Toxic Work Environment? How To Manage Your Departure.


You want to protect your interests in leaving a toxic workplace. It is stressful enough to have to work there, you don’t need the additional discomfort of negativity focused at you because you choose to leave your employer.

Most employers are fair and supportive of their people. Some employers use different, manipulative tactics to manage their staff. Their management style is confrontative and intimidating.

Some employers take it personally when you resign, and if your work life wasn’t difficult enough, they then decide to make your time remaining less than pleasant to ‘reward’ you for your disloyalty. This can take the form of subtle or pointed remarks, meetings to pressure you into telling them where you are going to work next, and having colleagues do the same.

Here’s where the need for patience and perseverance comes in.

You don’t want to give any reason to your soon-to-be ex-employer to mishandle an employment reference, final paycheque or vacation pay, or any other process required to separate cleanly from the company.

You return all company property, surrender all papers of strategic importance, and bring your files up to date, helping your colleagues, eliminating any justification for meetings where your integrity, competence, or honesty are called into question. Your departure does create a problem that your boss has to solve however in finding your replacement. That frustration may surface in these types of meetings.

If you get an exit interview with HR, restrain the urge to lay blame and point fingers. Instead, describe in neutral, constructive terms what steps the company can take to improve how it serves its customers and supports its employees.

Pleasant manners succeed even with difficult people.

Your peace of mind is more important, so disengaging emotionally from whatever is being said, keeping your eye on the goal of the better life that awaits you at your new employer, and letting go of your grievances is in your best interests.

“Endurance is patience concentrated” – Thomas Carlyle


Quitting Without Notice: Taking A Stand, Or Rolling The Dice?

Rolling red dice

Quitting without notice is an impulsive decision that happens in the heat of the moment, and affects your career progress.

This may seem like an exercise in common sense and obvious advice, but people incur unforeseen problems when they take that stand. Quitting without giving notice is an avoidable mistake. You are taking a gamble with your security and reputation.

You realize that due to poor communication or treatment, there is no light at the end of this particular tunnel. Promises have been broken, and you see no path forward with your present employer.

Frustration builds until one day you say to yourself that you’re done, get up, march out of the office and vow not to return. You figure that you’ll just get another job. You rationalize to yourself that you won’t give notice, you’ll just up and quit and they can send the separation papers in the mail.

Stop. Reconsider what you are doing. This isn’t serving your best interests.

It isn’t a good idea to make any decision based on emotions. In a cooler frame of mind you’ll see that there are certain disadvantages to leaving without notice that outweigh whatever degree of satisfaction or relief that you feel about just getting out of there.

Why you shouldn’t leave your job suddenly without a backup plan in place:

  • Leaving a job without another job in the wings is assuming that you will be rehired in short order
  • Neglecting to give adequate notice will often affect the employment reference you receive
  • Not giving notice may be seen as being unmanageable or impulsive
  • Your decision-making and judgment may be called into question by a potential employer
  • The salary range offered to you may be less than you expect because you are now between jobs
  • Hiring managers have a hard time understanding why someone would just up and quit
  • Your stability and reliability may be suspect
  • Leaving your employer in the lurch also affects the interests of the customers of the company.
  • A potential new employer will think twice—what stops you doing this with their customers in the future?

A long term employee leaving suddenly creates significant impact.

As tough as your current situation is, you owe it to yourself to find and secure a good employer before you leave your present one. There are greener pastures to consider.

It may take a little time but the effort is worth it when you make a smooth transition to a better future.

Changing Jobs? Look Before You Leap.

Gold Fish Jumping to Empty Bowl

It’s tempting to jump to a new opportunity, just make sure you are landing in the right place.

What are some issues to explore when deciding on moving from one job to another?


  • How frequently have they advertised and hired for the position you are considering?
  • What are their thoughts about the person leaving/who left the position?
  • How is their stock doing if they are publicly traded?
  • Have they had any downsizing in key divisions, recently?
  • Have they had frequent management changes at the top tier?
  • Are they targets for takeover, or have they been in the news about being purchased?
  • Have they been purchased by a firm outside of their industry sector?
  • Have they lost major clients in the past year?


  • Are they involved in class-action lawsuits, or high profile individual lawsuits?
  • In discussions with them, what corporate image do they identify strongly with?
  • How are their business practices viewed within their industry sector?
  • What do websites like have in the way of reviews/opinions about the company?


  • How compatible are your skills and experience to the demands of the job?
  • What is the chemistry like between you and your future manager?
  • When you ask them what they look for in people they hire, do you identify with their preferences?
  • Are the time demands of the work compatible with your personal commitments?


  • Is the company growing, and do they discuss future plans for the company’s growth?
  • Have they expanded recently in terms of products or services offered, or into new trade regions?
  • Where and how have they grown in the last two years?
  • What do financial publications say about their numbers, results or projections?


  • What do they say when you ask how long employees typically stay in this job?
  • What do they look at when deciding on future advancement?
  • How are salary increases decided on, and are they merit or performance based?
  • Do they support reimbursement for pursuing relevant industry educations courses?


  • How do they describe their company culture and the people who fit within it?
  • What are their values, community involvement, and causes they support, publicly?
  • What do your interviewers say when you ask them why they like to work there?
  • Are they a collaborative company culture, with a strong team spirit?
  • Is the business philosophy task and process oriented, or is there a strong focus on client service?

A lot of your research can be done through various trade publications that you can find through our 2015 Resources page:

Attitudes in an interview influence a hiring decision.

Hiring managers are alert to signs that a potential employee may harbour inappropriate attitudes. They look for signals indicating a temperament, personality or expectations that are misaligned with the position’s challenges.

What are some of the attitudes that raise red flags in an interview?

  • Entitlement

Entitled candidates project the expectation that employers will accede to their demands and that they can check off a wish list of employment conditions that they have. The reality is that most hiring situations involve negotiating in a spirit of goodwill and compromise.

  • Unrealistic salary expectations

Making quantum leaps in salary from job to job is perceived by most employers as unrealistic. When they see candidates asking for significantly higher than average salary increases, they begin reconsidering. This impression is reinforced if the candidate’s overall experience and knowledge base is out of line with their expectations.

  • Lack of enthusiasm and interest

Employers want to hire motivated people and they stay away from candidates who don’t display interest in the opportunity under discussion. People who show interest, ask relevant questions, show willingness to take on more responsibility, and who have a team player’s mentality will move forward.

  • Inflexibility or lack of cooperation

Inflexibility is broadcast when candidates balk at considering overtime, or extending themselves beyond the core job description. An expressed willingness to do whatever is required to benefit the team or the department is always a positive point to bring up in an interview.

  • Negative comments about past employers

Speaking negatively about past employers always raises red flags. The interview starts wondering about the candidate’s manageability, and whether they will create dissension in the department. If you have negative feelings, make a decision to let go of them, even if they are justified. This is in your best interests.

Positive attitudes make the human connection stronger.

Weather A Career Crisis And Emerge Stronger From It.

Unexpected events like downsizing and being restructured happen to the best of people, and this type of shock can temporarily affect your career progress.

The setback and challenges involved can seem daunting. Don’t be discouraged. No one can take away from you your genuine achievements.

These situations often serve as a catalyst for change that might otherwise not have happened, and in the end they often serve to increase your strength and purpose.

As recruiters, we see countless scenarios where one door closes and one door opens for people who keep their cool and decide to see the opportunity represented of being forced by circumstance to choose a new direction.

Those who choose not to allow a feeling of victimization to colour their interactions with others, and who decide instead to spur themselves forward with positive determination invariably end up finding the opportunity that is right for them.

If you remain calm and persevering, you will find the right doors opening for you.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford

The Courage To Tell The Truth

If you were terminated for cause from your previous position for any reason, be upfront about it. Admittedly, this is hard to do and it requires moral strength. Honesty and integrity are character strengths that are valued by all fair-minded employers, and your courage to tell the truth without spinning the facts will gain the respect of the interviewer. If they see self-awareness and accountability in your attitude toward mistakes made, they may choose to give you the opportunity to prove yourself once again. Sincerity can overcome many obstacles.

If you were terminated for circumstances beyond your control, such as global restructuring or downsizing, ensure that you have your termination letter with you. If your ex-employer didn’t provide one, obtain it from the human resources department of the company, or your ex-manager if company policy permits this.

If you left due to a “mutual parting of ways”, clarify what led to your departure. If it was a lack of chemistry with a new manager, differences in opinion of business procedure, their expectations of performance not realized, describe the situation objectively, in few words. Simple honesty communicates clearly to other people, and your sincerity will be transmitted to the interviewer.