Workplace Red Flags That Scream 'Don't Take A Job Here'
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

When it comes to a job, you need to be happy. Unless you’re working part-time, the majority of your weekly waking hours will be spent at work. You’ll want to make sure you’re working at a nice place doing something you like along with people you can tolerate (or even grow to be friends with).

My first job out of college was wonderful. The office was gorgeous, warm, and inviting. My co-workers were fun and accepting. The fact that conference rooms were named after Harry Potter houses, a wall was lined with Pokemon plushies, and the kitchen was stocked with snacks and a high-tech coffee machine were just bonuses.

Those are known as things to look for.

My second job was the opposite. People quit as soon as possible, the remaining co-workers looked downright depressed, there was no work-life balance or open-door policy, and Glassdoor was riddled with bad reviews.

Redditors know even more things to look out for -- red flags warn candidates from taking a job somewhere -- and they’re only too happy to share.

It all started when Redditor Aviliuss asked:

“What are some workplace red flags that scream “don’t work here?”

Turn Back

"If all of the other employees look sullen and depressed. If you walk into the office area and feel like you've walked into a funeral service. Nobody's smiling, nobody's laughing. Nobody looks remotely happy or content."

"Just turn around and walk back to your car. That is not a good place to be working at."

– Jasons_Brain

Chug, Chug, Chug!

"“Work hard, play hard” = “You won’t have a life outside the office, but we’ll pump you full of booze!”"

– DefinitelyABot475632

"Not a drinker, but decided to give it a go after the place I worked at fired someone that regularly didn't show up for the "optional" binge drinking happy hours. He wasn't a team player."

– too__soon__

Everything Changes

"If a larger company buys your company out but says "Nothing is changing but the name and address that your paycheck is coming from" But then everything changes."

– Gbrusse

"Bonus points if everyone on all sides of the merger was promised different things."

– Heroshade

"It’s never true when they say nothing changes (obv). I lived through a merger (the company I worked for bought our main competitor) … they took ages to impose the brand name, change things operationally… to a point they thought that they were off the hook and BAM! They called them one fine morning to announce a restructuration and half of their staff was let go."

– TheMaddoxx

No One Stays Forever...Or At All

"Here's another one: everyone you've interviewed with has left by the time you start."

– singapeng

"F*ck. Yes. I just left a position at a company with 12 employees. 4 people had been there longer than 4 years. Of the remaining 8, none had been there more than 6 months."

– Anonymike7

It's The People

"Honestly, even though my previous job (warehouse) was aching, the sh*tty employees there were worse"

"Imo good coworkers in a hard-working environment >>>> bad coworkers in a chilled out working environment"

– JunketGuy

"On the flipside, if you have the opposite, Stepford-like culture where everyone has a facade on about how great things are, and they heavily push "company values" and pop-science communication techniques into every single email, meeting and conversation, it's also time to run."

"Where employees are not permitted to have their own identity or be critical, the company can't grow."

– seamustheseagull

"It's getting to the point where, if I walk into a business, and everybody IS cheerful, collaborative & the business is clean / running well, it is almost a bizzarre feeling. "Do places like this still exist?""

– goaelephant

Stop. Think. Decide.

"The hiring manager who brought you in quit."

– Sarged117

"I was brought in as an assistant to the manager of an allied health service. Within 2 weeks she quit."

"Until I turned up she had been too busy to realise how ridiculously swamped she actually was and how stressed and miserable it was making her. Once I took some of the load off her and she could actually stop for more than 2 seconds, breathe, and take stock of her situation she realised how sh*t her job and the organisation were. She quit."

"She actually called me a few days after she'd left, almost crying with relief and telling me how much better she felt already. Then she told me to make sure they didn't do the same thing to me."

"It's been 5 months. They have. I'm looking for a new job."

– Fit-Guava-5059


"My manager got fired for embezzlement my first month of my first ever job at 16. That entire place was a sh*tshow of epic proportions, I was only there a year and I outlasted 4 managers."

– pigwigge

"Thats a run for the hills sign lmao"

– TheRed_Knight


– Whatsallthefussabou1

Nepotism Makes The World Go Round

"The owners' children are in high management/executive positions"

– secretbaldspot

"I've run into that a lot. In large companies, it's not necessarily the owner but some middle manager has several friends and family members who have gotten hired on as lower level managers and they're almost always worthless."

"I've also worked in a medium small company that was started by a man who was a super hard-working awesome owner but his kids were on the Salesforce and they were incorrigible pr*cks. I knew it was time to get out when the owner was going to retire soon and one of his kids was going to get the job and sure enough the place turned into a hell hole."

– Northman67

Read Between The Lines

""Were like a family""

""Be willing to work in a fast-paced environment""

"This is just code for "we will guilt you into doing things beyond your job, and we are poorly managed""

– Slawth_x

"“We work hard and we play hard”"

"I once asked for an example of some of the fun things they’ve done as a work team, and the answer I got was special cookies that were recently brought in. Yeah, I’m sure makes the 55 hour work week worth it."

– hungryjimbo

"If they use the word family at all, and the sentence doesn't start with "we like having enough time off to spend with our", then it's bad."

– YossiTheWizard

The Countdown Begins

"Everyone you meet has been working there less than 2 years and it isn't a startup."

– LeeroyTC

"Or the flip side… I once worked in a place where everyone had been there 15+ years except one other person who had just started 8 months before me"

"Needless to say there wasn’t much career progression and the people there were just counting their years (or days) until they retired and didn’t give a sh*t about anything"

"Red flag was definitely the newest person training me instead of the ones who were there a long time"

– personofinterest18

I’m definitely holding on to my current job!

Do you have any red flags to be on the look out for? Let us know in the comments below!