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Should You Stay At A Company With A Toxic Work Environment?

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It can be tough when you’re stuck in a toxic work environment. But should you stay at a company that has one?

“It depends,” said career expert J.T. O’Donnell.

There are two scenarios that typically happen within a company that has a toxic work environment. The first one is the ENTIRE office is toxic. Every single person there is negative. This is a scenario where it’s probably in your best interest to look for a new job.

“If that’s the case,” said O’Donnell, “you’re never going to change the culture, everyone is that way, it’s time to move on.”

The second scenario is when there’s only one bad apple in the office – there’s only one toxic person. Sometimes it’s a co-worker and sometimes it’s a manager.

This is the most common scenario people face at work. What should you in this instance?

Before you jump ship and leave your company, try a different strategy: communicate with this person differently.

When you’re having a problem with someone in the office, it usually comes down to poor communication. You probably have a different interaction style than this person, and you need to figure out how you can engage with them more effectively.

“When you interact with this person differently, you will get different results,” said O’Donnell. “And that is worth trying!”

If you try this and it doesn’t work, then you can move on. But don’t let a single person in the office force you out of a great opportunity without at least trying to resolve it.

“I just hate to see people give up because they think it’s a toxic work environment when it’s really just a breakdown in communication that, with a little effort, can be fixed,” said O’Donnell.

If you need help understanding your interaction style (and the other person’s), check out our Professional Strengths Assessment.

So, assess the situation to make sure it’s actually a toxic work environment and not just a breakdown in communication before you make any big career moves. If you can’t resolve the communication issue, then you can look for another opportunity.

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Ariella Coombs Ariella is the Content Strategist and Career Coach for Work It Daily. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs or find her on Google+.