Starting a new job is exciting... until the drama starts. Employers love to paint a rosy picture, but the realities of some jobs are grim.
CindarellaGTO asked: What are the biggest red flags you should look out for when you start a new job?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
High turnover and low morale.
I just started a new job last week and I already hate it. I think the biggest hint is "we've been so understaffed lately because so and so left, and the so and so also left, and...." I'm the only new employee in a group of people who've worked there for 16+ years and are so unbearable that I wanted to cry on my second day. The newbies just stop showing up.
Trust me. It doesn't get better. Stay if you need the money but start the new job hunt ASAP. These sorts of situations destroy your soul.
That was my last job at a grooming salon. I was clinically f*cking depressed for the three months I worked there. I had never hated working somewhere so much in my life.
Sounds like my old job. Worked with a bunch of 50 something's, I was less than half their age.
Bosses who are hypocrites.
A "do as I say, not as I do" mentality from supervisors or top management. I once worked for a company where the CEO sent a memo to all staff that it was "all hands on deck" to finish out the last two weeks of our fiscal year. Except for him. He went on a European vacation with his family.
My friend once worked at a media company in the Northeast, and there was huge blizzard that prompted a state of emergency and calls for people to stay home if they could. The CEO told all his employees that they had to come to work anyway. Except for him. He stayed home.
At my last job, the CEO/largest shareholder, after an absence of 4 months, sent out an email detailing company spending to all employees. He said it was "for transparency." He listed every employee's salary, except for his own. He also attempted to make projections about the profitability of each department, which should be nearly impossible considering that the company is very small and our products depended on the work of all departments.
During the 4 months he was gone, he'd spent $275,000 of company money at strip clubs, expensive restaurants and on bottle service at nightclubs. This was more than the company spent on the salary of all other employees during the same period combined. When this put the company into dire a dire financial situation. My friend/boss (who discovered his embezzlement, reported it to the board, and stepped in as acting CEO as the CEO went to rehab) and I were the only ones fired.
Too many bosses.
With newer or smaller companies, be wary of "top-heavy" staff.
10 employees but 5 owners/principals? Guess where all the salary money is going. Plus have fun having as many bosses as coworkers
Conversely, be wary of jobs that have hundreds of people also doing your same function. There will never be room for advancement and you're just a nameless worker bee.
Too many cooks will spoil the broth.
If you are expected to work right off without sufficient training. It reflects poorly on the company's management and likely also means that they don't care about the employees,
I started my current job and did literally nothing for the first month or so. I had a few required online trainings, but since my position was new there was no training or expectations. Nice in a way, but also very frustrating because I get vague directions and have to wing it.
With all my free time I've been working on a document of "guidelines" of what I do for the next person to take that position so they aren't just don't thrown in with no clue where to start or what's expected.
This is a very big red flag. Employees often over look it. But often it ends up being their demise. The company turns it back on them and fires for "performance."
No room for growth.
This happened at my old job:
During my annual review, boss did the standard "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question. I gave him a rather generic answer consistent with my goals. At the end of the review, I turned the question around and asked where he hoped to see me in 5 years.
He beat around the bush with it, but the answer was basically "doing the same exact thing."
I left the job a couple months later.
At the end of the review, I turned the question around and asked where he hoped to see me in 5 years.
Holy sh*t that's a good one. Ok, I'll try to use it in the next interview.
Lord, I wish I would have done this at my old job. Was the same sh*tty position for 4 years before finally realizing it was going no where despite the ever carrot-on-a-stick: "oh, we'll be moving you up in X season."
Poor job reviews.
Glassdoor reviews shouldn't be taken too seriously but if there's a constant then there's usually a good reason.
It doesn't hurt to be especially cautious.
Also, if the Glassdoor review is five stars and sounds like it was written by someone still working for the company's HR department...it probably was.
About 2 years ago, after my workplace made 40 people redundant and the culture went to shit, so did the Glassdoor reviews. Suddenly, a bunch of 5 star reviews started appearing all worded very similar and making the place sound like Disneyland.
Gossip. If someone leaves the room and everyone gathers to talk sh*t about them, they probably do the same thing to you.
I've had this on my part time job, after I exited the room I overheard coworkers talking sh*t so after I came back I immediately said 'What kinda sh!t were you talking about me?' The look of devastation on their faces was priceless.
There are two sides to this. Where I work the company tells us nothing, it's like people disappear in the middle of the night.
Our branch's HR rep was let go and replaced by someone from our corporate branch several months ago. I have still received no explicit communication announcing this fact. The only way I know any of this is through gossip.
Gossip sucks, but a lot of times it exists simply because there is a vacuum of information.
The work turn over is going to be in this thread a lot but you should also look for large gaps in tenure.
If there are people that have been in a company for under a year and people that have been there for over ten and nothing in between that means you have just walked into a good ol' boys club. If you are not one of the people that have not been there for a long time, or even from when the company started, you are never going to fit in or be treated like anything but the new kid. Your ideas will not be taken seriously and you are just there to get done what no one else wants to do and you better be doing it their way or you are going to be shown the door.
In this situation. Can confirm that this is what it is. They told me they'd be open to new suggestions and would love some fresh eyes in the place. Whenever I suggest a new way to do something, I get hit with the "well this is how we've always done it, just do it that way." Annoying.
This is spot on. I've seen places where people have been there for 10 years or 1 year, hardly any in-between. It happens a lot in sales. The tenured employees have all the good accounts. If you are new, you have to "build up your business." When in reality, relying on nothing but new developed business is not feasible. You need to be thrown a bone here and there at the least.
A lack of work/life balance.
During an interview for a fairly big consulting company i was told multiple times, unsolicited, how they valued work/life balance. It only took a few weeks at that job to realize that was BS. Maybe the managers had good work/life balance, but not the consultants.
That phrase is now a red flag to me, especially if its said without me asking about the topic
Their work life balance comes at your expense.
I had an old boss that would lecture is about work life balance. We joked that he meant he would work as much as he wanted, and with the balance of his time he could have a life but we weren't allowed to do that.
He was an intense dude. As director of operations he worked just over 200 days straight one time, holidays, weekends, everything. A day off for him was only working 6 hours instead of 10.
He didn't expect that of us and actually would tell us to go home if we didn't take at least a day and a half a week and would not let us work more than 8 days in a row. We were hourly though, the job was demanding of our attention but my peers and I (sort of middle managers/team supervisors) loved to work. He eventually had to cap us at 60 hours a week and we had to have 10 hours off property between shifts.
I miss that job and I'm glad I'm out of it at the same time.
Tension with management.
When people act literally fearful of the boss, or if the entire atmosphere changes when the boss walks onto the floor. If your manager doesn't take you around to introduce you to your new colleagues, I'd be concerned because that would show they don't care who you are.
Bossman Buttf*ckMcgee has lead our company into the future for the absolute best but there isn't a single person in my company that doesn't try to avoid him like the plague. Lots of capslock and !!!!!!!! in emails and will snap at the drop of a hat.
My first "serious" job was like that. The department manager was a mildly pleasing lady, but she ruled with an iron
handfist. People always kept busy, looking down or at the monitor, and there was a hush in the entire office.
I had a
guy gut feeling right from the start when she walked me around at the interview stage. But I needed the job so I walked into it and hoped for the best.
By the time I quit the company, I had a lot to say at the exit interview.