Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Red Flags In The Workplace: Part 1

As someone who has been in the workforce over 20 years now and is currently looking for work, I thought maybe I should write down some of the red flag situations I've ignored due to my need for security and misplaced feelings of loyalty. Hopefully, I won't make the same mistakes again--I'll have learned and grown enough to make new, exciting mistakes!

1. When it becomes apparent that larger management thinks shame is a good motivation tool, get out.

2. When there's no independent HR person or department to take concerns to, walk away. Yes, I know that HR is not working for employees but is there to protect the organization. But I think that having HR in general is a good signal that the organization is cognizant of the need for checks and balances, and negotiating between competing interests. That way, it won't take a year for someone to realize that a new manager should not be managing his roommate or the people he vacations with.

3. If you work in a fair sized department or organization, and a third of the department belongs to the same religious/cultural group, be wary.

4. If the dominant group makes any mention of religion in the workplace, such as inviting you to services or jokingly saying, "You should be a __________!", get out. See also #2.

5. It's hard for me to form relationships and feel safe. I seem nice but quiet and standoffish for a long time. I don't like being transferred among different teams without a permanent person/manager type in my corner. I need to be more proactive striking up relationships, but the idea that people should be able to do their best work as an interchangeable cog on a team is not a valid notion.

6. Introverts doing introvert-type work need introvert environments to do that work. If it seems like management doesn't support this, start to think about getting out.

7. Is the environment critical for the sake of being critical and perfectionistic, or is it honestly critical with the aim of doing better? If you're not 100% convinced it's the latter, scoot tout suite.

Sadly, these are all lessons learned from my last job. But I've got more experiences to review! Stay tuned!

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