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The Nightmare Workplace: The Beginning of the End

workplace culture May 09, 2022

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re excited to dive into your new job, so you get there a few minutes early. You’ve been instructed to stop by Human Resources to fill out the required payroll and benefits paperwork, but when you arrived, the guy in the lobby tells you the Vice President of HR has been called to an emergency meeting. He didn’t know what the meeting was about or how long it would last, so you take a seat and wait.

The VP of HR appears about 30 minutes later with a harried apology for keeping you waiting. You go over all of the paperwork she has for you to sign, and hands you an access card to the building. She gives a quick lesson on how to use the time clock, and then escorts you to your desk. You’re thinking the VP of HR is actually a little scary.

“Your manager will be here shortly,” she says curtly. “He’ll take you around and introduce you to your team and then treat you to lunch. In the meantime, you can start reading through these manuals. Let me know if you have any questions, okay? Welcome aboard and good luck!”

You sit down and look at the pile of manuals at your desk and decide to start with the employee handbook.It was full of legal stuff and technical jargon, and it was quite long and complicated for a handbook.You take away some of the following points after reading it:

  • There’s a strict “business professional” dress code for office workers.
  • No snacks or lunches may be eaten at your desk.
  • Work areas must be kept free of clutter, such as family photos and plants.
  • No moving the furniture around.
  • No music or “boisterous talking” allowed.
  • Senior management approval is required for a lot of things, such as taking a day off or giving a customer something more than what is in the contract.

As the days and weeks progress, you learn some additional pieces of information about this organization:

  • There aren’t team meetings
  • There’s one decision maker for most everything
  • There isn’t a forum for sharing goals, ideas or accomplishments
  • There’s a lot of turnover
  • Employees aren’t trusted to make even the smallest of decisions

Have you been there?  It’s awful, a Defensive Workplace.  Maybe you’re there now.  If so, don’t despair.  Download our FREE Breakthrough Tools at to create a workplace you’ll love.  After all, what have you got to lose?

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