Most of us working in the contemporary office environment have been close, or gone way off the deep end of the point where you feel like enough is enough. You take your hand cream from your desk, have one last drink with your beloved colleagues, and leave all that’s been bugging you behind.

And then you realize you’re out in the job hunt. But while screening through the open positions, you often see something like a “fast-paced environment,” which feels totally innocent, but according to Twitter user Sophia Benoit, means “toxic.”

Sophia’s tweet amassed 34K retweets and 332.9K likes and got more people sharing signs that warn that the workplace environment can be indeed very toxic. What we consider toxic is surely a subject of debate, but you have to keep your eyes and ears open when you are about to dive into an environment you’ll stay in for five days a week.

Psst! Check out our previous article with illuminating moments people realized they were indeed in over their heads in a toxic workplace.

#1

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

ChoolKaputt Report

Wendillon
Community Member
9 months ago

I sometimes wish I had the strength to become a mortician

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#2

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

WesKorfe Report

Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

Imagine they would write: "You will be our one-size-fits-all solution!"

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Bored Panda reached out to Sophia Benoit, writer, comedian, and the author of the book “Well, This Is Exhausting.” Sophia’s tweet “when a job listing says the words 'fast-paced environment' that means toxic” amassed 342.6k likes and sparked a much-needed discussion on identifying and working in a toxic workplace environment.

Sophia believes that “almost all workplaces, at least in the system we currently have in the US, have at the bare minimum points of toxicity. I think it’s part and parcel of our poor relationship to work.”

Moreover, “Workers are asked to put up with a lot that they should not have to endure, from things that seem 'small,' like someone commenting on your appearance, to big things like labor violations.” So in that sense, Sophia confirmed that she has worked in toxic work environments.

#3

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

racheleklein Report

A.M. Pierre
Community Member
9 months ago

"Why won't you regularly stay late for no overtime?" is also often connected to "It's like you're only doing this job for the money!" Um, let me refer you to a dictionary you can see what the definition of "job" is...

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#4

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

irepliez Report

Viviane
Community Member
9 months ago

"Work hard, play hard" was pretty much the motto of a corporation in my area. A summer student was reprimanded because he didn't eat lunch with his colleagues on the team (he had nothing in common with them). So he ate lunch with them 2 or 3 times as week and listened to their conversations (no, he didn't get paid extra for that).

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According to Sophia, a toxic workplace can be defined as “Any company that exploits workers, any environment that sees the lives of workers as there to serve the company; any company that allows for or excuses abuse or mistreatment. Any company that underpays or undervalues their workers.”

The term also applies to “Companies that get around labor laws, that try to give you as little benefits as possible. Companies that allow people higher up in the company to get away with shit, who enable them. Companies who don’t actively work against the sexism, racism, ableism, classism, and other bigotry baked into our society. That’s all toxic.”

#5

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

big_cheddars Report

Full of Giggles
Community Member
9 months ago

And the CEO is under 35 years old with the maturity of an 18 year old.

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#6

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

supergaymachine Report

María Hermida
Community Member
9 months ago

For me, the phrase "we are like a family" is the biggest, reddest flag on Earth. I've learnt nothing good has ever come from it.

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When asked what the "fast-paced environment" in the job listing actually signals, Sophia said that it means the company cares most about production. “Time is money to them; YOUR time—literally your life is money for them. That is a resource. And many, many, many companies measure their success on productivity.”

Sophia continued: “The route to that, they imagine, is an environment where they expect workers to put in 16-hour days or to always be on the clock or to answer emails within minutes or to be willing to be yelled at or to never sit down.”

The book author could have never guessed her tweet would go so viral, as she said she tweets “279 dumb things a day and I usually mute the tweet after I tweet it so I don’t keep checking my phone,” but she does see why so many people recognized something relevant in it. “We’re all in capitalism hell,” Sophia concluded.

#7

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

alexclaiborne1 Report

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
9 months ago

“We don’t want to train you, you should be an applicant with experience.”

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#8

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

AnnisTasker Report

Wendillon
Community Member
9 months ago

How does "male environment' and "established mixed team" go together? It's either a mixed team or it's a male environment....

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#9

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

hotincleveland Report

Eric Law
Community Member
9 months ago

Multitasking is a sophisticated time-management technique you can use to get 1/3 of each of two tasks done in the time it would normally take to complete just one task.

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A toxic workplace environment is something you’d never recommend to anyone. No matter what exactly causes it, there’s no secret it’s hazardous to our physical and mental health, and puts a stop to any professional growth you can think of.

Sometimes it’s the boss, the other times it’s colleagues, sometimes it’s the whole company culture or its attitude towards you as a worker. In any case, if you feel like you're being pressured, neglected, or abused in any shape or form, you should run away as far as you can.

#10

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

MStarkloff Report

J. F.
Community Member
9 months ago

One shop I worked at changed the team (of 2) like every year - there were one guy that worked there for 14 months before he got fired. My replacement was replaced after 4 months

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#11

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

ShrillofRights Report

Yvette Desmarais
Community Member
9 months ago

It's even better when they list products or services which only they use or produce like home grown software.

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#12

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

Buck_Plankchest Report

Mewton’s Third Paw
Community Member
9 months ago

Gag @ RockStar. The fûck does it even mean.

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#13

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

MissElyssa92 Report

Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

Hm...this one does not fit, doesn't it? It does not cite anything from a job posting...

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#14

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

drunklekev Report

Yvette Desmarais
Community Member
9 months ago

I once was interviewed for a client role like that. I declined and they wondered why I didn't want the job.

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But the best way to tackle workplace toxicity is not to get into it in the first place. So whenever you’re in the interview or simply see a job listing, the little red flags have to be taken seriously. First, it’s peculiar buzzwords and mission statements that reveal how companies talk about themselves in a coded way.

For example, Amazon’s common phrases included “fast-paced environment” and “maniacal,” while Slack’s included “lasting relationships'' and “care deeply.” So you can get the vibe where corporate culture is more employee-friendly.

#15

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

madamndeficit Report

Marcellus the Third
Community Member
9 months ago

Reverse psychology!

#16

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

KieshaK Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
9 months ago

This.

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#17

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

erpdc Report

Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

Also, the boss' shoes could need a little polishing. Now.

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#18

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

amm_lee Report

LesAnimaux
Community Member
9 months ago

This is not always bad... I've done this. Built a communications department from scratch that actually WORKED.

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#19

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

mdgumby Report

Hans
Community Member
9 months ago

...or worse, has been layed off. Or even worse, has quit due to frustration.

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Also, watch out for the benefits that come as free stuff. Free food or video games are a few examples, but essentially, they are a trap that doesn’t give you much to begin with. If companies did care about their workers, they’d pay enough so that they could easily buy their own drinks and games.

#20

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

Maggid Report

Fiona C
Community Member
9 months ago

Oh this one got me right in the gut

#21

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

live_bake_love Report

Dita Utomo
Community Member
9 months ago

I second this SO HARD.

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#22

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

JayForAwhile Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
9 months ago

I saw an ad that had all three of thsoe code phrases in it. I concluded that if I had that much spirit and self-starting, I didn't need to work for someone *else*, let alone *that* place!

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#23

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

DrJessicaLanger Report

Annette Easton
Community Member
9 months ago

Having worked in academics for quite I while I can confirm that the "crying chair" is definitely a thing. Actually having an environment that recognizes that the grad student experience is stressful and there are going to be times that the breaking point is reached is probably a good thing.

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#24

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

maggieglass Report

LesAnimaux
Community Member
9 months ago

I mean I have a sense of humor. Not saying it's good or in any way compatible with future coworkers, but I HAVE a sense of humor.

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And thirdly, always look around the environment when you go in for a job interview. How do the employees look? Do they seem tired, anxious, silent? This is a huge red flag, since you can't be that happy if you’re on the verge of burnout.

Also, sometimes the red flag may not be so prominent, but your gut is telling you to watch out. In these cases, make sure you trust your gut and go with that feeling even if the company promises all the nice things about it. After all, first impressions matter and they linger.

#25

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

DarthVodkas Report

ispeak catanese
Community Member
9 months ago

Means you better be heavily medicated to work there. 💊💊💊

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#26

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

mblei Report

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
9 months ago

Learn how to sell used cars, and you can sell anything ---- overheard by the POS trying to upsell me on, of all things, windows.

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#27

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

pwebbs Report

Johnny Rodriguez
Community Member
9 months ago

Give 3 workers 1 task..

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#28

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

hayleyjayw Report

Allan Breum
Community Member
9 months ago

I always return the favor. It tends to put people in their place... Also, it helps that I'm a massive asshole, so I ALWAYS have good ammo.

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#29

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

reexree1 Report

N G
Community Member
9 months ago

This is better advice than just blanket "other duties as required is a red flag". In my experience, this phrase is to get around people who say "that's not my job" and all you're asking them to do is put their papers in the recycling instead of the regular waste. (Can't think of the term for these people - the ones who stick so rigidly to the exact terms of their job description and never anything more. If it doesn't say "washes their coffee mug" it's not their job. Oh, and then complain that they never get promoted because they've shown no inclination to do anything other than exactly what is in their current job description. To the letter.) Do be aware of it, but take it on advisement with the rest of the interview feedback.

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#30

Toxic-Things-Job-Listings

akmonday Report

Joanna
Community Member
9 months ago

The syringe goes between your toes

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