1. Turnover is sky high
People are dropping like flies, and everyone else is low key searching for jobs on their phone every time they go to the bathroom. Morale at work is lower than a sausage dog’s belly is to the ground.
2. The focus changes every week
One week, your company is planning to open an office in Amsterdam. The following week, they restructure or decide to change their entire service offering.
Upper management delivers these decisions to you with fake smiles and forced optimism and you start wondering whether they’re all off their meds.
You’re on a sinking ship with a captain who can’t even swim let alone steer, and everyone is hoping they spot land soon so they can at least jump off near enough to swim.
3. Upper management doesn’t listen to staff
Despite repeated assurances that your boss is listening to you, you feel as if no one cares about your input, believes you or trusts your expertise.
Well-meant suggestions from staff are ignored or overlooked, and when projects fuck up due to mismanagement from others, you still get the blame (even though you saw it coming a mile away, and said so).
4. “Funny slogan t-shirt day” doesn’t make up for shitty culture
The management team has perhaps realized that there’s no/bad workplace culture, probably because employees are struggling so hard to keep their heads above water that it takes all their remaining strength just to remember not to put their clothes on back to front every morning.
In a last-ditch attempt to save the dying company culture, they decide to add a string of boring days in the diary which involve cooking your own food or wearing dorky t-shirts that you don’t already own (unless you kept your clothes from the ’90s). To make matters worse, none of these “staff” days have anything to do with a charity.
5. Your manager is a dick
It’s not easy to get on with doing your work when you’re walking on eggshells. Your manager’s mood goes from icy cold to angry, to passive aggressive to normal again quicker than the time it took for everyone to shovel down the cheap supermarket cake she bought for your birthday.
You constantly feel anxious about doing the wrong thing, even when you’re doing everything right.
6. It’s all drama, drama, drama
There will always be office politics at play every now and then wherever you go, but you shouldn’t feel like there’s so much that you’re considering being sworn in as Minister for Your Own Mental Health.
You feel like you’re back in high-school. If people aren’t catastrophizing every situation, they’re putting out fires due to poor management and no prior planning or risk assessment.
Stress rules the school, and decisions are made through fear or misguided attempts to impress the boss. Some people constantly kiss your boss’s ass. Others put their hand up to do everything, but all he/she does is create a spreadsheet, delegating all the work to everyone else. There’s so much project management, and the management of the project management, that nothing ever gets done.
7. You feel like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole
Nothing makes sense and meetings are a complete waste of time where nothing gets achieved and everyone leaves feeling more confused than if they saw a disappearing cat talking in a tree.
No one ever knows what the fuck they’re doing and lack of management means things slip through the cracks or you end up doubling up on work because there’s no clear management or communication between employees or teams.
8. It’s all about the money
Sometimes businesses need to take on work, clients or projects that might not necessarily be “fun” to work on.
But sometimes projects can be downright bad for business. Maybe your business is taking on clients on that are dodgy or downright rude. Maybe your clients don’t understand the value of the services your company is providing (and never will). Maybe your boss massively over promised the client, and you’re left to deal with the repercussions.
Some of this is business. But working on clients who are complete assholes to you, or whose values or business practices you fundamentally disagree with is soul-crushing. When your company is making poor business decisions, it’s either out of desperation or bad management. Either way, do you really want to stick around to find out which it is?
9. Nothing. Ever. Changes.
People are averse to new processes and there’s a “don’t ask questions” policy akin to the Dursley family household that has nothing to do with you secretly being a wizard (sadly).
10. Your weekend countdown starts at 9:05am on Monday morning
You’re in a career coma. You know you need to leave, but you keep making excuses. You think you won’t find a new job, or worse; you’ll find one that sucks even more than your current job.
A new job could be worse, but you won’t know until you leave, and, until you leave, you’ll continue being miserable. If the stream of constant whispers leaves you wondering where the gas leak is, and “Miss Spreadsheets” is at it again, face the facts; it’s time to make like Usain and get out of there.