What to Do Before Walking Out of a Job (10 Signs of a Toxic Workplace)

toxic workplace

When to walk away from a job

Working in a hostile environment can take a significant toll on your career and overall health. And knowing when to walk away from a job is critical.

If you can say “Yes” to any of these 10 warning signs, it might be time to start looking for something new.

Questions Answered:

  • What is a toxic work environment?
  • Signs of a hostile work environment 
  • How to handle a toxic work environment 
  • Knowing when it’s right to walk away from a job
  • Can a toxic work environment make you sick?
  • Can you quit a job without notice?
  • Consequences of walking out of a job
  • How do I explain why I quit to an employer?

We’ve all had those rough days! 

Maybe the coffee machine broke, your manager chewed you out for something you didn’t do, or a coworker refused to pull their weight…..again.

Ultimately leading to alone time in your cubicle searching for something new and daydreaming of a life without this job.

Odds are the majority of us have experienced a day like this, but at what point is it more than “just another bad day”?

At what point is it something serious to consider?

The workplace is often our second home (maybe even first to some) due to the hours we spend there. 

Knowing the majority of our time is consumed in this small bubble, it’s essential to remain happy while working. Unfortunately, some workplaces don’t radiate happiness; instead, they ooze of a hostile work environment. 

What is a Toxic work environment?

A hostile work environment exists when offensive behavior or any form of harassment affects your ability to complete a job.

When someone’s behavior within a workplace creates an environment that’s uncomfortable for another person to work due to discrimination against religion, gender, race, age, disability, etc.

Every employer has a responsibility to prevent this from happening within the workplace. 

10 Ways to Identify a toxic Work Environment (Knowing When to Walk Away from a job)

1.Your Skills Aren’t Being Utilized

Does management look past you for high-profile projects or promotions?

Millennials have many hidden talents waiting to be utilized. Unfortunately, managers don’t realize what they have until it’s too late.

Instead of wasting potential on a role which might never pay off, find somewhere you’ll be respected.

2. Toxic Managers (hostile work environment bullying)

Sometimes, all it takes is a toxic work environment with a terrible manager to ruin a job.

Does your boss try to take control of every single thing you do or do they ask you to perform tasks that make you feel uncomfortable?

Always stay true to yourself and trust your instincts. If something is telling you the boss is asking too much or controlling every aspect of your day, it might be time to talk with HR or look for something new.

cool boss meme

3. Poor Communication 

Poor communication is often observed in toxic workplaces.

When you bring something up, does it get pushed aside (or ignored)? 

Receiving feedback and keeping an open dialogue at the front of your work relationship is critical. If you feel left out of the loop time and time again, look to address it!

Regardless of how your company is run, continue to bring up issues, thoughts, and ideas when the time is right. Don’t close down your communication because others do.

4. You Keep Saying “I’ll Quit”

We all experience the “I should quit” days, but how often do they occur?

When this happens, take a few deep breaths and get a good night’s rest. If the feeling continues, it might be time to look elsewhere.

If you wouldn’t suggest a friend work where you do, that might be another sign to move on and find something new.

5. High Turnover

What do individuals do when there’s a toxic work environment that isn’t addressed? They leave. 

When the work environment is dysfunctional, employees will start heading for the door to find greener grass.

If there’s a high turnover in your company, take that as a potential sign of a toxic workplace. Talk to your manager and address it or look to begin your search for a new job.


6. No Room For Growth

When looking into your future with a company, if there are no avenues to grow and develop, get out!

Dead-end jobs are uninspiring and will leave you wanting more for the foreseeable future.

If you find yourself getting paid less for the same work everyone else is doing, speak up! If nothing changes, look for somewhere that not only properly pays its employees, but takes general care of them as well.

7. You Don’t Get Along With Colleagues

Some people just don’t get along – that’s nothing new. If you’ve made an effort to be civil with your colleagues, and things still don’t work out, the culture might not be the right fit.

Start looking for something new!

Note: While interviewing, make sure to ask about the potential employer’s culture to make sure it’s a fit.

8. Personal Values Don’t Match

This should be easy to spot early on with your time at a company.

If an employer and its employees don’t see eye to eye around values, it might make for a rough 9 to 5 work schedule.

Do your homework before accepting any job. Read reviews on how the company runs by using a tool like Glassdoor.

9. Bad Attitudes 

Take a look around.

Is anyone happy in the office? Are there people chatting and smiling? Holding upbeat conversations? Is anyone talking at all? 

“No” to any of these answers either means everyone’s working really hard or the office could potentially be toxic.

When it comes to a toxic workplace, there’s often a common denominator: poor attitudes throughout the office. Even the most positive, upbeat employees can fall victim to this. 

If there’s poor morale, no enthusiasm, and a general feeling of unhappiness, look into getting out! It might be tough at times, but do your best to keep a positive attitude while in the workplace.

10. Drama-Filled Days 

Gossip and rumors seem to always find their way into the workplace, and they are often a breeding ground for a toxic work environment. 

They lead to misunderstandings, favoritism, and overall weak trust within the organization.

Make friends and socialize but refrain from talking about others in a negative way. Negatively talking about others never ends well. 

“Roughly 3 million Americans quit their jobs each month (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). That’s equivalent to the combined populations of Denver, Nashville, Sacramento, Atlanta, Miami, and Salt Lake City.”

— US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do you Handle A Toxic Work Environment? 

  • HR is there to help. If your boss or the workplace is truly hostile, make sure to speak with an HR representative right away.
  • Finding a new job can take some time, so regardless of wanting to walk away, it helps to create a plan to handle everything until you find something new. 
  • Relieve some of the stress by finding after-work activities. Go to the gym, learn something new, work on a hobby. The key here is to make sure your life outside of work can combat the negativity. 
  • Find someone to talk with. Whether this is another employee or a significant other, sharing your feelings is always a great outlet. 
  • Keep track of any negative or hostile situations at work. If you end up filing some complaint, they will ask for proof. 
  • Dust off and update your resume along with online profiles (LinkedIn). Waiting for someone to reach out to you for work isn’t the best approach. Job searching can be robust and an extensive process, so helping yourself along will only improve your chances of finding something sooner.

Can a toxic work environment make you sick?

Yes, toxic workplaces often lead to employee burnout and overall sickness due to high levels of stress.

If you’re constantly feeling sick and stressed out while in the office, it could be a good sign that you are exposed to a toxic work environment.

Can you quit a job without notice?

While it’s not recommended, it IS okay to quit a job on the spot (in certain situations). Under normal circumstances, it’s best to leave your employer on good terms by giving them a standard two week notice.

Are There Consequences Of Walking Out Of A Job?

Walking out of a job on the spot is okay but it may make the situation worse.

You won’t able to use the employer as a reference moving forward, you would likely be ineligible for unemployment, and any severance package you may have received if they were to let you go is also gone.

How do I explain why I quit to an employer?

During future interviews, employers will often ask why you left your last job.

While things might not have ended on good terms with a previous employer, it’s best to remain professional and stay away from speaking ill about them.

Instead, mention how your last role just wasn’t a good fit and then focus on why this new opportunity is. Keep it brief and move on!

Is walking out on a job considered quitting?

Walking out on a job is considered quitting even if you don’t provide the proper notice. Employees are entitled to walk out without letting their supervisors, coworkers or organizations know in advance.

What are some qualities of a bad manager?

There are several signs or qualities that might make for a bad manager. This includes things like: Lack of communication, inability to delegate, poor conflict resolution skills, unprofessional behavior, inability to adapt, and lack of transparency.

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your manager, it may be helpful to try to address them directly with the manager or bring them to the attention of a higher-level manager or HR.

Wrapping Up | walking off the job

If you’re working in a hostile work environment, motivation is at an all-time low, or “I’m quitting” has been on your mind – don’t be afraid to take action.

To recap, here are the 10 ways to identify a hostile work environment:

  • Your Skills Aren’t Being Utilized
  • Toxic Boss
  • Poor Communication
  • You Keep Saying “I’ll Quit”
  • High Turnover
  • No Room for Growth
  • You Don’t Get Along With Colleagues
  • Personal Values Don’t Match
  • Bad Attitudes
  • Drama Filled Days

None of these issues are acceptable and understanding the signs of a hostile work environment will allow you to move on from what could be a bad situation. 

Do your best to prepare before leaving your current job by researching and comparing other opportunities. Whether that’s going the entrepreneurial route or interviewing for other job openings, is up to you!

Best of luck!

Already quit? Try reaching out to a recruiter on LinkedIn or preparing your resume for the next job application!

Title: When to Walk Out of a Job

Category: theGuidance

Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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