Signs that this is probably not a good company to be working for?

Having been chewed up and spat out by more than one job, I feel eminently qualified to comment on this issue. Of course, sometimes I only recognized the signs in retrospect, having been hired by a company that had a reputation as being good to work for because at some point in the distant past, it was and word hadn’t gotten out yet that since the original owner/CEO/whoever died/retired/whatever, the place wasn’t what it used to be, working-for wise.

So, anyway, I’ve identified a few things that should make a new hire, or, if you get advance warning, prospective employee, run screaming into the streets.

  1. Twelve hours of orientation, spread across two or more days, which is mostly spent telling the new hires what A Great Company This Is To Work For.

  2. Showing a video called Fish during orientation. The company will never be the fun, happy workplace that the fish market in the video is. Unless the company happens to be a fish market in Seattle…

  3. Referring to employees as “associates”.

  4. Referring to employees needing interdepartmental help as “internal customers”.

  5. Orientation videos that are designed to train people in how to give good customer service. Bonus points if the scenarios depicted in these videos have absolutely no relavance to the job descriptions of more than half the people in the orientation room.

  6. Referring to situations in which a customer is unhappy as a “Guest-op” (Guest Opportunity)

  7. Having particular words that are mandatory for use if someone asked “How are you”. (Note- the root word for “Terrific” is “terror”. If you are told to tell people you are “terrific”, run away.)

Those are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I’m sure there are many others…

Signs to watch out for while applying for a job: Any want add saying “Fun job; Rock and Roll atmosphere” or “Make up to 5,000 per week! Be your own boss!”

Translated, it means you’ll be selling junk that people don’t want, don’t need, can’t afford, and wouldn’t use if you did manage to sell it to them.

Signs to watch out for upon hiring: Orientation meetings where you’re given meaningless phrases like, “We need leaders, not losers” or “Don’t try–just do it!” Or where you are assured that the world is just itching to buy some product that you’ve never even heard of.

Signs to watch out for a couple weeks in: Employees that were hired with you disappear and new ones move in. A high turn-over rate means it’s a lousy place to work.

Extra creepy: Referring to employees as “The (insert business name here) Family.”

Companies that the above applies to, you know who you are.

Maybe you should stop applying for jobs at Wal-Mart and Target.

A sign that you’ll soon be let go. You’re asked to train a fellow employee in an area where one only employee in needed, and you happen work in that area.


That’s New York Life “A fortune 60 company. We’re bigger thank Coke. We’re bigger than Disney. We blah blah blah blah blah.” It was three days and might’ve actually totalled a little more than twelve hours.

I finally told them I was moving and couldn’t work for them.

Yeah…sounds like a real concentration camp. :rolleyes:
I hate corporate rah-rah team building bullshit as much as anyone, but there are plenty of shitty jobs out there where the company just doesn’t care about anything.

On the other hand, you don’t want to work for a cult (I’ve had those kinds of jobs). It’s one thing to have that team-building crap in your company. It’s quite another to have everyone actually buy into it. During the three-week orientation at one job I had, a fellow trainee and I made a joke presentation poking fun at the “go team go” attitude of the trainers, saying “it’s a great place to be yourself…provided you’re just like the rest of us”. The trainers were horrified.

How about hearing the other employees recall not being paid for a couple of months? Or having your boss ask you to proofread his resumé?

Yes, I got out as fast as I could. I still wound up putting in 4.5 months there. *:: shudder :: *

If you’re told to “look busy.”
If you have a better understanding of the industry you’re in than management does.
If after pointing out to management a simple way to save the company tons of money, they suddenly start noticing mistakes that you’ve been making.
If they bring in a “consultant.”
If you’re asked to reapply for the job you already have.
If you’re told to “embrace change.”
If the company can’t hold any meeting without powerpoint presentations.
If you’re being hired on at the same time the company is doing layoffs.
If you’re being interviewed in secret.
If the employees make jokes about the owners resembling characters out of the movie American Beauty.

Actually, six of the seven items on my list are drawn from my experience working in the casino industry.

Top 10 signs that this is not a good company to work for:

  1. Economizing means you must bring your own toilet tissue and paper towels to work.
  2. The executive golf course has a clown on the 18th hole-put the ball in his mouth and get a free game!
  3. The last upgrade introduced by IT was to install Windows 3.1.1
  4. When the boss springs for dinner, coupons for Mickey D’s are involved.
  5. Document security consists of handing papers to the Vice President’s Pit Bull.
  6. Flexible hours means you’re free to do whatever you want between 6PM and 6AM.
  7. The corporate logo was designed on an Etch-A-Sketch.
  8. Unexcused absences include death in the family, and yours.
  9. The treadmills and cycles in the employee workout room are generating electricity for the place.
  10. The corporate wellness program consists of letting you sniff the fumes from the purple copier masters until you feel better.

A couple of snippets from an interview I had not too long ago:

Me: “So, what differentiates you from your competitors?”

Company rep: “Uhhhh…good question.”

Company rep: “So what would you do in [horrible strawman scenario]?”

Me: “Wow. It’s never really come up, because I’ve always been on great terms with my developers. I’d probably [blah blah blah]. Waitaminnit…do you run into that situation in your group?”

Company rep: “Yeah, actually it’s pretty common.”

Maybe you shouldn’t be in a service business. Part of working in those jobs is to be the face of the company. Often that means acting like a grinning simpleton douchebag and some people just aren’t comfortible with that.

Well, msmith537, here’s the thing…

In my years as a craps dealer, I actually enjoyed dealing, enjoyed interacting with the customers, giving good service, trying to teach newbies a thing or two about the game, catching the occasiona cheat. The job I lasted longest at actually genuinely had the highest customer service standards of any place I worked at, and I received high praise from floor and pit boss type for customer service above and beyond the call of duty. They had the good sense to know that an employee who enjoys their job is going to give better service than one who doesn’t. As a shift manager once told me, “Customer service comes from within.”

Well, I got the big head and decided I should be making more money, and that’s when the trouble started. At the jobs where there was more tip-earning potential, I found myself consistently surrounded by dealers who were either completely burned out, or just didn’t have enough brains to do anything else for a living (craps looks more complicated than it actually is, it’s basically fourth grade math). These guys hated being on a craps game with someone who was genuinely having a good time dealing craps. I had more than one person tell me, “Look, we’re here to make money…” all the while running potential tipping players off the game with their pissy attitudes. I really wanted to tell them that if they hated dealing that much, maybe they should get out of the business and leave the jobs for those of us who actually wanted to be doing them…

And the management actually seemed to prefer having these types of people working for them. In orientation they were all “Oh, yeah, smile, have fun, be happy and make the customers happy”, but in actual practice, the pit bosses and floormen, who were also mostly burnouts who didn’t know how to do anything else for a living, preferred to work among people with similar attitudes.

The only chance a smiling happy person had of survival was if they were either obviously faking it or were a corporate drone who didn’t have two brain cells to rub together.

Or a grinning simpleton douchebag, if you prefer.

Yes, the worst job I’ve had was where the management gave amazing, glowing lip-service to the ideals that should govern a business. In practice they were the worst group of politicking, employee-abusing, lying, slimy, greedy weasels I have ever seen.

The way the economy’s heading, there won’t be anything left but service businesses in the near future…

Hijack, but I can’t help feeling that you’ve found a root cause of a heck of a lot of employer/employee tension.

When did we start confusing the good old ideal of a professional providing service with "being waited on by a grinning simpleton douchebag " ?

Issuing a list of correct answers to the question “How are you?” is no way to communicate values. On the contrary, it’s sending a loud & clear signal to the employees that they shouldn’t bother actually trying to assimilate anything of company culture and values, as long as they can put on their phony smily face and say their lines.

Take notice of the lowest person on the totem pole; i.e. the receptionist or secretary. If they are treated like crap, or act like they hate their job, get out of there now.

Nobody has to treat the lowest person good. If they don’t, it’s not a good place to work.

While I was a student in the Uni, I attended one of those graduate orientation presentations (or whatever they call it) from National Semiconductor
The presentation boiled down to :

“Come work with us because”

-Our company is really great
-You can meet new people
-Our company has a multi-cultural environment
-Fuerstenfeldbruck(that’s where the company is) is a great town with ski resorts and stuff
-You can go to the Munich Beer Festival

When the presentator was pressed for giving some salary numbers, he admitted that its peanuts.

That was the first and last presentation of this kind I ever attended. It certainly convinced me to NOT work for National Semiconductor.

I once contracted for an “anti-virus” company and no it wasn’t Norton. We travelled a LOT in our department, and I would overhear the full time employees complaining that their credit card companies were threatening lawsuits on them because the company had not paid their expense checks in 90 days. When offered a full time job with that company I politely declined.

At least working for a consulting firm, I got my expense checks 5 days after submitting my expense report. What a way to wreck havoc on your employee’s credit report.

I used to contract. And I’d almost always get asked if I wanted a “real” job there. I used to pay attention to the cars in the parking lot. If everyone drove really crappy cars, I wouldn’t even consider the question any further - they weren’t going to pay me enough and I didn’t need to insult them by letting them know that. So I’d say “I really enjoy consulting, this is what I want to be doing right now. You guys have a great company, but I’m happy where I am.”

(Usually I got an offer anyway, and it was always so low so that I needed to prep myself via the car survey so as not to snicker in their faces).