Are you working in a truly hostile environment? I include the word truly because I do want you to be sure about it. Hostility is actually borderline illegal. If you find yourself in a situation where some time of abuse (verbal, emotional, mental and/or physical) is going on, seek out someone to give you advice on how to sift through what to do. You should NEVER be subject to hostility in your personal life or work life. Period.
The next level of challenges falls into the gray area of a “hostile work environment”. If you find yourself in a situation where your boss or the owner of the company has put unrealistic expectations on your tasks there might be a reason for it. I am not saying it is a good reason but hang in with me that there might be a reason for it. Trying to cut through all the hype and better understand what is going on can help you uncover the root of the problem. Making assumptions based on what other people are saying is not getting to the root of the problem. Asking good questions of your manager, the manager above him/her and even the CEO or executive leader above them is your goal. Don’t be scared to speak with any of these people no matter what level they are at. They put their clothes on one pant leg at a time just like you do.
So how do you figure out if a new job opportunity might be a very tough environment to work in? The answer lies in the questions you were a little too scared to ask when your gut was telling you that something was not right during the interview. You the candidate should be looking for subtle clues on what type of situation you are moving into. If a hiring manager pulls a bait and switch tactic on you to get you in their organization, there are potentially legal grounds you could consider. Baiting and switching is a term used in both hiring and sales type functions. Don’t be scared to fight it.
Asking some really good questions about expectations on work load, hours worked, overtime, lateral and up the ladder movement are all good things to ask about. When a hiring manager answers these type of questions, they might give you some clues to what they are going to expect. Take very good notes and even repeat the information back to them if you can.
Never put yourself in a hostile work environment. Never take hostile treatment from anyone no matter who they are. You are better than that. You deserve better and don’t you EVER forget that.
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