Career Blockage.When we become TOXIC without realizing it!

22 April 2021

The internet is full of articles that teach us how to recognize a toxic work environment or how to manage toxic professionals or leaders in the workplace but you can’t find too many resources on how to manage your own person / behavior when you have become the toxic one!

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I have met professionals capable of managing complex changes in the businesses they serve, but when it comes to initiating job or career changes, they hesitate even though their souls are crying out for change!

Why ? The reasons can be diverse:

1) Fear of failure. Your validation as a professional, your performance can be easily  obtained in a familiar environment where you have learned how to influence the system. The major change of role/employer or career – puts in front of you a mirror that no longer shows only what you want to see … Your inner critic comes into operation more powerful than ever!

2) Lack of awareness of the value you can generate TODAY as a professional. In the past 7 years I worked in career transitions processes with many professionals who, after years of operating in the same company, in the same organizational culture, were unable to verbalize what makes them different and unique! And although there is an inner curiosity to compare themselves with other professionals from  the market in which they operate – when they have the opportunity to validate themselves in a different environment – they retreat to the comfort zone, they  avoid opportunities! Sometimes they  have difficulties to extract their own valuable business stories, to verbalize their own uniqueness and professional imprint.

3) Financial reasons. It is also difficult for those who have a salary and benefits package well above the market average, a recognized professional status, many benefits adjacent to the current role, or financial obligations that make them dependent on a certain salary level. Why is it difficult? Because their souls are shouting something else. Because  their mind is looking for new challenges or is fighting with job routine.

As I  told you in my past articles: we don’t really use the word ~soul~ in a business context – how could you seriously and professionally argue certain decisions in a business presentation/meeting because … the soul demands it of you. We debate soul related issues  with our  mentors, friends, family and loved ones in general.

But significant career changes often express the needs of our own soul! How often do you listen to that inner “noise”?

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Sometimes we ignore our own calling and pretend to be well, we go to yoga, take care of small hobbies, family and generally set ourselves on autopilot. For some, there is a day when they finally say “I am ready – I’m going on my new path starting today!” For others it may never come … At one point in life they will retire and they will continue to ask themselves “What if…?”

Seven years ago I was in this situation. I was a Vice President in a company with a global footprint, the business was going great, my team was generating impressive numbers, I was traveling a lot – only for a while I found myself staring at the office walls dreaming of something else. That something didn’t even have a contour in my mind, but I was looking for it and when the thought of change makes you go around, it’s hard to go back … And although I made impactful decisions every day, I was unable to make a decision about the next level of my career. And this inability of me to make a significant career change, inadvertently turned me into a toxic leader, the kind of leader I didn’t want as a boss! Luckily, I realized this aspect relatively quickly and to be fair in relation with others and with myself – I made an important transition for me, that of creating my own business! Seven years have passed since then and hundreds lessons have been learned. No regrets.

Today I find this kind of toxicity in those with a drifting career. Their non-verbalized frustrations sometimes make them become grumpy and conflicted at work and beyond. Any change in the status quo, any innocent opinion can become a subject of opposition and energy consumed unconstructivelyAre you becoming one of them?

Here are some signs that you have become a toxic person at work:

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 If you find yourself in some of the behaviors mentioned above, maybe it’s time to have an honest discussion with yourself and go to the root of your dissatisfaction. Try to analyze your recent conflicts, your behaviors, your reactions through the prism of a journalist.

What exactly happened? Who are the players? What are the specific facts? What is the impact of those facts and behaviors? What conclusion would you draw as a journalist, an objective person who relates and concludes based on what actually happened? What do you detect in this version that you haven’t told yourself before? What are you ready to take on?

What is the cost of your inaction regarding your career? What support system do you need now to engage in this transition to be on your way and not on the path decided by others? Do you have mentors, a coach or a development plan in place?

 Being a toxic professional can produce a void of teammates around you on the one hand, it can affect your personal brand within the organization, may limit your career option and last but not least – it can affect your health!

Is inaction or postponed career decision a good option for you now? Share your story with me!

Stay healthy and determined to follow your own path! 

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