Stay in a Bad Work Culture? When It (Surprisingly) Makes Sense

A beat-up businessman in the jungle shoring that there are few times when it makes sense to stay in a bad work culture

Should You Ever Stay in a Bad Work Culture?
Some people decide to stay in a bad work culture even though bad work cultures are unhealthy.  At the least they drain the self-confidence and the motivation of employees to do their best; at the worst they are abusive, demeaning and unfair.  A bad work culture can threaten your health and wellbeing.

The Definition of Work Culture
We define work culture as how things truly get done in an organization.  Work culture can be measured by understanding the way people think, behave and work.  This includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors.

Work culture is what new employees need to learn to be “accepted as a member” and what makes the organization “feel and act” like itself.

Four Situations Where It Surprisingly Makes Sense to Stay in a Bad Work Culture
While it is easy to suggest that no one should stay in a bad work culture, employees tell us there are some situations where it might make sense to stay in that bad cultural jungle a little bit longer.

1.  You Can Make a Difference
Is there something you are in a position to do that will quickly and vastly improve the situation? Perhaps there is an unsafe condition in the workplace that has upset and turned away employees over time but has just come to your attention. If it is something that you can change simply and practically overnight, don’t abandon ship.

Make the change and use your influence for good to see that the environment steadily improves.

2.  You Can Stay with the Company but in a Different Capacity
Is it just your team and manager that are dragging you down? Might there be a safer, less stressful role on another team?  Weigh your options.If you are committed to the organization and its mission as a whole, it might make sense to stay…but in another role and with a different team and better manager.

3.  Things Are on the Upswing
As bad as the workplace environment has been, you see slow but steady improvement.  It might be worth your while to capitalize on the time you have contributed at the firm and bide your time as the cultural toxins in the workplace dissipate.

4.  You Are Not Ready to Lose Your Investment
You have invested time at the company and gained expertise in your field. Think about your career as a whole.  Does it make sense to continue to learn what you can while you can?

If your answer is “yes,” set a deadline to reconsider.  If the culture is truly unhealthy, do not trade on your own well-being.  Give it a bit of time but don’t stay just because you are reluctant to make a change.  Change can be good…for you and for your career.

The Bottom Line
If you choose to stay in a bad work culture, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.  Be honest with yourself.  Evaluate the impact of the negative culture on you, your family and your career.  If the balance tips toward your risking your own physical and mental health, get out.  As one door closes, another, and likely better, one will open.

To learn more about good and bad work cultures, download Top 5 High Performance Culture Warning Signs

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