next.
It can feel nerve-wracking to take such a big step and you may even be asking yourself questions like, “What in the world was I thinking?” or “What if the next place is even worse?!” These are normal reactions to change. As a mental health coach, I like to encourage my clients to take time to reflect on all that they’ve been through and the reasons they’ve taken this leap to help quiet the inner-critic and diminish self-doubt.
You know what else helps? Creating a solid plan that will help you to transition from this career into what’s next. Understanding where you’ve been and where you’d like to go in your career can help ensure you won’t be stuck in a toxic workplace again.
What to look for in a new career
If you’ve worked in a toxic environment, there’s a chance that it has affected your internal belief system. Maybe you’ve doubted your own abilities at times or even questioned your self-worth. This is an excellent time to get to know what you value in an employer and what type of environment you are looking for.
Maybe you’re not in a situation right now where you can choose where you work based on values, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what they are. Thinking this way now can help you land somewhere better in the future.
And, if you are beginning to pour over job listings, it can be helpful to ask these questions:
- When it comes to my career, what are my personal values?
- What does work/life balance mean to me?
- Does this company’s values align with my own?
- What are ways that this employer uplifts its employees?
- What are their turnover rates?
- How is success measured at this company?
- Are there opportunities for growth here?
Tips for interviewing for a new job
Once you’re ready to leave the old workplace behind and venture out to a new one, the interview process is a good opportunity to determine whether or not you’ll be a good fit for one another. Sure, it can also be overwhelming and intimidating, but asking the right questions and doing your research while interviewing can help you avoid another toxic work environment. Here are steps to consider taking:
- Take time to vent, process, and heal from your past work experience. Reach out to trusted loved ones or a mental health professional for support. You can also commiserate with others who get it in our in-app Work Stress Community.
- Thoroughly research the company you’re interested in on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or other hiring sites.
- When a potential employer asks you why you left your job, try to remain neutral. It can be helpful to have a statement written out ahead of time that focuses on what you’re hoping to achieve by transitioning to a new workplace.
- Ask all about the workplace culture and what it is like to work for the company.
- Get a full understanding of what time and energy commitments will be required for this role.
- Inquire about how employees are supported inside and outside of the workplace.
- If possible, ask to meet with members of the team you’ll be working with and ask about their experiences as employees.
While we know it’s not always possible to walk away from a job that is negatively impacting your mental health, we’re here to help you focus on small steps you can take to improve your current situation and take care of yourself. To start, here are 6 tips for coping with work stress right now.
Moving on from a toxic workplace is a big step. The unknown is a scary place to be, but compromising on values and well-being is even scarier. Remember that this is a time for you to get clear on what you want from your career and to take steps towards making it a reality. Advocating for your well-being in a professional realm takes guts and we’re here to support you along the way.
By Natalie Septer, Mental Health Coach
As a Sanvello Coach, Natalie is passionate about supporting people as they navigate life — in the good times and the bad. Her role is to help enhance self-awareness and equip clients with the tools necessary to live their best life. When she’s not seeing clients, Natalie is a yoga instructor, a podcast aficionado, and a mom to three boys. For self-care, she loves to read, journal, and exercise.