How to Recognize and Avoid a Toxic Workplace

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog over the last few months, you know that one of the things I’m most passionate about is helping people overcome common obstacles that they may face in the workplace. One of the most destructive, limited, and unfortunately prevalent obstacles is the toxic workplace. Toxic workplaces (and bosses) have been getting lots more press lately, and for good reason: they can ruin your career and make you miserable!

What Is a Toxic Workplace?

The term “toxic workplace” doesn’t refer to a nuclear waste dump, although the hazards to your health may be somewhat similar! Quite simply, a toxic workplace is a workplace where negativity, bullying, and fear define the culture, mood, and interactions. Usually, toxic workplaces are the result of a fear-based culture that starts at the top, and they aren’t just miserable to work in: they can seriously affect your health, happiness, and career. 54% of good employees are more likely to quit due to working with a toxic employee, and the cost of replacing an employee lost due to a toxic environment can seriously affect the company’s bottom line.

How to Avoid and Prevent Toxic Workplaces

Communication is key in a professional environment. When management is clearly communicating in an honest and mutually respectful way, employees are far more likely to go above and beyond for the company. Giving people credit for their work is another important practice. Too often, a toxic manager or co-worker will try to take credit for the work of others, and it can be a major toll on morale and deny the cheated worker a possible raise or increase in responsibility. Most importantly, playing favorites is another major cause of toxic job environments: managers should work hard to be impartial and fair. In addition, if you’re interviewing for a job and the interviewer complains about their job or obsesses about your ability to deal with “difficult co-workers,” or even bullies or shows disrespect towards you, consider it as a red flag and run from the offer! Remember: no company will ever treat you better than when they’re recruiting you. If it’s bad during the interview process, you can guarantee it’ll be worse later on.

I’m Jessica Cox, being born without arms has helped me develop some adaptation and determination strategies that you can use in your personal and professional life. If you want me to inspire the attendees at your convention or religious gathering, please contact me at