10 Behaviors That Scream You’re in a Toxic Workplace


A recent online post is asking employees to share their tell-tale signs that a job is toxic.

We’ve all worked in jobs we hate, so what employee wisdom can we find to help warn against toxic workplaces? 

1. That Awkward Silence

Woman walking past two men
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“Being quiet when certain people enter the office” is the first pick of the thread. Michael Scott’s relationship with H.R. killjoy Toby comes to mind with this trope, but we’ve all experienced the office ‘Karen.’

Sometimes, they are just difficult personalities; other times, they are just time vampires. “Oh man, the one person that tells the boss everyone’s secrets,” adds another familiar person. I hear you.

2. Blue Mondays

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“When you’re crying on your way to work,” says a female worker. This scenario is a red flag for employees, but it is time to consider a new path if your work affects your mental health.

“I used to sit in the parking lot and cry in my car before going to my last workplace,” agrees another unfulfilled soul. 

3. Horrible Bosses

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It is the most obvious one, but we have all had the mini-dictator at work. One fleeing worker, safe with a new job after handing in notice, explains how her boss was.

“When I knew I was leaving, I was very vocal about the pay increase at my new job,” she recalls. “After I left, he gave everyone an extra dollar an hour.” 

4. The ’60 Minutes’ Feeling

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Many employees hate that feeling on a Sunday when they dread what is around the corner — the few hours until you press a shirt, pack your work bag and await the Monday alarm clock.

“I call it the ’60 Minutes feeling’,” says a commenter. “When I was a kid, my parents watched the show 60 Minutes, which was on Sunday evenings.”

5. Micromanagers

Manager peeping into employee laptop
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“I left a job after a few months because of micromanagement,” shares a relieved worker. “I always thought that Office Space consultant scene was a hyperbolic joke until I actually had four people breathing down my neck several times a week.”

Ironically for control freaks, studies show that people with moderately cognitive jobs are more productive when given autonomy. 

6. High Turnover Rate

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According to one poster, it is a red flag if new faces keep appearing in your new job.

“If employees are hard to retain and you frequently see new coworkers,” warns the commenter. “you are working at a toxic place.”

7. Gossip Culture

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I once heard that toxic people reveal themselves when they talk about others. There will always be office gossip, though some are less conspicuous about their gripes with coworkers and will talk some colleagues down.

An employee warns that the office gossip who talks about others will do the same to you “when you aren’t around.” 

8. Overtime for No Pay

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Another observer states when “working many hours overtime each week is expected even though you are salary,” it may be time to move on.

Any worker should expect to cover extra hours sometimes, but not to the point of exploitation.

9. Mediocre Performance Reviews

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“Giving you mediocre performance reviews even though they praise you and don’t have any feedback on how to get a higher score,” declares an underappreciated worker.

Nothing shouts nasty boss more than giving a bad or underwhelming performance review. They usually come without warning, with no prior mention of the discrepancies. 

10. Playing Favorites

Woman at work
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This one is mine. I have worked in environments where the boss is close friends with staff members.

Not that bosses shouldn’t have friends at work, but it’s hard to take when those friends get benefits like extra ‘professional development’ or personal days, better offices, or kinder working schedules. 

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