4 Red Flags to Watch for in Your Workplace


When it comes to work, we are inundated with messages in the media reminding us that everyone hates their jobs and that we ought to just grin and bear it. But just because you have taken on a classic 9-to-5 does not mean you are forever shackled to the cliché misery that go along with it. You have a say in the path your career takes. You can count on spending approximately 13 years of your life—at least!–at work, so why not try to guarantee you’re at a place that makes you happy—or, at least, not actively miserable?

Sometimes, the signs of a toxic workplace are not readily apparent. These warning signs are things you observe over time, taking care to be conscientious of patterns. What I’ve listed below are not necessarily deal breakers when considered individually, but they usually only become more pronounced over time if left to fester. Here are 4 red flags to watch out for in your workplace that indicate it might be time to jump ship.

High Turnover
High turnover within a department is a disheartening phenomena for those left behind. Some industries are prone to high turnover rates, and this is not always an indicator of an unhealthy workplace. For instance, in software and technology fields, high turnover is an indication that the field is progressing, and people are moving on to better gigs. But a revolving door of employees within a company or department is oftentimes a sign of disease within the hierarchy or management of a company. As a new employee, you’re often encourage to quell your curiosity as not to be perceived as a gossip or a troublemaker. There are, however, tactful ways to ask questions regarding the stability of your workplace if you find that you are trianing a new deskmate on the regular.

Dangerous Conditions
Though this ought to go without saying, many employees forget that their employers have an obligation to keep them safe in the work environment. We are often led to believe that workplace accidents are a result of an individual employee’s mistake, but oftentimes it is the result of negligence on the part of the employer. If you see any indications that management is trying to dissuade workers from following safety procedures or that your company looks the other way in favor of maximizing profits, you need to run for the hills. You do not want to risk waiting until it is you filing for worker’s compensation. Click here for more information.

Toxic “Venting”
When a workplace environment has devolved to the point where you can see the stormclouds gathering as soon as you or a coworker starts to speak, you have gone too far into the pit of negativity. Oftentimes, when we are in less than ideal workplaces, we allow venting to morph into something much uglier: complaining. It starts innocently enough. You’re simply indulging in brief, intermittent moments of frustration to take the edge off. But, over time, these intermittent indulgences become half hour long affairs with coworkers. It is a slippery slope, and you likely won’t know you’re in the pit until you’re listening to your coworker harp on the same old story about her boss’ inadequacies you’ve heard thirteen times over. This is a warning sign that is actually fixable over time, but it could be an indication that your career with the company is not worth saving.

You Are Too Exhausted to Do Anything Else
What do you want in life? If the answer isn’t the job you have now, you are likely trying—or, at the least, hoping–to fit what you really do want in the time you do not spend at your main job. Of course, this is a tall order if you are so dead tired at the end of the day you are only capable of vedging out on the couch until bedtime. Take a critical look at what you are accomplishing on a daily basis outside of your current workplace. If you see a pattern indicating that you aren’t productive outside the confines of your job, you are probably burnt out. What’s the point of working to provide for your family if you’re too tired to play with your kids at the end of the day? Why grind at a job you hate if doing so prevents you from transitioning to one you love? There are so many reasons to consider ditching a job, but the most compelling of them are usually found at home.