A toxic job can take a huge toll on your mental health, as I recently experienced this first-hand. I quit my toxic job without anything lined up back in 2020...in the middle of a pandemic!
If you’re in a similar situation, it can be really hard to make the decision to leave. When I left mine, I had no other job lined up, but I had realized that parting ways was the only right choice as it had come to my breaking point.
Are you constantly feeling anxious at work? Is it hard to get out of bed? Do you feel burned out? Do you feel undervalued at your company? Have you started to dislike the work you once loved? Maybe you never ever liked the work you did. Do you find yourself questioning quitting, but talk yourself out of it every time?
This was me…
Here are some signs of a toxic workplace:
Discrimination, verbal abuse and very limited praise or recognition
There was little to no work-life balance and hustle culture was encouraged
You have a toxic boss / co-workers / management
Lack of empathy / dysfunction from leaders
Extremely poor communication.
Gossip, cliques and bullying
High turnover rate
No growth opportunities
If you've followed me throughout my journey these last five years in LA, you may know how hard I worked to get to where I am now. In my eyes, I had felt like I made it to some degree. I was working my second job in the entertainment industry in PR that I thought was my dream.
I was learning so much every single day from key players in the industry. I was not just working with some of my favorite celebrities, but I was texting, emailing and taking them to red carpets. These celebrities were actually my clients and I get to support them with their publicity needs? I couldn't believe it.
I became very good at my job as a publicity assistant in our talent division at a public relations agency and was mostly loving it all.
Before I accepted a job in the industry, did I already hear so many rumors about the entertainment industry being like this? Yes, but I did not believe it until I lived it.
I won't go into too many details about why it was so toxic, but just think of the movie The Devil Wears Prada. I was literally Anne Hathaway. I wish I was joking...
Quitting my toxic job in 2020 with nothing lined up was the scariest thing I had ever done in my life. I second guessed myself so many times. I knew I was making the right decision when my mother said I should, because she would never advise me to go without having a job somewhere else.
Here are my five steps for leaving a toxic job:
Make the decision to quit and stick with it. Resist the urge to go back on your word. This was really hard for me!
Research and brainstorm what you need at your next company to be happy. Be picky!
Let your manager know in a professional and graceful way. Maintain your professionalism, give two weeks notice and don’t burn any bridges
TRUST yourself. Everything happens for a reason and a better opportunity is waiting for you out there.
Ask yourself what have you always wanted to do? In your free-time when you aren't applying to new jobs and interviewing start the project you never had time for. I launched a podcast during mine.
Alright back to the story...
We were in the middle of a pandemic. I was working in entertainment and thought this is what I love to do. I knew I deserved WAY more than what I was being given in this job and knew it was time to go. My boss was not happy at all about my decision. I had assistants of my celebrity clients CALLING ME when they heard the news saying that I can't leave and what will people do without me. At this moment I felt over the moon. My clients felt the value of all my accomplishments and I never once had this feeling from my coworkers or managers. Honestly, it's more important in the long run that those people know me and the amazing work I did.
So now I'm jobless, in the middle of the pandemic...but free from this toxic environment. What next?!
I started applying, researching and interviewing!
You will most likely be asked why you left your previous job, so I’ve got you covered. Here’s how I would respond. I also never disclosed how long I was unemployed for, as they do not need to know this.
“I am looking for a great work culture that’s more aligned with my values.”
“There were limited growth opportunities and I’m looking for a company that I can grow with.”
I was having trouble finding a new job and the thoughts that I made the wrong decisions were always in my head. I remember crying to my mom and my boyfriend saying maybe I should have stuck it out. I'm so glad I didn't. I just kept reminding myself that I'm scared, but God has a plan for me. It will all come into place.
Meanwhile, I'm living for months on ONLY my income I made from my blog, acting jobs and watching dogs. It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in LA yet. I was scrambling to make rent every month. But, I did it. I made it work. How cool is that? I survived several months without an actual full-time salary in one of the most expensive cities.
And then finally it came. After many interviews, two other job offers that I didn't take, because they weren't the right fit, I had landed my next role.
Let me pause for one minute to tell you that I could tell these two other job offers were going to be a similar work environment as my last one. The people were even rude to me when I kindly declined their offer. Sorry, I'd rather pass up working with 21 Savage or Doja Cat than having to report to Cruella De Vil and making little money doing so.
I connected with a recruiting company called Aquent and landed a first round interview. After a few weeks, I found out I was hired as the Publicity Coordinator at Hollywood Records / Disney Music. OMG! I love PR and have been trying to step foot in the music industry and it was all coming together. This role was the absolute perfect fit for me and I couldn't be more ecstatic.
I was being kind of picky in this job process, but only because I knew what I wanted. This would be my third job in the industry and I had always dreamed of working in music. I had wanted my next job to be in music, because that is what I'm most passionate about and I landed one at DISNEY? I've been a huge Disney fan since I was a kid.
It’s been one year since I’ve been at the most amazing role yet in my entertainment industry career. I don’t have one bad thing to say about it. I work with the BEST team, I love supporting our music artists in public relations and I finally feel like I’m treated the way I deserve to be treated.