Do you suspect that you’re working for a bad company? Well, in this article, we’ll conduct a litmus test to gauge whether or not you should make your move out of that organization.
There are many individuals reading this article who are probably wondering whether or not they’re working for a bad company. If you’re somebody that’s in an active interview, pay close attention to this list and make sure that you are asking the right questions so that you can flush out whether or not it’s a good opportunity for your career because working for one bad employer can hamper your ability to develop a positive attitude at work and set you back years in your career.
So without any further ado, let’s break down some of the signs that you might be working for a bad company.
Your Company is Stagnant
The first sign that you’re working for a bad company is that they are stagnant. The company just seems to be getting by. They may be struggling to achieve profitability and they don’t seem to have any major growth plans in mind. In fact, they’re the proverbial bump on a log if it’s a company with the personality of a rock, and a lot of times these are legacy employers that have not kept up with the times and these are all too common in industries where they may be dominating the local region and there’s not any real reason for them to be particularly innovative.
They kind of just exist and the problem with the stagnant employer is that it’s going to limit your career growth, which we’ll discuss in the coming sections of this blog post.
The Industry is Declining
The next major sign you are working for a bad company is the industry as a whole is not growing. If the company that you’re working for is in an industry that is dying you may want to make sure that you update your resume and keep your options open and this is especially true if there are some major disruptors in the industry that you’re working in.
Maybe, it’s a company that has come in and completely shaken things up or there’s a new technology that comes out and makes the existing technology that your company relies on Obsolete.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is Blockbuster. When Netflix came in, it disrupted the entire market with an entirely new model in total and there are a lot of companies that failed to adapt. You can also make an argument for film manufacturers for cameras. For example, the ryzen digital camera film has all but become obsolete.
In fact, there are some photographers who’ve stocked up on some film that was going to be discontinued and they stuck it in a freezer to preserve it and not only the main industry but also the supporting industries around it.
So if you work for a company that specializes in one-hour photos, that might be an indicator that since the broader market is struggling they are probably going to struggle too and that’s a good sign that you’re working for a bad company.
Their Methods are Obsolete
Another thing to look for in addition to working in an industry that’s fallen behind the times is if the company itself has fallen behind the times. So if they’re not investing in the latest technology or they’ve kind of become apathetic and they’ve let the rest of the market pass them by.
If you go in and look at their systems, you may find that they’re running really old and outdated software. They haven’t invested in their infrastructure for long. It is also evident from such facts that staying with the same employer for long can actually be bad for your career and this is an example of how this can be the case.
Let’s assume that you worked your entire career for a company that had fallen behind the times and you suddenly find yourself laid off. You go into the open market and realize that you’re lagging way behind the rest of the industry. Looking for a new job in that environment is going to be twice as hard because you’re lacking some of the critical skills that everybody else has.
Furthermore, you would want to work for a company that has invested in its infrastructure because if something major happens, for instance, take the case of southwest airlines who got their proverbial pants down over a technology issue and never invested in their infrastructure. So now they’re trying to catch up and it’s costing them billions of dollars.
In such a situation, as a responsible and progressive employer, a wise move would be to try to target innovators in your industry and ones that invest in the latest and greatest technology
Your Company is Broke
Now, of course, they also need to be able to pay their bills. So if you’re working for a company that can’t afford the latest and greatest technology because they don’t make any money, then that’s a clear indication that you’re working for a bad company.
If your company is struggling to pay its bills and keep its lights on they’re not able to make its payroll on time and they’re not able to invest in that infrastructure to stay relevant then that’s a major red flag that you’re working for a bad company.
Because, if a company is not able to invest in its own growth, what makes you think that it would be able to invest in your career?
Having a Bad Reputation
Now, a lot of companies will also have a bad reputation. That’s the next warning sign that you should be looking for if the organization that you work for has a bad reputation amongst its peer group or has a bad reputation among the industry as a whole that’s something you should be paying very close attention to and of course if the company is riddled with big public scandals, that’s probably an alarming sign that you’re working for a bad company.
Maybe, it’s a legacy company that doesn’t feel like they even need to try that hard because they have a monopoly. If you go and check out their glassdoor reviews they’re not too stellar.
So, it’s in your best interest to pay close attention to the reputation of your organization. Because if you work for a company that has a bad reputation and has no intention to improve it, then it can actually make it harder for you to find another job in the future.
Lack of Competitiveness
Of course, you want to pay attention to the industry as a whole and we want to look at where the company is positioned. Your company should ideally be ranked in the top five of its industry because if they are not, then they are not the major player in the industry and other competitors have passed them by now.
It’s not to say that they aren’t great, small companies trying to make their mark on a bigger industry but in general, we want to target those industry leaders and companies that have a great reputation but if there’s not a clear competitive advantage to your company or other competitors are gaining market share on your company, that’s something to pay close attention to because it means that you’re working for a bad company that is starting to fall behind times
Lack of Vision
If that’s the case it’s likely that your company is not visionary and that’s the next major red flag. Think of the Town Hall meetings that your company has. Can you tell me what their vision is for the future five years or ten years? What is the strategic plan for the organization? And if you can’t answer that, you better hope that the leaders can, because if they can’t, you’re probably in an organization that is going to stagnate your growth.
So what would innovation look like? Well, they should have some sort of disruptive technology or some unique approach to the market that sets them apart from their crowd.
High Turnover Rate
Another sign to look for is if there is high turnover and this is especially true at the executive level because if there’s a revolving door at the executive level that those executive leaders are also recognizing that there’s not a clear vision.
Now, of course, this trickles down to the rest of the organization. Take a look around your department and if there’s a revolving door that constantly moves people in and out of the organization, this means they just can’t seem to retain people. Even though this might give you an opportunity for promotion because they simply need people to plug a hole in the dam, it doesn’t build well for your long-term future.
So if this sounds like you, then use that situation to your advantage to get the experience that you need and have a clear exit strategy.
On the flip side of voluntary turnover, which is when people leave an organization, we also want to look at involuntary turnover, which is layoffs. So the company that you’re working for seems to have major layoffs after major layoffs each time the market turns. That’s a major red flag as an employee that you should be assessing.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve had several opportunities to really assess how companies behave if they had a layoff after 2020 and then whiplashed back to hiring and then laid off again more recently that’s a huge red flag that there’s probably limited career growth and the company isn’t all that visionary. Of course, you should be absolutely paying attention to the way that people are treated as they’re made to exit the business.
No Career Opportunities
This all boils down to the final major sign that you should be looking for that you’re working for a bad company, that is, you simply have no career opportunities there. This goes beyond the obvious of not having a clear promotional career path along with the presence of wage stagnation as well if you’re in an organization that can’t afford to keep paying the employees the right amount especially when we have inflation through the roof that’s the sign that you’re probably never going to catch up to the market and again if the company doesn’t make any money and can’t afford their employees then that’s another sign that we talked about before.
So what you should do if you find yourself working for a bad company? Well, we have to act like a free agent so it’s highly recommended that you always keep your job search active even when you’re happy with where you’re working. This means having a well-optimized resume, having clear employment stories ready to sell if you get an interview, and always working on building strong and relevant networks.