4 Red Flags Your New Job Is Toxic (And What To Do Next)

Starting a new job is supposed to be exciting and full of promise, a stepping stone towards a brighter future. But what happens when that new opportunity turns out to be more like a sinking ship? It’s important to see the signs before it’s too late! Toxic workplaces may come in different forms, but here are four signs that I encourage you to look out for. 

Unclear Direction

One of the big red flags that your new job may be toxic is when there are unclear goals within the organization. Without a clear understanding of what the company and team aim to achieve and the path to get there, it can leave you feeling lost and uncertain of your role.

If you’re in this situation, my advice is to be proactive in your first few weeks and meet with senior leaders at the company. As the new team member in the organization, people are more likely to sit down with you for a coffee chat so take advantage of this time. Get to know them as people and understand their big goals for the company. You will in return be more inspired and can also help your own team know the direction you are heading.

Uninspiring Leadership

Another key red flag that your new job may be toxic is when you encounter uninspiring leadership within the organization. Effective leadership is not just about managing tasks and responsibilities, but also keeping the team aligned on a common purpose and moving towards big goals. When leaders lack enthusiasm, fail to provide guidance or support, and display a lack of vision or inspiration, it can significantly impact you and your potential to grow.

If you encounter this within your new job, it’s important to give your manager some time but also take note of what you need to succeed. As you develop a relationship with your manager, it would be good to give feedback and share how best to manage you. Additionally, seek mentorship from other leaders in the organization who display the qualities you admire. You can also learn from them to develop your own skills and become a better leader yourself.


Is productivity measured by working long hours at your company? That’s not an ideal situation because more hours do not always equal more results. If anything, it can be the opposite. Just like the previous red flag, my advice is to communicate with your manager.

After all, it’s important to set boundaries and prioritize your well-being. Communicate with your manager and team members about your workload, deadlines, and the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Explore strategies such as time management techniques, prioritization, and delegation to ensure you can accomplish your tasks effectively within regular working hours. Most importantly, make sure to utilize your vacation days and time off to recharge and rejuvenate. 


Mutual trust is a recipe for team success, and micromanagement has the opposite effect. If your manager is checking up on every little thing you do, it may affect your confidence and ability to perform your tasks. The best working relationships involve camaraderie, trust to do the job, and an open line of communication.

If your manager is micromanaging more than you’d like, my advice is to ask them for a sit-down and identify a good working style together. Instead of telling them just how you feel, bring with you specific examples and possible solutions that can help both of you succeed. Reassure them that you appreciate the check-ins but work more effectively when you can own a task from beginning to end, and can get feedback afterward. If your manager has a growth mindset, they will adapt over time and be a better manager because of it.

Speaking Up Is Key

As you’ve seen in my suggestions for each red flag, the common denominator to all these solutions is connecting with your manager and speaking up. Honest and direct communication can help your manager realize gaps in their management style that they may not be aware existed. Despite these red flags, a manager who’s willing to listen and adjust for their team is a big green flag and a great sign of someone who cares. Have the courage to speak up and act toward crafting a workplace in which you will thrive.

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