Posted by on July 6, 2019

These 18 signs you are working in a toxic work environment, show a wide variety of what I experienced. You will see that it’s not just office drama. The best sign to look for when determining if you are working in a toxic environment is your gut feeling. This looks different for everyone. The heart and the mind can turn anything negative around but your gut gives you a straight answer. No but, maybe or if: It doesn’t tell stories. But just in case you are like me who was in the practice of not listening to my gut… these are 18 signs you are working in a toxic work environment:

1. You get little feedback and when you do, it’s negative and harsh

I’ve had quite some negative stuff said to me for not working fast enough. My supervisor went as far as standing behind me and watching me work, just so he could “push me”

2. You feel left out of the loop regarding important information

I would find out my job responsibilities have been reassigned to other people when I begun the tasks. Everyone but me who was involved in the task was aware well in advanced.

I even found out about my change in job title by login into a HR portal. No one ever mentioned the change in job title or my responsibilities.

3. You may be doing the work for two, three or four people

The company hired an Accountant, Human Resources, an Assistant Project Manager, a Drafter and a Site Supervisor to take on my responsibilities, since I would shift between these 5 positions.

4. There is a lack of recognition

No one ever acknowledged how much I did. If they showed appreciation it was over something small like the placement of a laundry room, rather than the entire job.

5. You always do too much or not enough. Nothing you do makes them happy.

These are extreme ends. I went from doing too many tasks to going weeks without any assignments.

They would tell me I am putting too many details and being a perfectionist and instruct me on how to tone it down. Then it was too simple and lacked information!!

6. Poor communication

I had to ask so many questions to figure out what they required me to do. Often, after the questions, I was more confused because the answers conflicted. Plus, I spent a lot of hours redoing work!

7. Lack of growth opportunities

When I had no tasks to do, I would nudge for anything to do. But I got nothing since I wasn’t the “best person for the job”. I was even told that I should just freelance for a while because they had no use for me.  

lack of growth
Lack of growth opportunities

8. You are told you are lucky to have your job

I was told that my luck was going to ran out since I was taking so many days of… That I was going to end up without a job if I wasn’t careful. I had to take days of to show up in court for my children’s custody!

9. There is bullying behavior

I mostly got put down for my diet choices. However there was plenty of “jokes” about females and designers. And somehow they found humor in domestic violence.

I would also walk into the office and they would joke about how I am still working there and that they thought I had been fired. There was also this joke about how I was incompetent.

10. There is controlling behavior

My supervisor said “We pay you, I can command you to do whatever I want and you have to do it.” And days later in conversation he says “only dogs follow commands. You can’t make people listen”

11. People are miserable

It was common for people to talk negatively about other people. My co-worker even fished for an insult: asking me to agree to the negative comment about him.

I would play music to brighten up the mood, but after being told to change the station more than once, I started wearing headphones.

12. You find yourself venting and looking for advice

I spent so much time complaining to family and friends about what I was experiencing and asking people what they thought about how I was treated.  When I was told they are abusive, I still wasn’t convinced. I read articles like this just to validate what I experienced.

13. They focus on targets, goals, production, errors and imperfections

I adjusted timecard according to location. It didn’t have to be perfect but it was important because five minutes adds up over the years; multiplied by every employer means paying thousands for time that wasn’t spent working.

It sounds great to want to be efficient. But you’re just a body, a machine in the line whose purpose is to do what they need to get profit, power or whatever is driving them.

14. You are paranoid they are replacing you

One day I came into the office and interrupted someone being “interviewed” at my desk. They were performing a task to gage how fast they were. This made me paranoid about being replaced.

15. Their operations are disjoined and dysfunctional

I had my supervisor stand right there and give his assistant instructions to give to me. It was like I wasn’t even standing there. Then when the supervisor left, his assistant said “don’t even bother I did this already days ago.” When I asked to take a look at it, he withheld the information. So instead of doing it as a team, I did it by myself and sent my version.

They were also constantly giving unreasonable deadlines or even worse; not giving a deadline then complaining that it wasn’t completed in time.

16. Feels like they are waiting to pounce on you for messing up

My co-worker liked to dig for something to complain about; on a job well done, he complained that the layers were not set up in the method he preferred. He still continued to complain even if I pointed out that the project started before he was hired so the layers were already set.

17. You are expected to put work first

I was expected to work overtime for the days I missed. When I couldn’t work overtime because of having to do other personal stuff like assemble my furniture, I was in their words, “not committed”

18. Listen to your gut

I appreciated being chosen for this job rather than being choosey about adding value to elevate what I appreciate in my life. I now see value in other things. We come into existence for much more than a paycheck that we use to pay other people while we enslave in work. What is your core self calling for? Listen to it!

18 signs you are working in a toxic work environment
18 signs you are working in a toxic work environment

I was feeling trapped because I was already looking for another job but couldn’t find anything close enough. My family depended on me. I finally decided it wasn’t worth it and left the job. I actually felt much better being jobless with no money than I did working there and having the money. I had lost so much of myself.

If you are in a situation like this I have to tell you it isn’t worth it. They were nice at first. Almost too nice. It’s referred to as the idealization stage. I used to tell anyone who would listen that I loved my job. It ended up being the worst job I ever had. Sometimes only time can tell.

Listen to your gut. It’s really how you will know you have to go. I have a list of what to look for when you are in an interview if you are looking to catch the signs before you end up in a toxic work environment. If your mind and heart are keeping you stuck, these 18 signs you are working in a toxic work environment should help you sift and sort if you should leave or stay. Have you experienced a toxic work environment? Comment below or share this with a friend who is feeling stuck. Remember this looks different for everyone so your comment could help someone else sift and sort.


  1. Laura
    August 4, 2019

    Leave a Reply

    There is no difference between these words, they mean the same thing. Some people however, may think that a Supervisor is a slightly more superior Job title , some may …

    • Yvette
      August 4, 2019

      Leave a Reply

      Yeah. I learnt that people do not have the same moral and standards as I do: treating people with value and respect is not part of some peoples morals and values. I just assumed that of course everyone has basic morals and values. Not toxic people.

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what I offer on my siteI’m Yvette Oloo. Hello and Welcome. | I am on a journey of self actualization after loosing myself. | Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. | Spark your creativity!