One of my close friends is currently working for a company which has a toxic work environment, a place where no one should have to work.

He has been at this company for just over 7 years, he is a very capable and smart guy who has worked his way up the company from bottom to now just one position below the CEO. He is well respected by his peers, I know as I've met them on several occasions. He truly wants to improve the company from within as he believes he has the power to do so but my concern is that the company won't reciprocate the feeling. I'm afraid he has hero syndrome.

Reasons why I'm against him working for his current employer:

  • They will throw him under the bus at any chance they get
  • He is currently working weekends to supplement his salary
  • Very frequently he is stressed and worried
  • Rarely spends time with his family

He and I don't work in the same company, I just want the best for him as over the years I've known him he has only gotten more and more fed up with his employer.

Has anyone ever been in a similar situation? How can I advise my friend that he could do a lot better than his current employer?

  • 20
    say, "Dude, that company sucks. You should leave."
    – NotMe
    May 3, 2017 at 13:33
  • 11
    If he's one person below the CEO, how is it he's unable to deal with the toxicity? He should have considerable power to impact the company culture. The only person who should be able to throw under a bus is the CEO themselves.
    – Erik
    May 3, 2017 at 13:34
  • 1
    How long has he been in the just-below-CEO role? Perhaps he is adjusting to the new responsibilities he has? Or have the reasons you mentioned been there since he started?
    – user34587
    May 3, 2017 at 13:36
  • 3
    I agree with @Erik. How is your friend one step below the CEO and complaining about the company culture? It sounds like the company culture is his doing one way or the other. Who is going to "throw him under the bus?" His subordinates? Fire them. There seems to be missing information or he's pretending to be something he's not to you.
    – leigero
    May 3, 2017 at 13:50
  • To be honest, you sound more like his mom or his girlfriend. He's a grown man. Have you considered that perhaps he complains to you because what he needs is someone to vent to and not solve his problems? BUT since he's been there from the bottom, he might just be insecure. Find a headhunter and set up a lunch to to introduce them. Perhaps if he got the perspective of someone who finds people work, he might gain a different perspective on himself and his prospects.
    – Chris E
    May 3, 2017 at 14:01

3 Answers 3


You have provided your reasons for why you believe your friend should leave, but not for why your friend has not left already, or does not seem to want to.

Your friend seems to have a job where he is well respected and has established a prominent position due to his work, something which he is likely proud of, and which pushes him to work hard. Clearly you believe this has become detrimental to his personal life, but from his perspective, why should he leave? It seems, from an outside perspective, that his hard work was recognized and rewarded with promotions.

You indicate that the company "will throw him under the bus at any chance they get", but the combination of his being rewarded for his work and the respect he allegedly receives from his peers does not make this evident to me, and probably does not to him either. Which is not to say that you are wrong, but if your friend sees no problem, he has no motivation to quit.

As to your other concerns, these seem to be issues with your friend, not his workplace. If he works too much, at the expense of time with his family, or he has "hero syndrome", why do you believe that these things will change with a new job? Rather than convincing your friend to quit, you may simply wish to convince him to ask for a raise and spend less time at work, or to leverage his leadership position and delegate some of his work to the rest of the company. If he attempts these actions and is rebuffed, that would be sufficient cause for him to seek new employment.

In summary: The problems you list are all things that should be resolvable given your friends position. Before suggesting a dramatic action like quitting, he should first see what actions he can take to resolve these problems with his company. It is when a person's concerns are NOT addressed that they should look for new employment.

  • Suggest modifying final sentence. Who should seek new employment or what should OP consider doing exactly?
    – Wildcard
    May 3, 2017 at 16:03
  • 1
    Thanks. I intended the "you" as generic, but I forgot to make the "his" generic as well.
    – Zephyr
    May 4, 2017 at 13:29

You have to let people live their lives. Many of us think we know what's best for everyone else. Even if that were true(it's not), it doesn't matter because people have to make their choices.

That being said, if you are determined to talk your friend out of their job:

Listen! As a friend ask them about the good parts and bad parts of the job. Without giving advice just listen. Ask them about long term plans. Ask them if they want to be the same job in a few years. Maybe they are scared of finding a new job, maybe they really need the insurance. It's impossible to know. By listening you can find the "heart of the matter" and help resolve that issue instead.

People aren't just going to do thing because you want them. To make a drastic change in their life, they have to want to do it too.


Find him another job.

He sounds like an excellent employee: dedicated, loyal, and extremely hardworking. Use your own network to find an employer that is willing and able to reward such virtues.

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