It’s completely obvious for everyone to be able to spot some signs of bullying and toxic environment, especially at work. The absence of appreciation, elusive accountability, unrealistic expectations, unreasonable lunatic boss, and everyone is busy with their phone during work pretending not to care.

What if the signs are not obvious? An environment that silently rotted from the inside where you didn’t realize the corrosiveness of your workplace. Usually, you’ll start to realize it once you’re in too deep or many didn’t realize it at all. Good for you to stumble upon this article cause it’s better late than never to assess the situations you’re in.

Well, let me tell you this, I’m not someone with more than 10 years of experience but it’s good for me to realize that I used to be bullied by the seniors in my old working environment. Last weekend, my friend also shared with me her past experience working in her previous company in Indonesia and why she decided to leave.

I’m sharing with you some subtle bullying and toxic environment that my friends and I have experienced and how we’re handling it, so you can also start to assess it back to your relationship with your work and have some courage to avoid, leave, try to fix it, or even just pull yourself out to save you.

The “SILENT” or “SUBTLE” toxic environment you might not notice

  • The “BAD” Communication

Lack of communication always seems to be one of the main root causes of a problem in the company. When there’s total silence in a big meeting but after the meeting ends, everyone starts to have an internal discussion to talk about what they really think to bash the decision made.

What you should do: Start to speak up, say what’s on your mind, and you’ll start to realize miscommunication could lead you and your company to go deeper into the toxic hole.

  • The intimidation

Bullying and intimidation can get worse over time – starting by testing targets with subtle teasing to see how the victim reacts. If the target doesn’t stand or seek help, the bully may intensify his/her actions and even attempt to get others to do the same.

Usually, it was started by the seniors starting to call you with names which everyone thought was only a joke so no one took it seriously but when it started to get worse, the bully started to intimidate you by telling you things like “Don’t you dare tell this to the management team,” or “If you failed to do this, then I will blame you cause it’s your decision”. 

What you should do: You may think that teasing is a normal thing to do. What you don’t realize is that a joke can lead to bullying. So you need to be able to speak up to defend yourself and step out from it once you don’t feel comfortable. If you’re in an environment where you don’t feel free to speak up, try to find someone that could relate and seek help.


  • The office drama

When cliques, exclusion, and gossipy behavior dominate the culture of your workplace, congratulations you’re back to school all over again. Getting anxious and paranoid that your colleagues are talking about you, we all know that cliques will stick together, laughs at their inside jokes, and generally excludes anyone outside their tight-knit-ring to make the real adults feel extremely alienated outside their bond. There are always rumors floating around the office, misunderstanding, favoritism, and infighting are the norm.

What you should do: Avoid cliques, avoid gossip because it has no place at work. You’re an adult so you know that having workplace friends and acquaintances is good but cliques are just counterproductive in the workplace. Any “clique-ish” behavior that you noticed, better to save yourself earlier cause that’s about as toxic as it gets.


  • The tyrannical boss

There is a reason why this old saying “You don’t leave a job, you leave a bad boss,” is very popular. Even when you really don’t like the work, poor leadership is the biggest main reason why someone left. Unreasonable, unwilling to listen, and didn’t trust their employees’ attitude of the organization’s boss can grow as the toxic organization culture.

What you should do: Poor leadership from 1 boss is like a virus that can lead to a toxic workplace. Try to talk to HR and if your boss is the one doing it, try to talk to him/her and ask them the reason why they decide to do certain things cause remember there are always two sides to a story. If they are still unreasonable, you decide to stay or to leave.

  • The gut that tells you

When your instinct tells you that something is amiss, trust it. Your gut is your best warning sign and usually this will simultaneously happen together with other physical symptoms like having insomnia or racing heartbeat that can be your sensitive nervous system alerting you of danger. This could also get worse where you feel like you’re confused and lost and having some trust issues of telling your problem.

What you should do: Trust your gut before it’s too late. If needed, get a second opinion from a friend or loved one but remember your gut is pro so listen to it.

Remember that quitting immediately isn’t always the best option, best to revisit your values and think before you make your decision.

Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].