Guest Post by Melissa Martini
“You should try to stay for a year, at least,” I was told any time I expressed unhappiness at my old job. I was crying at my desk daily, but the fear of being viewed as a “job hopper” kept me at an abusive company for many more months than toxic workplaces are worth.
Unfortunately, that job was also in recruiting – so I know firsthand just how poorly job hoppers are viewed by recruiters & talent acquisition professionals. Unreliable, inconsistent, and self-centered were just some of the things I heard others call job hoppers. But that wasn’t me. I’m a reliable and responsible hard worker – when I’m treated properly.
These abusive, toxic workplaces are part of a larger mental health crisis fueled by poor work-life balance. It wasn’t easy leaving that job – it was traumatic in and of itself, especially with how much uncertainty I was left with once unemployed. How would potential employers view me after learning that I’d resigned from my last position?
The Mental Health Toll Of Toxic Workplaces
Other millennials my age are quitting their jobs, with many attributing their decision to being “burned out.” In fact, 89% of those who quit their job or planned to quit their job said they felt “burned out and unsupported.”
With 70% of all workers and 86% of Gen-Z workers experiencing discrimination or abusive behavior at work, it’s obvious we aren’t resigning for fun. The decision to quit stems from a deep need to escape the emotional and psychological toll of abusive bosses, oppressive cultures, and excessive workloads.
Research even says that over 57% of unhappy employees leave their jobs because of their bosses. We’re starting to take notes from the even younger generations. Gen Z has stopped seeing their “sense of self or stats as a human being” as being “tied to what [they] do for work.”
Believing there is more to life than the “work you do” or the “money you make” has allowed Millenials and other generations to let go of the fear of being judged for resigning. If HR wants to build a successful team at their company, it’s crucial to take note of and understand these generation differences, because change is happening – job hopping is in, and staying at abusive companies is out.
Dealing With Bad Bosses And Cultivating Healthy Work Environments
I’ll say it again: we aren’t resigning for fun. We aren’t resigning because we don’t want to work (who DOES?). We’re resigning because companies and bosses are treating us like shit and we can’t do it anymore – and the younger generations are showing us that we’re worth more than how boomers treat us in corporate America. So what can companies do to cultivate a healthy culture and deal with abusive bosses?
Start off by establishing clear policies and procedures that not only promote healthy values but also address any inequalities or disrespectful behavior that has been occurring behind the scenes. These procedures should also include support and resources for affected employees, such as providing them with access to mental health services.
If there are any managers resistant to change, do something. Don’t just ignore the issues. Focus on training and educating your leadership teams to help them develop the skills needed to encourage a healthier workplace environment. By first educating employees with training programs that explain the importance of mental health, you can then create a team that recognizes and addresses the signs of toxic workplace behavior.
Resigning from a toxic work environment is difficult, especially in a challenging job market. However, we are increasingly prioritizing our mental health and well-being over unstable employment. It is crucial for employers to recognize the damaging effects of toxic work environments and take proactive steps to prevent them.
By fostering a healthy workplace culture, providing support, and addressing toxic behavior, employers can create an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to thrive. Remember, resignation is often an act of survival, and prioritizing mental health is essential for personal growth and overall well-being.
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.