Avoid toxic environments

Dear new developer,

Avoid toxic workplaces. I wish I didn’t have to write this, but there are enough stories out there (here’s a few on HackerNews) that I feel I should.

How do you know? If you have to ask if an environment is toxic, it probably is.

There are levels of toxicity, of course. Fundamentally it is about a lack of trust between you and the organization, but can take many forms. Some blatant indicators:

  • yelling
  • belittling
  • disrespect
  • verbal abuse
  • throwing things
  • empty promises

Avoid these kind of environments. If you come across one while interviewing, give it a pass.

If you accidentally find yourself in one (after all, you could have misread signals in an interview or the situation at a once-happy company could degrade) leave ASAP.

You may not recognize you are in a toxic workplace, but your body might. Listen to yourself. Notice how you feel about going into work. Having a bad day here and there is not unusual, but regularly dreading work is an indicator; dig deeper and try to understand why.

Or try other ways to gain insight. Track your mood on a scale from one to ten for a month or two. Keep a journal if that’s your bent. Ask your friends for feedback on how you like the position and how your mood is.

Avoid toxic workplaces. You may learn some skills but it will come at an emotional cost.

Sincerely,

Dan