Exit gracefully even from a toxic workplace


July 17, 2013 by michaelchanrubio

When the company is tanking, and the employees are on the way out, it’s very tempting for them to “flip the bird” at everyone (or at least, the management) as they leave. Don’t be this kind of employee.

No matter how subtle you think you’re being — if management feels like you’re not up being honorable in conducting your affairs, there will be consequences down the road. But don’t just avoid this behavior for practical reasons. Consider that it is important for you to be an awesome employee.

An awesome employee; a veritable pro, will be consistently good even on the way out. It’s not only about avoiding bridge arson, but rather about building new ones or strengthening what’s there. The relationships are important, even if you think that the people aren’t excellent, or that they assholes. It is good to go out more awesomely than how you got in.

I’m not calling for inauthentic schmoozing. If the people are indeed malicious and not worth building something with, it is important that you communicate or exude that you mean everyone well. I don’t mean this in a fluffy sense, but rather a real sentiment that you don’t want anyone there to come to malicious harm — that retribution or resentment isn’t what your character is about.

If the last days reporting involve low-level administrative tasks, make sure they’re the best examples of such that the company has ever seen. Write the best possible memos, emails, what not. This isn’t so much about something as high-minded as a legacy, but rather as an expression of good character. It shows up in the work.

Then it will feel awesome to move on, as opposed to merely relief. You’ll spend less time worrying about how to conduct yourself in your next gig, because you already know that given the worst of circumstances, your character is solid as a rock.


One thought on “Exit gracefully even from a toxic workplace

  1. D.Y says:

    This type of article is not realistic.
    Obviously, the writer has never been in a toxic workplace. I’ve had more than my share of such workplaces and bosses. Learning to spot them before hand, and trusting your instincts, is the best protection. Being unemployed and desperate has been my issue for taking jobs I’d normally run from.
    Consequences, yeah, right! Most employers forget you ever existed soon after your departure.
    When its your time to leave, then leave! You don’t owe a toxic employer or boss an explanation.
    Just make sure you collect all your tools or personal effects first. I once had a toxic employer terminate me (alleged performance issues), but refused to let me collect some tools I’d forgotten in my hasty departure. See an attorney if this happens.
    Your safety is the most important thing too. I once had to flee a toxic workplace due to threats of violence against me. I’ve also had vandalism of tools and vehicles at such places. Again, see an attorney (cops are worthless).

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