OG Tuesday Issue #148

The Assist Newsletter
July 25, 2023
Start your morning with this affirmation:
OG Tuesday Affirmation #148
Today’s checklist: Take the toxic workplace quiz, build your executive presence, and celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26.
Pssst…If you work in HR, we’re launching a brand new free newsletter for HR Professionals called Human Crapital! Subscribe today before the next issue comes out (weekly on Wednesdays).


Is your workplace toxic? Take the quiz


Some warning signs (abuse, harassment, and unethical behavior, just to name a few*) of a toxic work environment are crystal clear. Other signs may be a bit more ambiguous. They weigh on you, but you still wonder if you’re just being too sensitive.

Here’s a quick quiz to help you determine if you may be in a toxic, but not obviously so, work environment.

You’ve got a big deadline in two days. What option below best describes what you do?

A) Keep your head down and get your project done, like you always do.
B) Send your boss a detailed status update so she knows you’re still on track. (Better to volunteer the information than wait for her to ask.)
C) Schedule a meeting with your boss for the day of the deadline, so the two of you can review what you’ve done together.

You’re about to take a vacation. What option below best describes what you do?

A) Have a meeting with your backup person so they know exactly what to expect while you’re gone.
B) Add reminders so you don’t forget to check your emails and Slack while you’re out, but just three times a day.
C) Put up your out of office reply and head out. You’ve earned this. (And you told your boss about your absence at least a month ago.)

During meetings, my colleagues will sometimes irritate me by…

A) Checking their messages while I’m talking.
B) Rolling their eyes when I volunteer ideas.
C) Bringing snacks they don’t intend to share.

You ask your work BFF to join you for a long off-site lunch. How do you imagine he’ll reply?

A) “Yes, please! Let me just tell my boss where I’ll be, in case we’re delayed.”
B) “Ugh, sorry. I shouldn’t. I haven’t finished the prototype yet, and I just know my boss will freak out if I walk away from my desk before it’s done.”
C) “I’m on a bit of a time crunch today, but I could totally do tomorrow.”

You want a raise and you know you deserve it. (You’ve run the numbers. Twice.) What option below best describes what you do?

A) Work on perfecting my pitch so it’s ready for my annual review in a month.
B) Talk to some more coworkers first to find out if the rumors about the last person who asked for a pay increase are true.
C) Talk to some more coworkers first to find out how the organization usually handles pay increases.

*If you are experiencing harassment, discrimination, or abuse at work, you can take action to protect yourself immediately.

Regulatory boards, such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recommend starting small, within your team or company, and then escalating as necessary:

  • If you feel comfortable, ask the perpetrator to stop.
  • Reference your company policy on the incident and follow the steps as provided. If there’s no policy and you feel comfortable, talk to your supervisor to get guidance instead.
  • File a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.


If you picked 3 or more Bs…
Your work environment might be toxic.

Some ideas for what you might do:
Just as toxic work environments come in all shapes and sizes, options for navigating a toxic work environment come in all shapes and sizes. However, one rule of thumb applies in all situations: Proceed in a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe.

Determine which “toxicities” most affect your mental health and try to set boundaries around them.

For example…

  • If you find it draining to be available 24/7, then tell the people who contact you most often after hours that you would prefer to communicate only during standard work hours. If the problem persists, you might consider posting your availability in your email signature and/or sending after-hours work calls straight to voicemail.
  • If you can’t stand being micromanaged, then identify the specific behaviors your boss does and pinpoint why they bother you. (When you check in on projects before they’re due, it makes me feel that you don’t trust me to complete them on time.) Turn your thoughts into a script you can use to talk with your manager directly. It will be uncomfortable, but it may open doors for positive change or make it more clear that your boss is unwilling to compromise with you.

If boundary-setting doesn’t work (or hasn’t worked in the past), then start looking for another job.
Take your time to make sure your next place is a better fit. You don’t even have to begin the job search immediately. Just setting a goal to get out within the year may reduce the psychological weight of working in a toxic space.

If you picked 1 or 2 Bs…
Your work environment might be a little toxic.

Some ideas for what you might do:
Start documenting (along with dates and times) toxic behaviors or situations. This will provide clarity about what actually happened when you’re looking back. Review your notes after you’ve been tracking for a month or if things start to feel worse. If necessary, refer to the steps above.

If you picked 0 Bs…
Your work environment might be mostly healthy.

Some ideas for what you might do:
Keep on doing what you’re doing. If things change for any reason, remember that you never have to accept toxic work environments as normal.


Swipe This Stay Interview Template


Bonusly's Stay Interview Template

It’s rare that you can change someone’s mind in an exit interview. A stay interview gives your employees a safe space to share how you can better support and develop them for the long haul.

When you proactively identify strengths and weaknesses in your retention efforts and company culture, you can make improvements before employees leave.

The free Stay Interview Template includes:

  • 👉 Directions for how to use the template.
  • ✅ Guided questions around manager feedback, company feedback, and building connections.
  • 💡 Tips on how to make the most of your stay interviews.
  • ⚙️ Additional tools and resources to build resilient teams.

👉 Get your free stay interview template


Executive Presence: Courses, Videos, and Trainings for 2023


According to Emeritus, one of the most in-demand skills of the future is having a strong executive presence.

Not to be conflated with plain old leadership skills, executive presence captures the difference between the capacity to lead and the capacity to inspire others to follow. Emeritus explains it like this:

“A recently evolved idea, executive presence refers to a unique quality one possesses (or cultivates) that helps inspire confidence in others. Broadly speaking, executive presence refers to one’s ability to project confidence, credibility, and authority in a professional setting.”

Build your skills in this always in-demand skill with these resources. 




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Celebrate the ADA on July 26


July 26 marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law in the United States in 1990.

What it is: The ADA is a law that bars discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.

Why it matters: It promotes equal opportunity, prevents discrimination, and gives those who’ve been discriminated against legal recourse for ending the discrimination, repairing the damage done, and preventing it from happening in the future.

What to do: Brainstorm some small ways for making your environment or your communications more accessible. For example, you can make sure your social posts can be accessed by more people using this U.S. General Services Administration toolkit.


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Latest Listings


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Hooray, You Made It to the End of Our Newsletter!


Riddle me this: I come from a mine and get surrounded by wood always. Everyone uses me. What am I?

⭐ Answer here.

👉 Here are all of July’s OG Tuesday Riddles.

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