Bad Job Experiences: How To Raise Your Self-Esteem & Recover

Career development Mar 16, 2021

Most of us may have had bad work experiences, either because the boss was toxic or we ended up making coffee for our colleagues instead of being one of the team's primary members.

Our job significantly affects our whole life. Self-esteem and confidence are shaken due to a traumatizing and uncomfortable work environment.

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This feeling doesn't stay only at work since the unpleasant experiences can be brought at home, leisure time, or anything else that has to do with your personal life.

And then you make the brave decision to escape this situation!

What are your next steps?

For sure, you shouldn't look for a new job to cure your wounds. Getting a new position doesn't mean your mindset will change dramatically since you need time to "heal" yourself.

Follow the steps below to start a recovery process, raise your confidence, and eliminate the negativity your previous job caused to avoid poisoning the new opportunities.

5 Steps to Recover from a Bad Job Experience

Recovering after emerging from an abusive environment may be difficult, but also possible. It takes time, but with deliberate actions and specific steps, you can start "picking up the pieces".

Step #1: Show Yourself Kindness

Treat yourself with love and kindness, and acknowledge your values. You should always have a moment to "breath" and relax. Scale back your responsibilities and focus on your self-care.

Take time to think about any wrong decision you made and be as compassionate to yourself as you can to repel any sign of criticism.

Step #2: Dare to Level Down

Most of the time, we consider leaving a job, even a terrible one, as a personal failure.

That's because we define ourselves through our job positions/ titles.

However, after a bad experience, we should recall the person we used to be, level down our job goals for a while, and return to an earlier stage.

A new hobby/ interest rather than immediately searching for a new job would always give us the time to drive away any bad habit we adopted due to the previous experience and allow ourselves to recover.

Step #3: Improve Your Self-assessment

Practice positive self-talking.

Act like an outside observer and evaluate yourself.

In case you spot a lot of self-deprecating comments, or you tend to undermine your abilities, you have to practice rewarding yourself and starting to deflect credits for your accomplishments.

Push the negativity away and give space for more confidence and self-knowledge.

You can also make an online "Free Strengths Test" and study your results.

It immediately improves your confidence and self-worth.

Step #4; Examine & Focus on Your Strengths

Remember when was the last time you used one of these strengths in your personal or professional life, achieving a positive outcome.

Write down your thoughts and read them loudly.

Now, feel free to embrace yourself for each one of these attainments. List your strengths and achievements, and repeat this procedure every few days, without feeling embarrassed.

Step #5: Practice Your Strengths

To help your self-worth recover, look for opportunities to satisfy other people in various ways. Even with a delightful dinner, if you are a talented cook or by offering yourself to help a friend with a chore.

You may feel sneaky by feeding your ego, but this is what you need right now, and it's ok to do so this time. Whatever eliminates self-doubt is an acceptable practice.

In conclusion, after you've been in a toxic work environment, it requires time to recover and rebuild your confidence.

Once you succeed in taking this experience as a learning process, you'll recognize what reaction you wish to improve or avoid in any similar future situation.

Keep in mind that you're not the only one who had bad work experiences, so you shouldn't feel afraid of talking about it with your peer.

Instead, it might help find some people with similar experiences, discuss them, and get a broader perspective, contributing to overcoming it.

However, despite all the effort made to recover and rebuild your self-esteem, as the time to look for a new job gets closer, you feel more afraid of facing the same hated experience.

Going from fear to acceptance is the last step you need to do before getting a new job.

In other words, you have to accept that your next job could indeed be another toxic situation.

You never know if you'll meet a toxic boss or work environment, but what you do know is how to handle difficult situations.

Even the worst scenario could be to work for a short period in an unpleasant environment until you leave and find something else.

Although, you have to remember that there are techniques that help you deal with a difficult situation without endangering your self-worth and inner peace.

5 Techniques to Turn a Bad Job Experience Into a Learning Point and Create a Positive Workplace Culture

What if you tried to improve your odds using the lessons you took from the unpleasant work experiences? Following some techniques, you can avoid a similar situation in the future or at least make your workplace more manageable.

Technique #1: Look for Friends in Your Work Environment

The human's physical trend is to be social. You are not paid only to do your job and isolate yourself into an office. Try to make friends with colleagues, be communicative, be nice to them, show interest in their lives, and you won't lose.

Don't forget that there is always the possibility of needing help from someone, or just a person to talk to when you are in a bad mood.

A friendly work environment contributes to team spirit.

And, you never know...

You might discover some real friends among your colleagues!

Technique #2: Stop Trying to Please People in Authority

You can negotiate with the manager things you desire to do and achieve better. You don't have to accept everything your boss asks you to do since they always will ask for more.

Collaborate with your colleagues to share the responsibilities. Doing so will also allow you to find out people who would do some jobs better than you and yet actually like them.

Technique #3: Negotiate Your Salary

Surveys revealed that a significant amount of people fear negotiating their salary. To get the pay you deserve without looking greedy is necessary to know the going rate for your position not only in your company, but also in the specific industry and the geographic area.

Even if you feel uncomfortable, discussing your salary improves your image since many managers expect their employees to evaluate what they have to offer. You never know what opportunities may be available for you in the future, even if the negotiation ends up declining.

Technique #4: When a Problem Arises, Don't Isolate Yourself

Communication is a crucial factor in problem-solving.

Discussing an unpleasant situation or a misunderstanding with the person who is the central part of the problem will probably contribute to a positive work environment and promote teamwork. Set your negative feelings and your disappointment aside.

Instead of thinking that this unwanted work ethic in the organization is your fault, show some courage and share your struggles with others. It is more likely to find the solution you're looking for sooner and feel relieved.

Technique #5: Loyalty Has Its Limits

Give a bad situation a couple of tries, but if there are no improvements and all the signs are there that the organization is going down, you have to save your own life.

You should watch what is happening mindfully to escape in time and avoid connecting yourself with a bad reputation. Don't allow your fear of the unknown to stop you from quitting a job in a "sinking ship" company.


Given the points above, even the worst work experience can be considered a learning one. It may take time to recover and get your self-esteem back, but you will feel more powerful to deal with similar situations once you reach this level.

Don't let any toxic experience define the rest of your career.

Following the preceding tactics, you make sure that you can handle any miserable situation that arises, turning it into a tolerable one, at least for the short-term.

The long-term solution is always to find or create a positive workplace culture.



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