Employer expectations are at an all-time high with no added benefits to the employees. That’s why so many people are swimming in constant stress and anxiety.
Many are unaware of the effects of this on their mental health. Instead, they increase their time to work to meet those employer expectations that are often unattainable.
Signs of unfair treatment at work can be easy to miss in the beginning stages at your job. The longer you stay at a toxic job, the more you realize the impact on your entire life.
In the beginning, employer expectations are not too high, and you have enough time to work. That changes quickly. Yes, you wanted a healthy work environment, but that isn’t what you have now after years of hoping for it.
Table of Contents
Unfair Treatment at Work
Leaving a toxic job is hard. So is staying in one. Unfair treatment at work is incredibly common nowadays, but many never recognize it. Just know that the way you are treated at work is not personal. Most companies only care about the bottom dollar.
Due to that, employer expectations often result in unfair treatment at work and not enough time to work to actually get the job done for the majority of employees.
In today’s world, employees seem to be easily replaceable. Sadly, that kind of work culture forces people into working too much in hopes they will keep their jobs.
When I think about all of the jobs I’ve had, I realize that not one was a healthy work environment. So, my guess is that most of you can say the same.
I think the reason most people don’t have a healthy work environment is that most people are stuck in their feelings of never being good enough. I call that Not Good Enough Stuff, NGES. If you’re wondering what I mean about that, click here to read my post Not Good Enough Stuff Explanation.
When you are swimming in Not Good Enough Stuff, you believe you’re a failure and deserve to be miserable. That’s what prevents you and most people from leaving a toxic job.
Unrealistic Expectations at Work
Now, what causes a lot of employer expectations being too high is that we have emotionally unhealthy people in all levels of companies. That creates the toxic work environment.
We have huge amounts of people dumping their feelings of not being good enough on each other. Nobody likes to feel not good enough. So, many ignore their own insecurities by making others believe they aren’t good enough.
The result of all of that Not Good Enough Stuff being thrust upon so many people is unfair work treatment for all involved. The solution for those of you with unfair work treatment is learning healthy communication skills in the workplace. That is hard to do!
I’ll write more about healthy communication skills in the workplace later. First, let’s look at the reasons for leaving a toxic job.
You might not even be aware that you have unfair treatment at work because that’s just what you’ve always been used to in jobs. So allow yourself to really think about these reasons for leaving a toxic job.
5 Reasons for Leaving a Toxic Job
- Employer expectations are rarely communicated, and reprimands occur for not meeting them because you never knew the expectations existed.
- Employees constantly feel like their jobs are in jeopardy.
- Employees never have enough time to work due to being given false hopes or promises of advancement, that rarely happen.
- The stress level of EVERYBODY is high.
- The company does not value a work/life balance.
Communication Skills in the Workplace
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into each reason for leaving a toxic job. The first reason is very common in the workplace and a result of no healthy communication skills in the workplace.
How are you supposed to know employer expectations if it is never communicated? What happens when you realize you don’t know what is expected of you?
You start trying to find more and more time to work and you’re willing to do anything and everything that you think might be expected of you. That is exhausting.
Not only that, but you will probably still feel like you are failing at meeting employer expectations. That is because you can’t really guess what is in your employer or boss’s mind about his or her needs from you.
Also, remember like I said earlier, most people are swimming in their Not Good Enough Stuff. So, the chances of your boss putting his or her Not Good Enough Stuff on you are incredibly high!
The way to discover employer expectations requires a little more work on your end. Don’t panic!
I know you probably don’t have enough time to work already. Just take a deep breath because once you do this extra work I’m mentioning, you’ll be able to work smart and work less.
Here it is! Write down the employer expectations that you think might be required of you. After you have that list, write down what would be required of you in order to meet those expectations. Be very detailed here.
Take your list to your boss and ask for his or her input. If he or she agrees to those expectations, you now have a guide as to what is expected of you. Now, if one of the expectations you wrote down requires a TON of extra work, ask your boss for guidance on accomplishing it.
Make sure you show your boss what you wrote about the requirements to accomplish that expectation. Stand your ground when explaining that you will need a few things to accomplish it. You might need your boss or other co-workers to help.
You might need more time to complete it, which would mean you can’t get other things done. Ask your boss what tasks you can pause while working on that expectation. Yes, I know some bosses may say, “Get it all done. Figure it out for yourself.”
If so, I’d start looking for another job! That’s easily said, but is what I had to do when I applied these steps to a very unhealthy boss. I don’t regret that one bit!
Work Takes Over Your Entire Life
We’re ready to look at Reason Number Two. Employees feel like their job is in jeopardy no matter how hard they work. Oh, how that gives me flashbacks of my years working in pharmaceutical sales!
Feeling like you could be laid off or fired at any given moment bleeds anxiety, fear and depression into every aspect of your life. There’s no simple solution here. So, why am I mentioning it if I don’t have a solution?
That’s because I just want you to be aware that is one of the major reasons for leaving a toxic job. My only advice if you recognize this at your job, is to start your exit plan as quickly as possible!
False Hopes of Advancement
Reason Number Three is something so many people experience in today’s work environment. In my opinion, companies use the enticement of possible advancement as a way to get more people doing more work. However, the result is rarely the promotion people are working too much to achieve.
My advice here is similar to my advice for Reason One. It’s going to require written and verbal communication skills. Set up a meeting with your boss to discuss what promotions are possible and realistic.
When you hear the promotion you want to get, ask for written goals that will get you there. This is very important, so do not forget it. Have your boss write down the time frame for getting this promotion.
If you don’t get the time frame written, then you might be accomplishing all the goals to get there for a very long time and still get nowhere. Don’t think that I don’t realize that you could do all of these things and still get nothing.
I’ve experienced that before. Instead of being angry, I added my accomplishments to my resume and began my job search. It used to be frowned upon to change jobs every couple of years or so.
That’s not so much the case anymore, especially if you can prove that you made a career advancement with each new job. For every new job interview I went on, I was easily able to explain why I moved to each job in a fairly short time period.
I had a good reason because it was always an advancement in pay or position. This was never once questioned or seen as me being unstable in the working world.
Interviewing for a New Job
So, moving on to Reason Number Four now. When you are in the interview phase for a new job, ask to speak to some employees.
Ask them about their stress level. Be aware that the employees you’ll speak to were chosen by the company for a reason.
They may not verbally tell you about the true stress level of their job. Pay attention to the non-verbal communication.
Do they pause before answering questions about the stress level? Do their answers seem rehearsed? What are they doing with their hands, legs or feet when talking to you?
Non-verbal communication is typically “louder” than verbal communication. If you’re like me, your “woo-woo” part of you will be able to feel the energy of the work environment.
If your intuition/gut is telling you something is off, LISTEN TO IT! Walk away or you will wish you had.
Burn-Out from Work
Reason Number Five is the most important one for me. If you don’t have a good work/life balance, then you will not have peace in any area of your life.
That is a miserable way to exist, and I know about it all too well! You won’t even be able to care about meeting employer expectations because you are so burned out, which create even more of a toxic work environment.
Working too much is not something anybody will say they are proud of when they exit our world. However, that can be a hard habit to break. In order to create a better work/life balance, you have to learn how to step away from work.
If stepping away from work is laughable because it seems impossible, then again, it is time to start looking for a new job. I would rather find a job that pays a little less, but affords me more time to actually live my life.
That might require some tough budgeting, but I promise it will be worth it. Having more time to actually live life and love the life you’re living is priceless.
Are you reading this and saying, “Sounds good, but I can’t afford to leave my job.” Don’t think for one second that I have not had to struggle through making changes like these!
Recognizing these reasons in EVERY job I’ve ever had, led me to the greatest leap of faith I’ve ever made. I was working for a company that showed every one of the Reasons for Leaving a Toxic Job.
My mental and physical health was going further and further downhill. There was no joy or pleasure in my life because my job had robbed me of that.
I remember being so sick and my doctor telling me that if I don’t make a major change, I would probably end up in the hospital. Meeting employer expectations will NEVER be worth that!
My body and mind were fighting me and begging me to get the hell out of that job. I decided it was time to listen.
The scariest part for me in not listening was the fear of getting so sick that I wouldn’t be able to work. That meant I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills.
At the time, I was single. So, it was incredibly scary to make a major change because I was the only one who could pay my bills.
My giant leap of faith meant that I quit my job to start my mental health private practice full-time. When I quit, I only had a handful of patients. That was not enough to cover my bills.
However, after just a couple of months, I had more clients and could begin to catch up financially. That’s important, but not the most important thing.
I was happy and at peace with my life. Spending time on self-care was no longer laughable for me. If you’re wanting to learn how to have time for self-care, read my post 4 Ways of Creating Time for Self-Care Ideas.
Fast forward to today and you can see how wonderful that giant leap of faith was for me. It allowed me to work for myself, which means there are NO Signs of a Toxic Work Environment!
That leap also afforded me the time to do some more personal healing work on myself to create the life I wanted, but thought was impossible for most of my life. Trust me here, it is absolutely possible.
That decision to quit my job was the first step that eventually led my current life that I truly love. I had time to create the life I always wanted.
Now, I am married to an amazing man. We created a beautiful, smart, silly, kind, precious baby boy. These things made it all worth it to me.
So, I say all of that to say that if you are working too much to meet impossible employer expectations, experiencing unfair treatment at work or don’t have a healthy work environment, then you can allow yourself to change that.
That is not easy, but neither is staying in a job that makes every aspect of your life miserable. Pick your hard. Just know that one has a healthy outcome, and one does not.
As always, if you found this blog post helpful, leave a comment to let me know. If you have struggled with leaving a toxic job, let the NGES community know about that too.
Sometimes just naming your struggles can help you heal and make positive changes. Remember, you deserve to live a happy and peaceful life.
This site is only intended for people who are truly willing to look at themselves with an open mind and have the ability to truly be vulnerable with themselves and others. Please understand that this site is in NO WAY THERAPEUTIC ADVICE. However, this site can be very beneficial in learning the causes of your Not Good Enough Stuff. This site is not intended to provide or replace medical or psychiatric treatment. Mary Beth HIGHLY RECOMMENDS finding a licensed therapist to help you process the information from this site and all that you learn about yourself. Visit Psychology Today to find a licensed therapist in your area.