What would you advice someone who exited a toxic work culture and are dreading moving forward due to fear of recurring psychological abuse? I believe they have been mourning what was the peak of their career, months of lost income, and psychological safety.
1- Exit Questionnaire. They are in distress about completing their exit questionnaire months later, but feel they should report what happened to them. Is that wise? Or will they enter in a 'she said/he said' situation. As well, they are fearful that their responses won't be anonymous/will impact their references.
2- Moving Forward. I'm concerned that what they experienced resulted in internalized, harmful beliefs about their self-worth that manifested in (1) severe fear and anticipatory anxiety, and (2) self-sabotage at the slightest hint of returning to a job environment.
In the long term, I am hopeful that mentors can support them in better navigating conflict, signs of abuse, as well as organizational politics/group dynamics at senior-level positions.
However, in the short term, what would you advice them in order to move past the state of fear toward acceptance, recovery, accountability, and empowerment?
They internalized the "you teach people how to treat you" approach and are at a standstill about how to prompt different treatment from others in the future.
Since this is about their health/income/livelihood first, and their career trajectory second, I think I'd advice them to consider pivoting to a different role/industry to move away from the trauma. However, they are concerned about how to navigate the mental health conversation with a potential employer, the possibility of a (back door) bad reference, and the possibility of future abuse. Thoughts?