Are there Red Flags at your Company?

Maybe. If you want to confirm or deny this you’d first need to know what to look for. This is a story of my failure to spot these flags early until they were affecting me personally in a big way. I think that a skill that many of us lack is the ability to spot red flags from a distance or to see the small ones that would only really affect us when they begin to intrude in our lives on a closer level. The scary thing is that regardless of size or difficulty to initially recognize they can be just as bad as the big ones.

Let me relay a short but unfortunate situation in my life. When I first started at my company I really thought there were no red flags there. During my time interviewing here I certainly hadn’t seen any. A year went by and I can honestly say I have no memories of ever feeling like there was going to be any issues with this. Fast forward to today and then rewind a little bit to yesterday, I had my first painful experience with something that I definitely would have known was a red flag had I noticed it from the start. Here’s a photo I took of my work desk the day before yesterday.

Now look at this same work desk the next day.

How could this have happened? I wasn’t sure if maybe my desk had been erroneously labeled as the 1st hole in a golf course or maybe if a relay team had come through and had an accident. What was certain was that I could barely see my middle monitor leaving me with only like two screens. I didn’t know to whom I could reach out. Had this always been an understood part of working here? Was it maybe less of a deal than I was making it out to be? Maybe I was the problem and not the flag? Looking back now I can safely say that had I known about this red flag I would have thought at least twice before accepting this position.

Let me share some of my research on red flags to help you identify them in your workplace. Red flags can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In fact, from my research on what defines a flag, it doesn’t seem like size or shape are restrictive in any way. That alone is terrifying. They can be used as a symbol, a signal, a designation, or even as a decoration. The one thing we do know for sure is that red flags are going to be all or mostly red, however, the flagpole does not have to be that color.

Look around you right now. How many red flags do you see? Probably not very many. Now flip that. How many red flags do you not see? Stay fresh, stay aware, don’t be a fool like I was, because things for me will never be the same.