Years back I decided to leave my job. I could no longer see where my work ends and my private life begins. Not to go into many details, it was a stressful experience resulting in anxiety and low self-esteem. It just felt like all my previous achievements had never taken place!

After telling my boss about leaving and pursuing something else he told me: “You will not make it. You are not qualified for it. You will not find a better job than what you already have. Your decision is not reasonable.” 

No matter how hard it was, I left – devastated and afraid of failing.

To my later surprise, I did make it! I got a good job! The decision to leave was more than reasonable, and I am so glad I didn’t hesitate!

If you have read this article so far, you probably know what a strong grip toxic workplace relationships can have on you. It can leave you wondering whether you are a good professional at all, saying the least.

So, in the break between leaving the job and entering a new position, is there a way to get back on track again? The consequences of unhealthy leadership vary for each individual, however, there are five practical steps you can take to gain back some confidence as a professional:

1. Appreciate what you have learned!

Think of your achievements and victories in your career so far, write them down and reread them, if needed. The good things didn’t just happen by an accident. You made them happen! Appreciate your growth, new skills you’ve learned despite all the relational setbacks! 

2. Remind yourself of your strengths!

Take a Strength-finders test (you can find these tests online) to remind you of your gifting!

3. Find out your core values.

Similar to gardening, work environments are very different and they either bring out the best of us or suppress us. When our values are somewhat similar to our workplace’ values, we will most likely thrive. There are many ways to find out what your core values are. For example, think of somebody that you deeply respect. Why do you respect and admire him/her? Is it because he/she is authentic (your values may be authenticity, genuineness, sincerity), smart (intelligence, practicality, knowledge, study), a risk taker (freedom, exploration, spontaneity), creative (creativity, exploration, artistic, beauty), productive (efficiency, focus, achievement, financial independence), etc.? We are unconsciously looking for a place, a leader, a boss, who is somewhat sharing the same values, and we thrive when our values are similar to our team’s values.

4. Acknowledge the need for recovering.

Find a mentor, a therapist, a pastor, a life coach to talk it all through! Unfold your negative feelings and let a professional help you to walk it through. Your unresolved experience may influence how you see your potential/ new colleagues and respond to challenges there.

5. See if you are dealing with “Transference Feelings”.

If having trouble getting along with your boss or a colleague feels like a pattern you experience from job to job, you may be having ‘Transference Feelings.’ It is when you experience feelings in the present situations that really belong to some unresolved conflicts in the past. For example, a relationship with your boss may be tapping into hurt from the past authority relationships, such as parents, teachers, older siblings or others. If you happen to have strong reactions to someone, take some time and see if these feelings are familiar and remind you of someone from the past. Did your teacher or dad treat you like that? Do they have the same personality traits as your current boss has? Being aware of your feelings helps to see others for who they really are.

You and your skills are needed! Your personality and gifting can make this world a better place! You have what it takes!