Toxic Jobs and Communities

Sady Doyle consistently writes some of the best advice-based work on the internet. This piece for Rookie about toxic communities is based on her experience with a church group when she was younger. As adults, our communities are so often job-based, and I think reading it through that lens is totally apt. I’ve had a few toxic jobs in my life, and this is so familiar: “A toxic community can steal your energy, resources, friends, confidence, and even your sense of your own individual identity. It’ll wear away your healthy boundaries, and the longer you’re in it, the harder it will be for you to even see that there’s anything wrong.”

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4 Comments / Post A Comment

P.J. Morse (#665)

I read somewhere (probably in the “No Asshole Rule,” which should be required reading for any aspiring managerial type) that negative interactions have five times more impact than positive ones. So, if you get one toxic asshole in your life, that person will easily blot out all the positive people in your life.

It just bums me out that, in this economy, it’s harder than ever to escape an asshole. Even worse, if you do escape, some poor sucker will no doubt take your place, so the asshole never changes the behavior.

ThatJenn (#916)

Oh man, so true. I had three toxic jobs in a row where a lot of these red flags came up. Leaving each of them was hard no matter how miserable I was, because there was a feeling that we were all in this together, nobody else understood, and the people who left were abandoning us and “giving up on” the [shitty] organization.

P.S. I wish there were more, stronger, healthy social communities that weren’t faith-based available for most adults, especially in non-urban areas. Sometimes I think about joining a church just for that community, but it doesn’t really speak to me and it’s hard to get into it. It’d be nice to have a community of people who had my back, though, just because we were a part of that same community.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@ThatJenn I have found this community on Twitter? (And subsequently met them in real life, at least the ones in my area.) It’s not everything, but it helps.

ThatJenn (#916)

@Fig. 1 Sounds awesome. To be fair, I have a really great supportive community on (and I’m showing my age here) LiveJournal, of all places, and among the people I still know from college/high school/summer camp, but somehow it feels different because I am so far away from all of them and they are all very busy in their own lives in more exciting places.

That said, I kinda feel like the Billfold commenters would root for me in a rough time in my life, so that’s something. :)

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