There are so many people working in a toxic environment but choose to do nothing
about it – either out of fear, hopelessness or just not knowing any better. Most Kenyan employees remain grossly uninformed about labour rights and their individual rights. A toxic work environment will eventually take a toll on you either physically or mentally. Your confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and purpose of living may be greatly affected, leading to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Many Kenyans however, choose to stay because they have no other means of putting food on the table, especially since most are breadwinners. The tough economic times have made people even more scared of moving to another workplace because people are losing their jobs left, right and center.
Just how toxic can it get? So toxic! In fact former Kiss presenter Adelle Onyango revealed in one of her podcast episodes that she quit her job because of a toxic work environment.
So what can you do?
Ask for a transfer to a different branch
Some companies have many different branches within the capital city and in faraway towns and cities. Decide which one is best for you and file for a transfer. The best way to dealing with toxic environments is to distance yourself from the people causing the distress.
Avoid or ignore the people giving you a hard time
If possible, avoid the people harassing you. Minimize conversations or just stop talking to them completely. You don’t have to talk to them if you don’t want to. They may eventually leave you alone if you persistently keep quiet.
You can also do this by changing seating arrangements and going to the furthest desk possible or just swapping places with someone else. If you’re fortunate enough to work in a place where there are no specific assigned desks or seating areas, just make the swap.
Talk to management
This is especially important if people have threatened your life or keep harassing you physically or verbally. You may be reluctant to do so out of fear of not looking like a team player and losing your job, but chances are they harass other people too. You can get the backing of employees who have faced a similar fate in their hands. The toxic co-workers can be suspended, given a warning or fired.
This is the last option when you know there’s no other way this can be solved. The trick is to start applying for jobs elsewhere and go for interviews. When you are sure you have a slot in another company, write a resignation letter and leave the company. If it is too toxic to wait until you get another job, just quit then.