The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Avoid an Abusive Workplace

The Most Important Thing You Can Do to Avoid an Abusive Workplace

Is it possible to avoid abusive workplaces?

Last week began a conversation with Isabella Mori of Change Therapy about bad work experiences. Isabella replied with her own examples and shared the first steps to get out of an abusive workplace. But was it possible to avoid that situation from the beginning?

Who is usually the biggest source of pain?

Isabella's clients have often come to her for help on dealing with:

  • A boss who's always yelling at you
  • A boss who gives you their personal tasks

See something in common?

Could it have been possible to anticipate a mean boss earlier?

Typical interview process

The typical interview process runs something like this:

  • You get interviewed by a human resources (HR) representative. If that goes well,
  • You get interviewed by your boss-to-be.
  • You get offered a contract or you don't.

This is how you want the interview to go

You need to learn everything you can about what life will be like in the workplace.

Instead of only ‘getting interviewed', interview your interviewers and in particular your future boss.

This should become your typical interview process:

  • You interview a human resources representative. You ask the HR rep. about life at the company, internal culture and how people get along.
  • You interview your boss-to-be. You ask about objectives, expectations, their management style and their communication practices. You try to confirm what HR already told you.
  • You accept the contract or you don't.

Bonus tip: Meet your colleagues

In certain jobs, you'll spend more time interacting with colleagues or team members than with your manager. If your co-workers can make your life a nightmare, you'll want to know as soon as possible.

In that case, you should add the following step to your interview process:

  • You interview (at least one of) your future colleagues i.e. the people that you'll be working most closely with. Ask about life in the company, working in the team, life with the boss, and try to confirm what the HR rep. and the boss have said so far.

Not every company will immediately be open to letting you meet your colleagues but insist on it where relevant.

Wrap up

A terrible workplace doesn't deserve you and Isabella's right when she says that your first step is to resign. Life is too short to put up with garbage and you CAN do better. It all depends on how you approach new companies.

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About the Author Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

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7 comments
Yehuda says

Nice piece. I agree with turning the tables on the interviewer and asking some questions of your own. One thing that worked well for me in the past was asking the interviewer to name what he/she likes and dislikes about working company. With the “dislikes”, I was cautioned in advance about some potential problems.

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bLuefRogX says

Very true, I previously was employed at company that had pretty good pay but not much else, the working environment was crappy but that was my fault for not researching things through. Thanks for the heads up and I’ll keep it in mind the next time I go job hunting 😀

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change therapy » Blog Archive » blog conversation: leaving bad work experiences behind says

[…] rightfully, that one of the reasons why we end up in bad work situations is because we didn’t ask the right questions in the job interview. or maybe we asked them and got a bad vibe to begin with and didn’t pay […]

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What is an Information Interview? says

[…] Continuing our blog conversation about bad work experiences, Isabella Mori recommends using an information interview to scout out companies that seem to have the values and work culture you’d like. The key is setting up a lightning-fast interview where you get a chance to ask a few questions about the company’s practices and decide in advance if they’d be a bad place to work. […]

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Neardark says

I did have a bad feeling about this job – not w/ the interview or the interviewer(she was very nice & no longer w/the company!) – but rather the suddeness of the job offer….it was offered on Weds nite – to start Monday. I couldnt give a 2 wk notice. Felt pressured, by the $$ & my hubby. Should never ever have taken it! This woman is insulting, abusive(sometimes throws things)…demanding beyond human reason. I have never experienced anything like this (not even my abusive marriage!). I can quit…but the job market is bad (& she KNOWS it!). I feel like a mouse trapped in a maze. I have not been there 2 yrs & they have gone through 18+ employees (I have 6 I have had to train in my department alone!)

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Neardark says

I would like to clarify…my PREVIOUS abusive marriage. This hubby is a doll! 🙂

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Kate says

Best advice ever.

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