Before I was a therapist, I spent over a decade working in the nonprofit sector. During this time, discovered a lot about the complexities of office politics. Now, coupled with my training as a psychotherapist, I have been able to help many of my patients navigate challenging and toxic workplace environments and find jobs that fit into the lives they desire.
The bottom line is that workplace dynamics are a microcosm of larger social dynamics and relationships. Unexamined expectations, personal beliefs, and old patterns can greatly impact how people show up at work, and what gets evoked, played out, and triggered. This all impacts how satisfying the work can be. Reverberations of larger structural injustices can often take place in the microcosm of the workplace. As with any group dynamic, some of these reverberations can be structural, such as a common nonprofit top-down “charity mindset” where programming may be based on funding rather than community need; and sometimes interpersonal, through microagressions and other enactments, bullying, denial, and even withholding of important logistical information. People can end up feeling confused and unsure of their roles within the system and in their day-to-day work. Learning how to address these issues both interpersonally and within the company at large, coupled with ongoing attention and company-wide intervention, is key to preventing and mending a toxic workplace environment.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible. So if these issues have been consistently happening without sufficient acknowledgment, and it's interfering with your job satisfaction and quality of life on a regular basis, it may be time to consider a change.Read More