Toxic Things


It’s another slightly grim morning here in Los Angeles—the weather has decided to embrace “June Gloom” and all its glory. Perhaps it is the weather, or maybe it is just my mood, but I’ve been thinking about things that are toxic (sounds like a Jeopardy clue, doesn’t it?), and why we can’t quite get away from them.

Perhaps we think there is a kind of nobility in staying in a job too long, or not removing ourselves from harmful relationships before they do lasting damage.  Perhaps there’s comfort in the devil we know and the risk of jumping into a new job, or the drama of walking away from a friendship, is too great to contemplate. Whatever the motivation, many of us have stayed (or are staying) in situations that are destructive for far too long.

Here’s the reality: there is no reward for staying in a relationship (romantic or platonic) with someone who is lying and manipulative. I’m not saying it will be easy to extricate yourself from that person, but find a way. Your health (mental and physical) is being damaged every day you allow that person to have a hold over you. Believe me, I’ve done it, and you’ll be amazed at the weight that lifts, albeit slowly, as you take your life back.

Obviously, there is no easy solution for the job that is slowly killing you. I can say “Quit!” because I did it, but the financial strain of walking away is real. You have bills to pay. That’s a reality. But if you stay in a position that is demoralizing long enough, you’ll have a physical price to pay, too. I’d love to say that I’ve just won the lottery, and with my hundreds of millions of dollars, I will help everyone find a better career option who wants one. Sadly, that ship has not yet come in (but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will).

There are options for all of us. Some of them are terrible. Some of them are only marginally better than the situations we want out of.  Still others show real promise, and ignoring them in favor of the known devil only hurts in the long-term.

I’m facing a lot of decisions right now about my career, and there are mornings, like this one, where I’m nearly paralyzed by choice. What if I make the wrong one? I just have to keep reminding myself that there are options, and that when I’ve left toxic things behind in the past, no matter how difficult, I’ve been better for it.


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