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How to Survive a Toxic Work Culture

How to Survive a Toxic Work Culture

– Welcome to another vlog about Cychology, that’s with a C-Y. I’m taping today from our offices in Elkhorn, Nebraska, that’s where Cy Wakeman, Inc. is headquartered. I get a lot of the things
I talk to you about on Cychology, a lot of
the ideas come to me through the email info at That’s where you can ask
questions about how to apply Cychology, or the reality-based philosophy in your daily work and personal lives. And I give you a way to ask those where you don’t always feel outed, like you have to raise your hand in a group that I’m presenting to. You can send them in, and
if they’re appropriate and seem sincere, I will
do my best to answer them on one of our Cychology sessions. Here’s a great question. Cy, my culture is just plain toxic. When do I know whether it’s
time to stay or time to go? That question is a bit more
complex than you might think in a different way than you think. It’s not about your
culture, it’s about you. See, you either need to
get right with your culture and stay in joy, or you
need to leave in peace. Stay in joy is all about
stop judging, start helping. Jump in, manage risk, make a difference. Leaving in peace is
acknowledging that my preference is not to be working in
this type of environment. But what you cannot do as a drama-diffuser is stay and hate, stay and complain. There’s no third option,
either stay and play, and play well, or go in peace. But to stay and hate,
to stay and complain, stay and sabotage, stay and opinionate is the most unaccountable
thing a person can do. That whole third choice
isn’t there for those of us that are practicing drama-diffusing. Secondly, I would tell
you, be very careful that you have accurately
labeled your culture. Most often that’s just a story. The ego eats anger for lunch. In order for our egos
to be able to stay fed, it’s important that our minds, our egos, find insult where there isn’t any. So I’ve talked to a lot
of people who tell me, “Cy, the culture around here is horrible.” or, “The environment is
just difficult to work in.” They’ve really labeled
culture, and by the way, I think culture is just a
series of recent stories and excuses about why
we can’t do something that we all agreed on and
then named it culture. The culture doesn’t even exist
except in your own mindset. I once had a time where
a woman said to me, “Cy, this culture that I’m
working in is not a great one.” and I said, “Give me some
proof, show me what you mean.” She actually had me come
over to her computer terminal after we’d been working
together a couple days, and she said, “Here’s an example.” And I read the email,
and it actually said, and this is all it said,
“You are invited to “an ice cream social at two
o’clock in the lobby today.” And I’m thinking, free ice cream. How awesome is that? Because I don’t have that same ego filter. And I said, “All I see in that email “is free ice cream, that’s amazing.” She was so into her story, she goes, “Oh my gosh, but you don’t
know the back story.” I’m like, “The back story? “You’re reading a lot into this email.” She said, “But you
haven’t been here enough. “The back story is that HR
always plans these events “in the afternoon at two
o’clock because they know “that’s when my team won’t be available “because our phone queue is the highest.” She actually believed in
a company of 40,000 people that HR got together
and looked at the data to see when her team
would be least available and scheduled ice cream
socials appropriately. One of the things that I
just have to do when I see that whole ego going on
is do some ego busting. Too many times it becomes ego chafing because people don’t want
to let go of their story. But I said, “Look, I’ve met
your HR leadership team. “If they could make data-based decisions, “like planning the worst
time for an ice cream social “to make sure it
inconvenienced you the most, “we would have a lot of
other different results “around here, it’s just not
even the skillset they have.” She did not want to let go of the story. She said, “But here’s what else, Cy, “is I’m lactose intolerant, and they don’t give any other alternatives.” That’s where you know
that your ego’s in charge. Because even in the face of
data, there’s data denial. You just don’t want to
let go of suffering. And remember, suffering’s
completely optional. There’s two ways to go through
the day, joy or misery. She said, “There’s nothing available “besides milk-based products.” And I basically just gave her a big hug, and I said, “Then my
advice to you would be “not to eat the ice cream. “You will probably start farting. “It is not that big of deal, “but everyday you read something “that is at face value
very clearly not an issue, “and your ego reads farther into it “to see insult where there isn’t any.” I want to ask you today to think about all the places you’re ticked off, and I want you to start separating out what’s real and what is your suffering. Suffering is ego-based,
it’s completely optional, and if you want to live a drama-diffusing, peaceful, successful life,
you’ve gotta get good at separating out your
reality from your suffering. And you’ve gotta get really
good at seeing when your ego is trying to find insult
when there isn’t any. Keep those questions coming. Hopefully, you’re having
a great day today.

6 thoughts on “How to Survive a Toxic Work Culture”

  1. Hello Miss Cy, I have read one of your books and I watch your videos here and they are very helpful. I struggle with consistency. Some days I'm pumped up and positive and some days I'm participating in the drama. Today, I'm pumped up and am open to learning. One thing I heard you say that I have heard numerous times is managing risks. What does that mean exactly ? I work in the oil and gas industry and I associate risk as something about safety. Is this the same thing ?  Please help. Thank you

  2. Your videos have helped me think more carefully about my thoughts – to avoid judging and just describe. I'm seeing myself more clearly – and, for better or worse – seeing others in a different way as well. Some are more healthy and consistent than me, some less so. But, now that I'm describing things factually, I have identified why it seems that nearly everyone is having big problems with one person in particular. Organizational psychologists tell us that about one percent of the population is sociopathic. I think this guy is – his drama and blame and bullying is really causing a lot of turmoil. It's almost impossible for anyone to escape. Many of us were blaming ourselves until we found we were having common – fact-based – experiences. Is the only option to leave the organization? Statistically, there will probably be another one in the next job.

  3. Thanks for posting. I’m at a point where I’m seeking ways to help change our toxic culture. I’m also now aware to make sure my ego is in check.

  4. You know I "stayed and played" in a toxic work environment and you know what that got me? One day they disabled my badge without notice and made me sign my termination paperwork in the deli of the office building. My problem was I was hired for a job I simply was not trained for. The people who knew the stuff refused to train me. When I brought this up to management they blamed me. They said I wasn't trying hard enough to learn. This went on for a year. Then one day my dog was dying and I had to take some time off to look out for her. I let my supervisor know. When I come back to work my card was disabled and I am being served my termination papers. My manager was looking for any excuse to fire me. Even taking a few days off to take care of a dying loved one. Personally if I am ever in a toxic environment ever again I will NEVER stay and play. Some people are just bad at their jobs and want to find a scapegoat.

  5. Yes, i am so interesting about label of culture. Toxic workplace always happen everywhere. But to change the culture sometime so hard cause depends ourselves. Ego isn't amigo, but how to know pure honesty in heart people's self in work is mystery. Thank you

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