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Generational Differences in the Workplace

Generational Differences in the Workplace

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Markie Keelan, M.A., LPC is a dynamic online career coach who helps individuals get clarity about their gifts and passions. She especially enjoys assisting millennials in creating authentic success in their lives through the development of meaningful careers.

Teena Evert, M.A., LMFT is a Denver career coach, leadership coach and certified conversational intelligence coach. She helps individuals become empowered to develop their strengths and achieve life satisfaction — both personally and professionally.

Think About When You’re From

Generational differences in the workplace aren’t something that you might always have on the top of your mind, but they can impact you more than you may realize. How you communicate, how you work with a team, your expectations about your career path, and even the way you relate to authority figures can all be connected to the point in time that your personality and professional identity were being developed.

Understanding your generational differences, particularly how they show up on-the-job, can help you not just understand yourself more deeply, but help you work more effectively with your colleagues. 

Where it All Began: Parenting Practices Across the Generations

In order to understanding generational differences in the workplace it’s helpful to take a look at how parenting practices and family life have evolved across the decades. Many baby boomers born in the late 1940s into the early 1960s were raised in traditional family units, and came of age at a time that social change and revolution was in the air. Broadly speaking, this resulted in a generation of people who embrace traditional ways of being as well as personal growth and hope for the future. In the workplace, baby boomers often have a strong work ethic and excellent leadership abilities.

In contrast, Gen Xers born in the late 1960s and 1970s were raised in family systems that were much less child-focused than previous generations. Divorce rates were at an all time high, and many adults of this period put an emphasis on self-discovery, and career and financial advancement. As a result, GenX kids in the 1980s were the original “latch-key kids” often left alone without much supervision during a time when alternative music, art and culture were becoming more prominent. As a result, this generation has personality traits that trend towards realism, independent thinking, self-direction, privacy, and entrepreneurial activities — all of which manifest themselves in the workplace.

Millennials, born between approximately 1980 to the mid 1990s were born in families who were often very excited to have children, and during a cultural period in which more intensive parenting practices became the norm. Compared to other generations, millennials often had a great deal of support, attention and encouragement to develop themselves and their unique abilities. As such millennials tend to believe in their own strengths and abilities yet also desire recognition and approval from leadership and colleagues.

Baby Boomers in the Workplace

While everyone is an individual and outliers are always present, generally speaking, baby boomers have tended to be standard-bearers of work-ethic and career advancement. They have paid their dues both in time and energy, often committing long term to organizations they believe in. As such, boomers are often formidable leaders who may struggle to understand and empathize with the different values, communication styles, and attitude towards work / life balance of the generations that came after.

Gen Xers in the Workplace

Sometimes called “the lost generation” Gen Xers can sometimes feel caught between the two dominant generational and cultural forces they are sandwiched between. Gen Xers in the workplace tend to have had careers that transcend organizations; they have been much more likely to flit from company to company as opportunities arise. This has had an impact on Gen Xers advancement, both financially and in attainment of leadership positions at traditional organizations. However, the independence, flexibility and relatively high risk tolerance of Gen Xers allows them to shine when doing their own thing; many have reaped the rewards of their entrepreneurial efforts. At the same time, Gen Xers tend to be more independent and less self-promotional than both baby boomers and millennials and as a result can often feel that their contributions are not seen and their voice is not heard. 

Millennials in the Workplace

Millennials are now the largest age group in the work-force, and their numbers are rising. In every organization they are involved with they often bring a fresh energy, technological savvy, and a collectivism that allows them to work collaboratively towards common goals. Often idealistic, they strive for the best in themselves and many find great meaning in using their work to make the world a better place. Millennials are often great communicators, priding themselves on their ability to stay connected. Millennials in the workforce are often champions of new ideas, and finding new solutions. At the same time, some millennials struggle with self-doubt and frustration, particularly when confronted with the harsh reality of student loan debt, housing costs, personal uncertainty, and feeling that their efforts are not paying off.

Three Generations in the Workplace Colliding… and Thriving

Today on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I have the great honor to speak with my colleagues Teena Evert and Markie Keelan about generational differences in the workplace, and how Gen Xers, Millennials and Baby Boomers can build on their strengths. Both Teena and Markie are excellent career coaches who have helped people of every generation get ahead in their careers. Teena has a knack for helping people find their voice and learn how to communicate more effectively, and Markie is a millennial career coach who loves helping people of her generation (and others) find both meaning and success in their chosen professions. 

Join us on this episode to learn more about generational differences in the workplace. We’re discussing:

  • Success tips to improve communication and relationships between generations in the workplace
  • How Gen Xers can find their voice and become more active partners on the job
  • How Millennials can support themselves through difficult moments when they feel their hope flagging
  • How Baby Boomers can make space for, and appreciate, their younger colleagues
  • The cultural differences between generations, and how it impacts worldview, attitudes towards work, and communication styles
  • Tips for career development and personal growth

We hope this conversation helps you on your path of personal growth, both personally and professionally.

Sincerely, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, Teena Evert, M.A., and Markie Keelan, M.A.

Ps: Scroll down to get to the podcast but if you want to learn even MORE about the plight of Gen Xers in the workplace and what they can do to get ahead, check out this video interview Teena gave on the topic:

 

 

 

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Career Advice: Navigating Generational Differences in the Workplace

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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How to Become Self Employed

How to Become Self Employed

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Doing Your Own Thing

 

Have you been daydreaming about quitting your day job and becoming self-employed? Many people share the fantasy of starting a business or doing their own thing, but can hit a wall when they think about how to actualize their goal of supporting themselves without a job.

How to Become Self-Employed

Starting a business or becoming a freelancer can be very satisfying, and sometimes even lucrative. However, as with anything worth having, these things don’t come into existence without intention and a thoughtful plan of action.

It takes time, effort and hard work to build a business or transition into a freelancing lifestyle. It also takes a lot of courage. Many people start businesses only to discover how much work is actually involved. (For example, doing your own thing generally requires many more hours and a great deal more personal inconvenience than a regular nine to five).

However, for some people, the satisfaction that they’re working for themselves is worth it. The desire to be independent fuels the fire of successful entrepreneurs, stoking courage, grit, and the willingness to go forward into an uncertain future.

The Emotional Realities of Self-Employment

We often think of cutting the cord and becoming self-employed as a matter of making a decision, putting together a business plan, and then doing it. However, what many freelancers, small business owners and self employed people quickly discover is that the emotional experience of doing your own thing is often the larger, harder obstacle to overcome than the day to day of running a business.

Dealing with the Anxiety of Uncertainty

For example, many self-employed people struggle with anxiety. Not knowing where the next paycheck, or job, or customer is going to come from can be scary. If you’re going to do your own thing, you’ve got to get comfortable with the unknown and out-of-control aspects of being without a regular paycheck. [Tips for managing anxiety, right here].

Overcoming the Overwhelm of Self-Employment

When you work for yourself, feeling overwhelmed is often part of the job description. Everything from designing a marketing strategy to answering the phones to changing lightbulbs to, oh yeah, actually doing the work that you get paid for is now all on you. Developing excellent personal productivity skills are a must if you’re going to do everything that really does need to get done.

Coping With Criticism

Many self-employed people who are leaving “safe” careers also often need to deal with the implied or overt criticism of family and friends who want them to take an easier, more predictable path. Even though you believe in yourself, you have to convince others. Entrepreneurs feel like they need to prove themselves; that doing their own thing is not just going to be successful, but way better than other options. This leads to an inner sense of pressure to be successful.

Managing Feelings of Isolation

The pressure to succeed can also lead self-employed people to downplay set-backs, and avoid opening up when they DO feel scared and lost. This need to keep up a strong front may protect them from criticism and needing to reassure worried friends and family (especially parents). But shielding people you care about from the hardships of self-employment can also lead to feelings of lonliness and isolation among freelancers and entrepreneurs who are still in the process of building a business.

For people who are running an established business or are now living their dream as a freelancer, it can still feel lonely. It can be hard to relate to people who have a regular job with paid time off, benefits, and the luxury of clocking out. [Learn more about the importance of vulnerability.]

Cultivating Grit

People sometimes ask me for business advice. I tell them the only thing that I know for sure about starting and running a business, which is, “Throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Expect that most of it won’t. Then do it again.” What I am attempting to communicate is that there is no path to success. We’re all making our own way. And, something that every self-employed person has to learn how to cope with is when (not if, friends, but when) things don’t work out the way you wanted them to. You have to pick yourself up, figure out what there was to learn from the experience, and then jump back into the fray to try again (with no certainty of success). This type of grit something that every freelancer or entrepreneur needs to have inside of themselves. [More on how to cultivate grit.]

Freelancing Can Pay Off, Emotionally and Financially

However, for many entrepreneurs, small business owners and freelancers, the trade-offs are worth it. Even though the early years are hard, building a sturdy little (or big) business can be very satisfying. Being able to say, “I built this,” can feel more meaningful than working for someone else. For many entrepreneurs and freelancers, even feeling that their success or failure is theirs alone to create is enormously meaningful.

Learn How to Become Self Employed From Someone Who’s Done It.

Even though doing your own thing can feel lonely, you’re not actually alone. Many people have done it, and you can too. Even better is learning from others about what works, and the things they’ve done to manage both the planning and execution…. And also the emotional challenges of self employment.

If you want the real deal on what it takes to become successfully self-employed, you’re in for a treat. I asked an experienced freelancer, NY-based journalist Michael Stahl, how he cut the cord and started doing what he loved for a living.

Michael shares how he left the security of a great career as a teacher to become self-employed doing something he loved: writing. He’s now regularly published in Rolling Stone, Vice, City Lab, Naratively and more, plus he has a book coming out this year.

He shares his advice for how to make the transition from employee to “free” (as well as how to deal with the ensuing anxiety) on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Listen to his inspiring story and get insight on how to generate a plan, manage the anxiety, and cultivate the grit that will sustain you as you make your own way.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Ps: Here are links to some Michael’s work, in case you’re curious:

Website: http://www.michaelstahlwrites.com/

https://www.vulture.com/2018/10/interview-ted-alexandro-louis-c-k-jokes-cosby-metoo.html

https://www.citylab.com/authors/michael-stahl/

https://narratively.com/author/michael-stahl/

https://www.rollingstone.com/author/michael-stahl/

https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/contributor/michael-stahl

Thoughts on Therapy: https://tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/j5zgm8/im-so-into-therapy-that-i-might-be-self-sabotaging-so-i-can-stay-in-it

Follow Michael on Twitter (@michaelrstahl) for updates about his forthcoming book, an autobiography about pro baseball player Bartolo Colón

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How to Become Self Employed

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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More Success Advice On The Blog

Generational Differences in the Workplace

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How to Become Self Employed

Cutting the cord of a stable career to chase your dreams can be scary, but doing your own thing is often worth it. Get insight into how it’s done on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

How to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

How to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

Sharmishtha Gupta, M.A. is a warm, validating counselor, life coach and career coach who can help you uncover your strengths, get clear about who you are, heal your spirit, and attain the highest and best in yourself, your career, and your relationships.

Job Search Rejection? Here’s How to Cope.

Hello! I’m now a part of the Growing Self team, but I wasn’t always. Even though I’m a career coach, I know first hand what it feels like to keep your head up as you job search for the right position. My experiences in job exploration have taught me how to stay positive and focus on my goals in the face of endless cover letters, difficult interviews, and of course, countless rejections.

Before finding my path as a mental health counselor, life coach and career coach, I dabbled in a lot of different fields. I’ve worked in marketing, at a tech startup, as a pet sitter and dog walker, as a social media manager, as an administrative assistant, and as a tutor. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way….

“I’m sending out tons of applications and not hearing back…”

Remind yourself, finding a new job is a numbers game. Even in a “people” field like counseling, a lot of organizations use recruiters or algorithms to narrow down the pool of applicants. Many fields are highly competitive, with the sheer volume of applications drowning out any chance that yours will get noticed.

Although a cover letter is an opportunity to present yourself to the potential employer, it is still a limited window into who you are as a person. You are a complex, multi-talented and interesting person! I know how demoralizing it can be to put in a lot of effort into trying to convey that through a job application and getting no response. Remember that you are more than your job application, and that the whole process of job hunting makes it easy to feel like you’re being constantly rejected for putting yourself out there.

Depending on the field in which you’re trying to get a job, there can be many alternate approaches to try to improve your chances of landing an interview. Reaching out via LinkedIn or other appropriate social media, marketing yourself in creative ways, or even making a phone call (*gasp* I know!) can be strategies that might be helpful if appropriate for the field. Get guidance from a career coach to explore alternate ways of approaching the job search so you’re not just churning out hundreds of applications and feeling disheartened at not hearing back.

“But I had a great interview and didn’t hear back….”

First of all, do not take it personally! I completely understand the tendency to feel like a failure or to feel like the rejection is a personal blow. Feeling like the interview went well, and even getting validation during the interview and then getting a rejection can be a real blow to your self-esteem.

I once had an interviewer tell me “We have three rounds of interviews, and you’ll be getting a second interview.” This was a position I really wanted, and I spent the week excitedly awaiting the next interview invitation. When I didn’t hear from them and reached out, I got an email saying, “We decided not to move forward with your application at this point.” I was devastated, and also very confused as to what could have changed their minds.

But the reality is, most of the time, it’s not about you. Sometimes someone else is a better fit, even if you have all the qualifications and skills required for the position. Sometimes the person interviewing you vouches for you but someone else overrules them for whatever reason. Either way, it’s out of your control. You can only present yourself in the best light and follow up appropriately, nd remind yourself that a rejection from a job application is not a rejection of you as a person.

“I’m feeling burned out and I can’t apply any more…”

Take a step back and reframe the job search. Take some time to reflect on what your goals are and what you’re trying to accomplish. This might be a great time to meet with a career coach, to help you refocus and to come up with strategies of how to accomplish these goals without tearing down at your energy and your self-esteem.

Make sure you’re reaching out to the people around you and letting them know what’s going on with you. Reach out to family, friends, current coworkers, and past coworkers. Let them know you’re job searching and ask for both moral support as well as networking opportunities. Some people have a negative view of networking – you might feel like you’re being a burden or an annoyance to people for asking for help. Trust me, you are not. People like to feel helpful, and also they know that they may be coming to you for the same help at another time!

You’ve got this!

Remember, whether you’re a fresh graduate, a career changer, or someone with decades of experience, the process of job hunting can be stressful and demoralizing. It may feel like you are struggling alone, but challenge those feelings by reaching out to others and sharing what’s going on.

A career coach or counselor may be a great resource at this time to help you come up with ways to keep yourself afloat emotionally, as well as to come up with tools and resources to approach the job search with a personalized game plan. I’ve been there, and I’m going to continue to be there throughout my own career. I’m here for you, but you have to believe in yourself too: you’ve got this!

Warmly,

Sharmishtha Gupta, M.A.
Life and Career Coach

Getting Through Hard Times, Together.

Getting Through Hard Times, Together.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

How To Weather The Storms of Life… Together

When you get married, or commit yourself to a long-term relationship, you’re signing on to support each other through thick and thin. If you’re fortunate, most of the time things are okay: the sun shines and you live in the benevolence of the universe. But not always.

Strong, successful couples also need to know how to whether the storms of life and cope when things get hard, as a unit. Unexpected job loss, a death in the family, serious illness or infertility — these are only some of the common issues that many (most? all?) couples are going to face together at some point or another. And unfortunately, dealing with difficulty can also result in strain, stress, complexity and even conflict in your relationship.

Don’t Let Adversity Destroy Your Marriage

Dealing with something very hard emotionally can create a double-whammy for your relationship. When you are not okay, you need your partner more than ever. If you’re going through something difficult, this is the time when you need to support each other the most. When you’re hurting, scared, or heartbroken, you want nothing more  than to be able to seek comfort in the arms of your life-partner. Being able to share your feelings, have emotional safety and support in your relationship is what we all crave when we’re dealing with something real.

However, and unfortunately, what often happens in relationships during tough times is that married couples can become more distant, angry, resentful or hurt. Research into marriage and relationships shows a strong correlation with things like grief, illness, and job loss can precipitate a divorce. [Listen: How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage]

Why? Because when couples are scraping the bottom of the barrel emotionally, they don’t have much left over to give to each other. Furthermore, people in relationships have different ways of dealing with hard things. When partners believe that the eother should feel the same way, or manage grief or stress the way they would, it can lead to conflict.

Lastly, knowing how to provide emotional support in the way your partner needs is not always easy. It’s not easy to articulate what you need, or even allow your partner to help you sometimes. So what often happens instead is that partners miss each other’s signals, and bids for connection. This leads to “attachment wounds” to a relationship — the experience that, when you needed your partner the most, they weren’t really there for you.

That can be hard to come back from, and can lead to both pain and resentment on both sides. And, believe it or not, this can be intensified through the holiday season when you have social obligations and expectations pulling at you, and making it hard for you to heal — both as individuals and as a couple.

Learn How to Grow Together, Not Apart

It is also true that going through adversity together (successfully) can lead to a stronger and more secure relationship than ever before. When you are going through something terrible and can go to your partner for emotional support and comfort, it feels like your love transcends hardship and creates a safe harbor for both of you.

This creates a level of bonding and security that untested couples just don’t have. You come to know each other more deeply, and have the opportunity to help your partner feel loved by you when it matters most. Many couples come out the other side of these “growth moments” feeling like together, you can make it through anything.

Coping With Grief and Loss, As a Couple

So, today on the show, we’re going there and talking about how to negotiate these hard times successfully, as a couple. I’ve invited a couple of Growing Self experts to lend their expertise around how to get through hard times, together. Master marriage counselor, couples therapist, and relationship coach Meagan Terry, M.A., LMFT will be sharing her best relationship advice to help you both have greater empathy and compassion for each other when the chips are down. She’ll be discussing communication strategies you can use to stay connected through hard times, and also some tips for how to support each other as individuals around things like illness, grief, and death.

Supporting Each Other Through Infertility and Pregnancy Loss

Meagan is also sharing her insight around how to cope with infertility, as a couple. Millions of couples, across the US deal privately with the pain of infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy loss. The stress of infertility treatment, and the grief of disappointment can take a toll on couples. Meagan speaks about how you can support each other emotionally on your journey towards building a family.

Protect Your Marriage After a Layoff

Another common issue that impacts so many couples is unwanted job loss. I’ve invited master career coach Maggie Graham, M.Ed., LPC, CPC  to share her best tips for how to cope with the stress of a layoff or job loss and stay connected with your partner as you go through it. We’ll also be discussing some tips for how partners can avoid conflict during periods of unemployment, and learn how to support each other during this financially scary time.

We hope that this discussion helps you find your way through this hard time together.

Yours sincerely,

Lisa Marie Bobby, Meagan Terry, and Maggie Graham.

PS: If this isn’t your truth right now, it’s likely that you have people in your life that are suffering. We encourage you to think about who in your life may benefit from hearing this advice and share it with them. Being seen and supported by you (especially during the holiday season when grief and loss is not on everyone’s radar) may mean more to them than you’ll ever know. xoxo, LMB

PPS: If you have thoughts or follow up questions for myself, Meagan or Maggie, ask away in the comments section below. We read them all! 🙂

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Getting Through Hard Times, Together

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Help Others Find It Too:

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Are You in a Toxic Workplace? How to Know If You Are… and What to Do About It

Are You in a Toxic Workplace? How to Know If You Are… and What to Do About It

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC is a career coach and executive coach with a degree in Career Development. She specializes in helping people get clarity about their life’s purpose, and the skills and strategies to overcome obstacles and create a life they love.

Is Your Toxic Job Impacting Your Mental and Emotional Health?

For those of you so deeply affected by the latest crazy-making experience in your toxic workplace that you’re almost too stunned to type… For those of you sitting at your desk, cradling your head in your hands… For those of you frantically searching co-workers’ faces for clues, wondering if you’re the only one noticing the madness… This blog post is for you.

Rule #1 of Toxic Workplaces: They Make You Doubt Yourself

Are you second-guessing your work experience with questions like:

  • Is it really that bad?
  • Are my expectations too high?
  • What can I do about it anyway?

Here’s the thing: not every work struggle fits the label of “toxic workplace.” Sometimes a job is bad fit for you. Sometimes challenging work experiences may be due to a “boomerang effect,” where you’re dishing out meanness and judgment and that’s what comes back at you. Perhaps the person creating a stench has a hidden diagnosis or an invisible family situation that’s creating a ripple effect with their work.

So, yeah, there may be reasonable explanations and solutions if it feels like toxicity is showing up in your workplace. At the same time, it’s worth getting some key questions and terms defined and clear, to help you determine if you are on a toxic workplace or not.

Signs Your Workplace Is Actually Toxic

A toxic work situation looks as unique as each person, and there are still some conditions that show up make things fall legitimately under the toxic umbrella, including:

  • Harm to people or property
  • Unpredictability is the rule, not just about daily happenings but also about your job’s longevity
  • There’s an unhealthy person with a big ripple or clusters of unhealthy people (this can be leaders, colleagues, or clients)
  • You notice drama, gossip, bullying.
  • Your nervous system is on high alert in more than just a passing way (this can be caused by many variables beyond your work environment, so it’s important to look for the root of this scenario with a professional). Tips that you’re in an elevated state of anxiety:

There’s no set formula for definitively calling a workplace toxic. My rule of thumb is that if my client calls it toxic, I trust their judgment. You might also feel empowered and motivated simply by declaring that your job is toxic to you. No one else has to endorse the term. Unless you plan to pursue legal action, no one else needs to testify that their experience parallels yours. If it doesn’t suit you, let’s make a plan for shifting gears for you.

How to Manage a Toxic Workplace

Key questions I often ask my clients to help them create a survival / action plan if they’re dealing with a toxic workplace environment include:

  • If you remove one person, does the problem go away?
  • What the worst that can happen if you pursue any of the avenues you’re considering and are you willing and able to deal with those worst-case scenarios?
  • What does your support network look like? Can you activate your network to help you through this transition?

In general, the quickest and most efficient solution to workplace toxicity is to find another job. Sometimes that’s not feasible or easy or quick, so we can look at other options, but know that making a switch – either internally if you think the problem will be solved if you’re out of the sphere of one particular person, or externally, if the issue appears to be systemic and entrenched – often takes planning, strategy, and finesse.

Beyond deliberating about whether to segue to a new position, there are some approaches you can take to lessening the immediate impact on yourself, and for me, those tactics are rooted in understanding and leveraging power dynamics.

Six Strategies to Survive a Toxic Workplace, and Take Your Power Back

First, know that it’s useful to recognize what power is. The great civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. defined power as the ability to achieve purpose and effect change. I often review several categories of power with my clients, including:

  • Hierarchical power: an organization’s structure, who reports to whom, who has hire/fire authority, who has the ear of the influential people? Generally, if you’re seeking help with workplace toxicity, this isn’t the type of power you have readily accessible – the good news, it’s not the only kind of power you can leverage.
  • Logistical power: the physical infrastructure of where you work – is there a safe place where you can retreat, can you use buffers to block your line of sight or stay off others’ radars? Can you escape for breaks, outside for a Vitamin D break? Is there a way for you to psychologically indicate to yourself that you’re no longer needing to carry the stressors of work (a mantra when you leave work each day, for example)?
  • Ninja power: your interpretation of the situation – how can you reconfigure your perspective and shift how external stressors affect you? This is where a coach or therapist can really support you using techniques such as mindfulness or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Viktor Frankl, the famous psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
  • Peer or posse power: banding together with those in the same situation, acting as a block and/or support network. If you plan to cultivate and access this power, be attentive to the structure and know that there’s a risk that you may be perceived as being exclusionary and/or stirring up ire. Proceed with caution.
  • Loud power: fight fire with fire. Give as good as you get. I never recommend this approach because it has aggression at its root. Still, some people believe that you have to call out a bully to get the bully to back down. I admit it – I just can’t go there. I’m only including here because it’s a tactic that I hear often – just one that I’ve never heard used with success.
  • External power: advocacy groups, particularly if you identify your situation as part of a larger societal issue such as racism, sexual harassment, ageism, or other experience that a social justice movement might address. Ask yourself whether you want to part of a revolution that topples existing power structures. If your answer is yes, access the resources of advocacy organizations to support you in your quest.

Tips For Strategizing Your Way Though a Toxic Workplace: Advice From a Career Coach

There’s definitely no one-size-fits-all solution to workplace toxicity, but some tips that I offer my clients include:

  • Play the long game: It’s tempting to seek revenge and/or grab for a moment of vindication that can be costly over time. Know your goal and work systematically towards it. Steven Slater, former JetBlue flight attendant, who quit in a fury triggered a media frenzy by deploying the emergency exit slide, grabbing beer, and cursing passengers. He became a bit of a folk hero, but he also faced serious legal charges.
  • Document, document, document: It not only helps you develop your approach, it grounds you in the truth of what you’re experiencing.
  • Consult your human resources team: Ask for confidential input about your situation if your workplace offers private consultation with an HR professional for employees
  • Seek legal advice: One of the best places to start this process is to research the labor laws in your state or jurisdiction.
  • Read The Asshole Survivor’s Guide by Robert Sutton: Ideas, perspective, and insights – well worth reading.
  • Read Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown: Tips and tools for how to create a positive workplace.
  • Join our “Designing Your Life” online career group, for both support and empowerment.

This topic can be difficult to address, so get support as you navigate the often pothole-filled roads of reconfiguring your worklife to get yourself what you need: fulfilling work in a supportive, nourishing environment. Act on your own behalf. You know you’d advise anyone in a situation similar to yours to do the same.

But Wait, There’s More

I have even MORE advice for you on how to manage a toxic work environment. Listen to my interview with Dr. Lisa on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast for tips on how to:

  • Identify the signs of a toxic workplace
  • Navigating the stages of toxic workplace healing: Identification, survival, exit, and recovery
  • What you can change and what you can’t
  • How to manage the emotional damage of a toxic workplace
  • How to exit a toxic job and get a new one, gracefully
  • How to spot the warning signs that you might be applying for a position in a toxic workplace

Hope this helps you!

Maggie Graham, M.A., LPC, CPC

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Is Your Workplace Toxic? How to Tell, and How to Cope.

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Beck, “Soul Suckin’ Jerk”

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Help! My Job is Ruining Our Relationship!

Help! My Job is Ruining Our Relationship!

Linda Pounds, M.A., LMFT is a Denver marriage counselor, career coach, and executive coach at Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She specializes in emotional intelligence coaching, and is skilled and experienced in working with individuals and couples dealing with the challenges of managing work and family life.  She sees clients in our Denver and Broomfield Colorado office locations, as well as online.

 

 

Don’t Let Job Stress Ruin Your Relationship

“My Husband’s Job is Ruining Our Relationship!”

Having a tyrant for a boss is a nightmare for anyone and bad news for a spouse as well.  Every night when my career coaching client “Matthew” came home from work his wife “Jennie” dreaded their exchanges.  What used to be a fun and light-hearted time became non-stop complaints, threats of quitting the job or worse yet, an excuse to drink as a way of coping with the stress.

For months Jennie listened. Then she began to offer advice including, “Why don’t you just quit if you’re so miserable?” Or, “You should schedule a meeting with your boss and tell him what you think.”  This advice wasn’t helpful, and often Matthew became annoyed or defensive in response. They started fighting about it. Both Jennie and Matthew started to believe that Matthew’s job was ruining their relationship, but they didn’t know how to stop his job stress from negatively impacting their life.

Over time more arguments happened, Matthew’s drinking increased and the mood at home shifted from being negative and irritable for Matthew to negative and irritable for Jennie and the entire family.  This is called emotional contagion and it sneaks up on you.

Job Stress = Emotional Contagion

Did you know that emotions are contagious? Yes, both good emotions and not such good ones affect those around you. So when your spouse comes home every night with a load of complaints and negativity, this will affect you along with everyone else in the household. If you’re looking for one culprit to keep a job from ruining your relationship, this is the one to focus on.

5 Tips to Keep Your Job From Ruining Your Relationship

  • Be aware of emotional contagion and make it a priority to shift your mood when you’re off duty
  • Consider ways to create more effective boundaries around work and personal life.  
  • Take time to decompress from work–changing from work issues to home is often a deliberate process.
  • If your partner frequently brings home work frustrations and stress, try detaching your emotions from your partners.  This doesn’t mean you don’t care about your partner’s challenges but instead are keeping the emotional contagion out of your relationship.  
  • Suggest putting time limits on “work” talk at home.

 

The good news:  Positive emotions are contagious as well!  Think back on the feelings that you may have shared at the end of a run or walk you’ve done for charity or a football game where you’ve been on your feet with hundreds of other fans cheering that winning touchdown. The positive shared experience is truly contagious. Your brain would like more of this, thank you.

Thankfully, things turned around for Matthew and Jennie. Matthew and I engaged in career coaching as he seriously considered his career options, and whether he should quit his job. He decided not to. Instead, our work shifted to executive coaching (particularly around emotional intelligence coaching) and Matthew learned how to manage his mood. He made some important changes to his job, specifically around setting boundaries, learning how to delegate, incorporating some new personal productivity strategies, and learning how to say no.

Furthermore, he began deliberately focusing on how to be a more positive partner for his wife. Relationships that feel good, are a place for fun, adventure, support and trust are more likely to stay strong during times of stress and tough challenges. He learned that by intentionally boosting the positive interactions you have between you and your partner, you can protect your relationship from the times you’re feeling off. So even though not every day was perfect, Jennie was much more patient and compassionate with Matthew during his stressful times.

I hope that my sharing this story helps you incorporate some positive changes to your work / life balance as well. If negative moods follow you home from work and you would like help sorting out a better approach before they become harmful to your relationship or family, it may be helpful to talk with an experienced career coach / life coach or therapist — particularly one who is well versed in emotional intelligence coaching. You can learn how to make positive changes at your job, manage stress more effectively, and even set some boundaries around your time and mental energy.

 

 

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching
Growing Self
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