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Cash Strapped, Toxic Job? Five Ways To Survive Anyway

Updated on October 15, 2015

Do you go in to work every day, wishing in your secret heart that you were going almost anywhere else instead? Are there aspects of your job – your boss, your co-workers, the general culture, the customers, a crazy workload or your remuneration package – that render it distasteful and unpleasant to you? If so then you’re almost certainly not alone – there are many people out there who feel the same way. (Perhaps more than don't: but loving your job is a perk that simply can't be guaranteed.)

**** this job!

Jobs Are In Short Supply

But with the economy in the state it's in today – and not looking like it's liable to start perking up any time soon – then leaving any job is a major life decision. It's not something you can do any longer just on the spur of the moment (if indeed you ever could). In a healthy economy maybe you can rely on the existence of temporary, contract and agency work to tide you over as you look for another permanent position, if you have impulsively left a disagreeable job. But right now there's not much you can rely on in the jobs market. So what do you do if you're in a job you consider to be toxic, for whatever reason, but you've decided that leaving it, at least in the immediate future, just isn't a realistic option?

Should You Stay? Should You Go?


Public domain.
Public domain. | Source

First of all, if that's your honest, realistic assessment of the situation, then I would trust your own judgement. In my experience friends, who often enough will have heard horror stories along the way about your job from hell and how much you'd love to get the heck out of there, will quite regularly urge you to get the heck out of Dodge when they know full well you're in a toxic job. Their urgings may be based on love, but they're also based on their own preconceptions, skills, c.v.s and experience. Perhaps they're more highly qualified than you, or working in a field with more demand for experienced and able staff. If they're in a secure and comfortable career, they may well have no idea whatsoever of just how rough it is out there.

5 Tips For If You're Sticking It Out In A Tough Workplace

But in the end each one of us is responsible for our own decisions. It's no good blaming your friends for leaving or not leaving your disagreeable job. Listen to their advice – if you choose to – evaluate it in the light of your own knowledge and opinions, and then make your own decisions.

But if you decide that, heck, it does look rough out there, and maybe – at least for the time being – you're better off sticking where you are, however unpleasant – then how do you make the best you possibly can of it? There are at least five ways that I can think of.

1 Get Your Escape Route Planned Out

If you're working with hateful people, or struggling with a workload that is so far beyond unreasonable that your shoulders sag just thinking about it, then it's really vital to have your means of escape thoroughly planned out. I don't mean just a vague, distant goal of 'getting the heck outta here' at some point. No, I mean specific, discrete, concrete steps that you can tick off on a checklist. A route from A to Z that will get you into a future that doesn't just reflect your present. You need to know where you're going, what your route is, and every step on the road you need to take in order to get there. Start brainstorming and planning!

2 Identify The Problem

When you talk to friends or your partner about how much you detest your job, what part of it is it that you detest? Have you stopped to analyse it, can you answer the question precisely? Or is it lost in a fog of confusion, clouded over by too much emotion to come up with a specific answer?

If you know exactly what it is that causes that lump of anxiety and dread in your stomach when you think about Monday mornings, then you have a better chance of fixing it or at least working around it.

3 Evade The Problem

We've all been brainwashed by childhood conditioning, religion and self-help books to believe that suffering is good for us and that problems exist to be confronted. This isn't in accord with my point of view! Especially in a job that you intend to be getting out of as soon as a viable alternative presents itself, where's the virtue in suffering more aggravation and unpleasantness than you absolutely need to?

Can you get transferred to a different department than your horrid boss or colleague? Well, then, why not? Is it company policy to at least consider any request for a cut in hours (assuming you could manage financially on less money)? Well, then, what are you waiting for? Is there the outcome of a promising job interview you're waiting for, and you've got a ton of banked flexi-time and holiday to claim? Why work more than you need to in the meantime?

4. Gather your allies... and cover your back. You're planning to get out of your toxic workplace just a.s.a.p., right? But until that move is actually economically viable, you're pretty much stuck where you are. And bearing that in mind, you need to look after your own interests and protect yourself as far as humanly possible. In order to do that to best effect, you're probably better off not working alone. That means cultivating your workplace friendships, relationships and indeed all social interactions with colleagues, whether significant or utterly casual. You never know who will be the person who'll have your back at what turns out to be a crucial moment, and that could be down to cultivating a relationship that doesn't seem right now like it could have any weight or importance.

5 Reward yourself... in healthy ways.

Sometimes you need the odd treat just to get yourself through hard times. Surviving a toxic workplace is a pretty good example of hard times. Whether it's a good tactic or a bad tactic depends pretty much on the kind of treats you choose. Most people would be in agreement that cake, burgers, alcohol and cigarettes are punish-yourself treats that aren't going to do you any favours in the long run. Time with friends, reading self-help books, music and home-cooked meals might be the better way to go! I'm just saying...

Are you planning to get into a better work environment eventually? That's all well and good. Just don't let your current job drive you crazy in the meantime!


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