We’ve all been there; having to find a way to cope with working in a toxic work environment. Whether you’re dealing with ridiculous demands from your boss, energy draining co-workers, manipulative supervisors, unethical or mean-spirited people, emotional or sexual harassment, workplace bullying, or more…you’re not alone.
I want to talk about this in detail and explain various ways of dealing with these unhealthy work environments. So, today I’m starting a series of lessons where I will share with you how to overcome these situations, so that you can rise above it all and gain peace of mind.
Lesson #1 – Put Everything In Writing
One of the very first things you need to start doing immediately is to put everything you do in writing.
It’s very important that you email it, as opposed to just handing it to people, because email can be tracked. When you hand someone something, you never know what they’re going to do with it, and there’s no proof that you gave it to them. As soon as you leave they can just throw it away, or even alter it.
Also, when someone verbally assigns a task for you to complete, I suggest that you ask them to send you a written request via email. If this request cannot be sent via email, then make sure that you immediately scan whatever document they hand you and acknowledge acceptance of it by emailing them.
Your email should contain a short note that you received the request, and it should include the scanned document as an attachment.
If you’re not able to scan the document, then simply take a picture of it with a smartphone; send that picture to your work email address so that you can download the image to your work computer; then from there you can create the email in your work account that will be sent to the person that gave you the assignment, and attach the image to that email.
Now you may find all of this to be a hassle, but when you’re tip toeing on toxic land you need to do what you need to do to cover yourself. There’s enough technology out here these days to track everything and have proof of what has or has not been done, so take advantage of the fact that you live in a technologically advanced world.
Now with all that said, I do realize that many people will come up with all kind of excuses of why they cannot put their request to you in writing; with the main excuse centering around not having the time. However, you need to be very adamant about receiving a written request for work that needs to be performed.
Now regardless of whether they have given you a written request or not, it’s still important that in your memo or report you use the phrase “per (the person’s name) request.”
You need to make it clear to every party involved, especially upper management, that you did what you did because so and so requested that of you. You can even take it further and state the date and time of their request for you to start the task.
The last thing you want to happen is for you to do something that the higher-ups did not want done, and your supervisor blames you for doing it, when they’re the one that requested it to be completed. It’s your word against there’s, and more than likely the higher-ups are going to take your supervisor’s word over yours.
Once again, you must cover yourself!
Stay Tuned For More
This concludes today’s lesson, but I’m not done talking about this subject. There’s more lessons that I want to share with you as it relates to dealing with toxic work environments, so make sure that you keep an eye out for my next post.