The Small Business HR Podcast

Ep. 18

18. Leaving a Toxic Work Environment and Putting Yourself First w/ Milly Christmann

In episode 18, we sat down with Milly Christmann to talk about how to know when it’s time to leave a toxic work environment—according to your own tolerance levels.
Milly Christmann

Milly Christmann

Marathon Growth Management

Leaving a toxic work environment can be a difficult and emotional endeavor. You might be fearful of what happens when you leave a job you know so well. Will you fail? Will your next workplace be just as bad?

We sat down with Milly Christmann, Owner of Marathon Growth Management, to talk about why employees have to put their own mental health first—especially when working in a challenging or toxic work environment.

As a consultant and coach, Milly helps small- and medium-sized businesses get their HR teams up to speed, ensuring that they’re maximizing the potential of their people and processes. And she’s seen—and experienced—her fair share of toxic work environments.

In this episode, we talked about:

  • Why being a people person doesn’t guarantee success in HR
  • How to identify—and know it’s time to leave—a toxic work environment
  • How to overcome the fear of leaving a job or company you know (and take the risk to find a better one)
  • How to ensure pivoting your career will work for you

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I try to drive small- and medium-sized business capabilities around people and processes by starting with the foundation—making sure they’re doing the basics right—and figuring out how to use their people to maximize productivity and profits.”

Milly Christmann

When I got into HR, I understood the cursory ‘you go to HR when there’s a problem.’ I didn’t understand the other 99.9% of the discipline. So when I got there, I had a learning curve. But I’m really happy that I did because I feel like being in HR has rounded out my management capabilities.”

Milly Christmann

HR is the only discipline within any organizational structure that has its hands in every other function. A good HR practitioner has to really understand how the other components of the business operate—and you have to have business acumen to be successful.”

Milly Christmann

The biggest myth in HR is that because you’re a people person you’ll be good at it.”

Milly Christmann

When you start having visceral, physical reactions to work—for example, not sleeping well at night or constantly thinking about work when you’re not working—or, you’re scared to request time off or leave the office on time, those are all signs you’re in an environment that’s not working for you. Each of us has different thresholds, but you have to know your threshold, too.”

Milly Christmann

There’s a point at which quitting is winning. None of us are powerful enough to change an entire machine.”

Milly Christmann

Take care of you. It’s very tough to fix broken; it’s very easy to tweak hurt.”

Milly Christmann

Know thyself. Go through the exercises of understanding your skillset and the value you can provide. When your confidence goes up, your fear goes down.”

Milly Christmann

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