Work is a necessity in life. It doesn’t matter if we landed a fulfilling career or trudge through the daily grind day in and day out just to pay the bills. Even the best of jobs have their downsides and problems. Sometimes it’s relatively minor things, like irregular hours during the off-peak season, crunch times, or annoyances like sharing an office with someone who microwaves fish. No job is 100% perfect, but there is a difference between less than ideal and outright wrong.
Workers are often forced into more serious situations like working in a dangerous work environment or suffering constant harassment. Some problems are easier to fix than others, but it ultimately comes down to the individual needing to take action to remedy the situation.
The workplace can be a dangerous place no matter what that workplace happens to be. The first thing most people imagine when they hear about someone getting injured on the job is a construction worker or machinist involved in some horrific accident. The truth is, even a beautiful office can be dangerous. Loose rugs and runners can be tripping hazards, chairs without proper lumbar support can cause back problems, and inadequate or improper lighting can be a significant contributor to stress and depression.
Bring any safety issue you notice to your supervisor immediately, and document that you brought it to their attention. If you or someone else gets injured, proof that the proper people were made aware of the hazard can go a long way in making sure that justice is served. Click here to get help with workplace accidents.
Toxic Coworkers and Management
We have all had that one coworker who is a little annoying, or that can be hard to get along with. It’s no big deal, most of the time. Sometimes people just don’t click. A toxic co-worker is another matter entirely. Often these people are liars and manipulators who actively try and disrupt the workplace and harm individuals or their careers. This behavior can be in the form of underhanded gossip to intentional sabotage done to make others look bad.
Management can be just as toxic as any peer, and they have the power to make things even worse for an employee they target. All they need to do is file a few lousy performance reviews or nitpick your work until they can find some sort of infraction where they can write you up, and put your job or even career in jeopardy. In right to work states, they have yet more power over others.
There is no one encompassing law that deals with “toxic” bosses or coworkers. There are however several laws that define a hostile work environment. However, toxic and harassment are entirely different concepts, which means that toxic does not always translate into a worker’s rights being violated.
Talk to HR or another supervisor, when issues with toxic managers or coworkers arise. They may be able to help mediate the situation, and provide documentation if the behavior goes from toxic to harassment. Keep in mind though; the HR department is not your friend. They may seem like they are on your side and offer a sympathetic ear, but their real job is to protect the company from lawsuits. If that is done by helping you, they will do it. Otherwise, you may end up needing a lawyer. If nothing can be done to remedy the situation, it might be a sign to switch jobs.
Your Own Preconceived Notions
Try as we may to keep an open mind, there is no way we can drop all preexisting ideas about any new situation we go into. We rely on past experiences and what people told us to expect as ways to prepare ourselves for what is in store for us. The physical work environment could be different (back office instead of out front) or maybe the corporate culture wasn’t what we expected it to be. The reason why doesn’t matter. Sometimes we just don’t get what we expected.
The best way to deal with a situation like this is to remain mentally and emotionally flexible. That will make circumstances easier to adjust to anything that isn’t what you expected it to be. Different from expected doesn’t automatically mean bad. Don’t let it ruin what could be a good job or career.