Would You Enter a Toxic Atmosphere?
The two firefighters in the picture above are part of a drill simulating a chlorine leak in a one-ton chlorine container. We used white theatrical smoke for the exercise, but a real chlorine leak produces a yellowish green, pungent, choking cloud.
Choking cloud of chlorine
Chlorine is immediately dangerous to life and health at 10 parts per million. When the chemical touches moisture, hydrochloric acid is created. Considering the average human body contains between 45-75% water, contacting and inhaling chlorine is a bad thing.
That is why firefighters must wear Level A, fully encapsulated chemical protective clothing, with a self-contained breathing apparatus. Only a fool would walk into a cloud of chlorine unprotected.
The work environment
Common sense dictates that you would not walk into an environment of chlorine unprotected. If you were exposed, you would either quickly turn around or breathe in enough to make you collapse.
Yet how many people walk into a toxic work environment every day? Business owners, supervisors, bosses, and managers (notice I did not write leaders) who berate, yell, bully, micromanage, constantly criticize, and find fault with everything create these toxic environments.
Those same people then turn around and wonder why the workforce is disengaged, apathetic, and resentful.
Making the change
It isn’t practical for an employee to walk into work wearing a Level A suit, so what are your options? You can become numb to the situation, show up to work, and act like a robot or you can do some research, find another employer, and change your place of employment.
Yes, I know it’s not easy finding another job, especially one where the work environment is good. But what is the cost if you don’t? Declining physical and mental health. Remember, life is full of choices, but we can’t choose the consequences.
Help is available
Changing jobs and careers can seem like a daunting task, but help is available. As someone who provides career coaching, I will work with you to help determine the career that fits your life. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my website at www.impactusleadership.com to know more about the leadership coaching services I can offer.
Next week, I’ll address the other end of the toxic environment: the business owners, supervisors, bosses, and managers.