Are You Ready to Leave an Unfulfilling Work Environment?



Since we’re still in January, may of us are trying to figure out where we want to go next, how we want to get there, and who will help us on this journey. Many of us ask ourselves if we’re in an unfulfilling work environment before we look inward to self-reflect.

The real question here is, who do you want to become?  

For that, we want to look at three areas:

  1. Your current environment and whether it supports your goals.
  2. How you show up in that environment and where you need to show up differently.
  3. How to course correct so you can get back on a path that’s best for you.

Here are five articles to help you out of an unfulfilling work environment.

1. How toxic is your workplace exactly?

Here are six behaviors that will keep showing up if you work in a toxic environment. As this Inc. article says, 61% of employees said that workplace stress has made them sick. If you find that you’re affected by three or more of these behaviors, you’ll need to take action. So what’s a person to do? Evaluate whether it’s healthy to stay. If you can’t leave (due to any number of circumstances) then start setting strong boundaries. This is not easy but it is in your control and can lead to change.

2. At Netflix, radical transparency and a blunt culture.

On the other side of the coin is this Wall Street Journal article about Netflix and it’s culture. While on the outside, it may appear that the culture is cut-throat and toxic, their retention rates are high, and the people who left, or were asked to leave, still praised the company (“at least I can say I worked at Netflix”). Very successful companies with high growth, like Netflix, can afford to have a strong results-driven culture. So what’s the lesson? Well, that’s up to you. I would find this culture difficult to navigate and smack of an unfulfilling work environment, but others might like the rules of engagement. Decide for yourself what kind of culture fits your ambition and find your tribe.

3. Getting to the bottom of destructive behavior.

We all have a self-destructive side. There is something inside us that will make us feel uncomfortable when we reach a point that’s outside our comfort zone. Some of us step into it, some of us walk away from it, and some of us try to destroy it. Eventually, we can look back and see where we’ve exhibited all three choices throughout our lives. If you find that the “destroy it” behavior is now flaring up more often and consequently holding you back, this article from Harvard Business Review gives you a great framework for keeping that behavior in check.

4. Five books that help you set boundaries. 

Yes, it’s another article about books. For those of you who dive in and read anything you can get your hands on in an effort to find self-improvement, or even just self-validation, I’ve got you covered. There are five books in this Fortune article and they’re all good, but the one I like the most is F*ck No! How to Stop Saying Yes. Sometimes we have to be tough on ourselves to really learn how to stand firm on our boundaries. This is the latest in a series of books by Sarah Knight, but they’re all good. Now, if you don’t like salty language … then this book might not be for you. The other books on this list are also equally great.

5. Eight questions to diagnose your career status

If after reading these other articles, you’re ready to assess your current situation and formulate a plan to make a move, this article from Entrepreneur gives a great roadmap. The article is an excerpt from Kanika Tolver’s book, Career Rehab and provides some simple yet powerful coaching questions throughout. It’s a great way to evaluate whether you work in an unfulfilling work environment and what to do to change that.

On a final note, I’d like to quote Paul Coelho, “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.” In the spirit of this week’s email, take the time to look around you and evaluate if you’ve fallen into these behaviors or attitudes out of complacency. Small changes can also lead to big adventures.


Christina Holloway is an executive coach and business coach. She helps executives and entrepreneurs grow their companies faster, create results-driven teams, and increase profitability. She has been featured in ForbesThe Huffington PostAddicted2Success and Fast Company. If you’re interested in working with Christina, take a look at her strategy sessions and contact her to get started.

Christina Holloway