23 Signs of a Toxic Web Development Workplace

23 Signs of a Toxic Web Development Workplace

Table of contents

I started working as a frontend web developer in 2020 and since I have gained experience working in various settings, including working as a freelancer, in a startup, and in a larger company.

Through these experiences, I have come to realize the importance of a healthy work environment.

I want to stress that the following is really bad advice:

"Accepting any job offer, even if it involves working in a toxic environment and tolerating abuse is fine as long as it helps you get your foot in the door in the tech industry."

No one should ever have to put up with abuse at work. It is not only unfair to you as a person, but it is also detrimental to the industry as a whole.

As a junior developer, it may be tempting to accept any job that comes your way. However, it is important to remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of your level of experience in the field. By collectively refusing to accept mistreatment, we can send a message to companies and employers that this behavior is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

It is important to remember that we all have a role to play in creating a healthier and more equitable work environment. By standing up for ourselves and others, we can work towards creating a culture in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

Please watch my video to see what you may be up against

And btw this is the longest video I ever made, I think that it’s more like a movie at this point πŸ˜‰

🚩🚩🚩RED FLAGs list & Video Timetable:

1. If you get a bad vibe during the interview. – 02:51

During an interview, any sort of bad vibe can lead to a negative atmosphere. This may include being interrupted, being corrected for no reason, having your responses misinterpreted as personal attacks, or simply not clicking with the interviewer. Keep in mind that the interview is only one aspect of the hiring process and often, people tend to put on their best behavior during interviews. Imagine if the interviewer is acting this way during the interview, what he/she might be in everyday real-life situations. Scary, right?

2. If you get stuck working only with one person directly – 05:57

If you are stuck working with only one person, and this person also maybe acts as your 'mentor', it can be a detrimental situation. This person has the power to decide what skills you possess and what skills you lack. Unfortunately, some people abuse this power and have a strong ego that prevents them from acknowledging your knowledge and skills. They may claim that everything you know is due to them teaching you and they may try to minimize your abilities. This can be particularly problematic if your abilities already surpass those of your 'mentor', as they may start to dislike you and try to bring you down further and further, to get you closer to their level. Furthermore - in team conversations, your 'mentor' may publicly evaluate your skills in a negative light, and as a new employee, you most probably won't have the authority to argue or defend yourself.

3. If your previous experience is not recognized. – 08:27

If you have a proven track record of working with certain technologies, but that experience is ignored or dismissed by others who claim that what you have learned is incorrect and insist on teaching you everything from scratch, it is important to remember that there is not just one correct way of doing things. Every experience should be recognized and in a healthy work environment, it should be clear that new experiences are built upon existing ones, rather than wiping away anything and starting anew. This applies to all skills, not just coding skills. In my case, every skill I had already was ignored or undermined - not just programming skills.

4. If anyone says β€œThis person CANNOT be a developer/programmer” - 10:59

Or "they are not capable of programmatic thinking," - this is a very negative and definitive statement that will make it difficult to work with such individuals. The reality is that every person has the potential to become whatever they desire if they put enough effort and time into it. People evolve, progress, and improve. Allowing someone to decide what you can or cannot do at an early stage will simply be an obstacle to your potential and will hinder any future development or growth you may wish to achieve.

5. If there is severe inequality. – 12:49

Inequality in the workplace can manifest in various forms, such as gender inequality or position inequality, for example, backend developers being treated better than frontend developers or junior developers being treated poorly compared to senior developers. While juniors may have less experience and seniors may have more authority, it is important to remember that we are all human and everyone's input is valuable to the team. Inequality should not be obvious or extreme.

6. If the senior is overcomplicating things for no reason - 16:05

Determining whether a senior developer is overcomplicating things, or if the infrastructure truly demands a more elaborate approach can be challenging, especially for a developer with less experience. Even with years of experience, it can be difficult to answer this question, so it is important to trust your gut feeling. If you feel that things can be done more simply, or if you have built a fully functional simpler version, this is a strong indication that things are being overcomplicated.

It's important to keep in mind that senior developers will always claim to have valid reasons for doing things in a certain way. They will say that they are taking into account outside factors and that for things to work in global scope, they have to be set this way - the point will always be that they considered things that you didn't. The more they explain and try to justify their reasons - the more suspicious you should get.

It's important to remember the idea behind what clean code is - it's not just following style guides, it's writing code in a way that is easier for humans to understand.

β€œAny fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” (commonly attributed to Martin Fowler)

Machines don't care about the complexity of the code - whether it's a for loop or a while loop -> it's all the same to the computer.

7. If the project is not standardized, spaghetti code by one developer – 19:09

If the project is not standardized and It's only written by one developer whose code is particularly messy, it can be referred to as "spaghetti code." This can cause several issues such as difficulty in understanding the code, making it hard for other developers to work on the project and maintain it. It also means constantly having to ask the original developer for solutions since it is hard to find answers online, making it time-consuming and inefficient. A standardized, easy-to-read and understandable code, following a consistent coding style and structure, is essential for better collaboration, maintainability, and scalability of the project.

8. If you are being forced to do things continuously. – 21:02

When I say "forced," I mean when you are made to do something against your will. For example, in an outsourcing company, if they claim that you can easily switch projects as long as you openly share that there is a mismatch between the skills required for a particular project and what you can do, but in reality, you are not allowed to transfer and must remain working on only that one mismatched project.

9. If someone at work keeps telling you how you feel. – 24:14

Someone else telling you how YOU feel, or how you have felt, is considered emotional abuse because it invalidates your own experiences and emotions. It is a form of manipulation that is meant to control you and make you question your feelings and thoughts. This type of behavior is harmful because it can lead to feelings of confusion, self-doubt, and a loss of self-esteem, which can ultimately lead to the victim becoming more dependent on the abuser. Additionally, it is a form of gaslighting, which is a tactic used to make the victim doubt their own mental and emotional state, and it can cause long-term psychological damage.

10. If there are too many divisions between the roles. – 25:09

When it comes to web development, that means that there are only frontend developers or only backend developers, but no full stack developers... One, even more, ridiculous thing maybe - if there is even an additional division within the frontend team itself, where people are divided into frontenders that use JacaScript frameworks and frontenders that do not use JavaScript frameworks πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

This is a sign that the employees are not allowed to grow and expand. When individuals are stuck doing the same tasks long-term and are staying in the same position for which they were hired, this limits their potential and hinders their ability to take on new challenges. This can create a stagnant environment where people are not able to learn new skills or take on new roles, leading to a lack of diversity in knowledge and experience within the team.

Additionally, when full-stack developers are not present, it can lead to siloed work where different developers are only responsible for specific parts of the project, rather than having a more holistic understanding of the entire system. This can also make it harder for different developers to collaborate effectively and can lead to delays and inefficiencies in the development process.

11. If you don’t have a voice – 27:20

Not having a voice in the workplace can be harmful as it means that your ideas, perspectives, and concerns are not being heard or taken into consideration. This can lead to a lack of job satisfaction and engagement, as well as a lack of motivation to perform at your best. It can also create a culture of apathy and disengagement among employees, where you feel that your contributions are not valued or respected.

Furthermore, not having a voice in the workplace can lead to a lack of diversity in decision-making and problem-solving, which can result in suboptimal outcomes and missed opportunities for you and the company. In addition, it can lead to a lack of accountability and transparency, which can lead to mistrust, confusion and lack of trust within the team. Finally, it can prevent you from contributing to the growth and development of the company, as well as being able to learn and grow professionally.

12. If things keep happening behind your back – 29:00

If things keep happening behind your back at work, it can create a feeling of mistrust and alienation. Especially, if a meeting is held in which your responsibilities are being discussed and determined and you -> logically were promised to be included in that meeting but instead, you get excluded from that same meeting.

This can make you feel like your contributions and opinions are not valued, and that your role and responsibilities are not being taken seriously. This can lead to a lack of job satisfaction, motivation and engagement. Additionally, it can also create confusion and uncertainty in your role and responsibilities, making it harder for you to perform well and achieve goals.

Furthermore, not being informed of important decisions and developments can also result in you being unprepared for upcoming challenges, and can also limit your ability to offer your insights or to take initiative.

13. If you are prevented from learning new technologies, growing, progressing etc. – 30:05

Web development is a highly dynamic, rapidly growing, and constantly evolving field, which is why preventing individuals from learning new technologies, growing, and progressing is completely unacceptable. Especially for new and junior developers, who are generally advised to learn as much and as quickly as possible. The first few years of a developer's career are best devoted to expanding and honing various programming skills.

It is not wise to obstruct the advancement of a developer's skills because it is beneficial for both the employee and the company. Especially for an outsourcing company, it is important to be able to offer the best developers to potential clients.

And while the natural tendency for senior-level developers may be to slow down in terms of acquiring new skills, they should not be prevented from continuing to learn and grow if they so choose. It's important to remember that the field of web development is constantly evolving and even experienced developers can benefit from staying up-to-date on new technologies and best practices. It is ultimately up to the individual developer to decide how they want to approach their professional growth.

14. If your words are being used against you – 33:30

When someone at work (or outside of work) uses your own words against you, it is a manipulative tactic because it implies that the other person is trying to control the conversation or influence your thoughts or actions by selectively quoting or paraphrasing what you have said.

This can be done dishonestly or deceitfully, with the intent to mislead or manipulate you into accepting a certain viewpoint or course of action. Additionally, this tactic may be used to imply that you have said something that you haven't, or to misrepresent the context of your statements, to gain an advantage in the situation. This kind of behavior is not only unethical but also unprofessional.

15. If your every request becomes an issue or gets declined – 34:42

When you consistently encounter resistance or decline to your requests and ideas, it can create a sense of helplessness and a lack of agency. You may feel that your contributions are not valued and that your efforts are not making a difference. This can lead to disengagement, which can ultimately result in a lack of motivation and productivity. Additionally, when you feel that your ideas are not being heard, you may be less likely to share new ideas or propose solutions to problems.

Moreover, when you feel that your requests are being declined, you may start to mistrust your management and colleagues. You may feel that your contributions are not valued and that your ideas are not being taken seriously. This can lead to poor communication and collaboration among you and your co-workers which can negatively impact the overall performance of the organization. Furthermore, if the management does not take initiative or have a proactive attitude, it can affect the company's reputation.

16. If your work-life balance is not being respected – 38:52

Having a poor work-life balance can lead to several negative consequences for both the individual and the organization.

On a personal level, it can lead to increased stress, burnout, and a lack of time for family, self-care and other activities outside of work. This can negatively impact your physical and mental health and can lead to decreased job satisfaction and engagement.

On an organizational level, poor work-life balance can lead to decreased productivity and employee turnover, as well as increased absenteeism and presenteeism. It can also negatively impact the organization's reputation, as it can be seen as valuing work over the well-being of its employees. Overall, both individuals and organizations need to prioritize work-life balance to promote the well-being of all involved.

17. If the company is too cheap and doesn’t pay for the tools that you need to do your job – 39:52

If the company is too cheap that it refuses to pay for the tools you need to do your job, like an Adobe CC membership for example, it can mean that they are not willing to invest in their employees and in the necessary resources to get the job done.

This can make it difficult for you to perform your tasks effectively and efficiently and can lead to decreased productivity and job dissatisfaction. It can also make it difficult for you to collaborate with other team members who use the same software and may limit your ability to innovate and create quality products or services. This lack of investment by your employer may also be seen as a lack of respect for your job and for the value, you bring to the company.

18. If you get blamed for things that are not your fault – 40:35

Being blamed for things that were not your fault at work could be an indication that there is poor communication and a lack of accountability within the organization.

It could also mean that your manager or colleagues are looking for someone to blame for mistakes or problems, rather than taking responsibility themselves.

It can also mean that you are being targeted or bullied by your manager or colleagues.

Being blamed for things that are not your fault can be frustrating and demotivating, it can also lead to a loss of confidence and impact your work performance.

It's important to address this issue by speaking up and communicating your role in the situation and providing evidence if possible. If the problem persists, it might be worth discussing the issue with your manager or HR representative to seek a resolution - do not tolerate such behavior.

19. If your work and all of your extra efforts are not valued – 42:23

When the work that you have completed successfully and the extra efforts you put in are not valued at your job, it can have many negative effects. First and foremost, it can demotivate you and make you feel unappreciated for your contributions. This can lead to a decrease in job satisfaction, engagement, and motivation, which can negatively impact your work performance.

It can also create a sense of unfairness, and make you question the value of your work and why you're putting in additional effort. This can lead to a loss of confidence and may make you less likely to put in extra effort in the future.

Furthermore, it can also make you feel undervalued and underappreciated, which can lead to lower morale and increased turnover. This can create a toxic work environment, and affect the overall performance of the organization. The management needs to recognize and acknowledge the hard work and extra efforts of their employees, to create a positive and productive work environment.

20. If they take Pseudo Developers seriously – 43:22

'Pseudo-developers' are people who talk a lot about what they do as developers, without doing much of the actual work. They are 'theoretical' developers. They often lack the practical skills and experience to deliver quality work and meet deadlines.

When a company takes them seriously and keeps them employed for a very extended period such as 8 or sometimes even 9 years, this can create an unfair and demotivating work environment for actually capable developers who are putting in the effort and delivering quality work. Good developers may feel undervalued and unappreciated for their contributions. This can also lead to a high turnover rate, as capable developers may look for better opportunities elsewhere.

In addition, keeping pseudo-developers in their position for long periods can lead to stagnation and a lack of innovation within the organization. The company may miss out on new technologies and best practices that can help improve its products and services.

Overall, the company needs to recognize the value of actually capable developers and invest in their development, to create a positive and productive work environment... and get rid of fake developers...

21. If there are unnecessary theatrical performances – 45:00

If some of your co-workers and management indulge in unnecessary theatrical performances, it can create a toxic and unproductive work environment.

Fabricating problems that do not exist, and blowing situations out of proportion can create unnecessary conflicts and distractions. It can divert attention away from important tasks and projects and can lead to delays and errors. It can also create an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion, making it harder for you and your colleagues to work together effectively.

Additionally, when people try to keep your attention on specific things while doing things behind your back, it can be a sign of deceit and lack of transparency. It can also make you feel like you're not part of the team or that you're being left out of important information. This can lead to feelings of isolation and alienation.

The fact that these people are behaving in this way, may mean that they secretly wanted to be actors and not web developers. It could indicate that they are not comfortable in their current role or that they lack the necessary skills and experience to perform their job effectively. Maybe they are unhappy in their work, and they may be looking for ways to escape their current situation, but that should not be made your problem.

22. If anyone ever makes you feel inadequate for not knowing something – 48:30

Making someone feel inadequate for not knowing something or not always having a prepared answer when put on the spot can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, which can impact an individual's confidence in their abilities. This can make them less likely to speak up or share their ideas, which can in turn negatively impact their work performance and productivity.

This attitude creates a negative and unproductive work environment, where individuals are discouraged from asking questions or seeking help when needed. When people feel like they have to have all the answers or know everything, it can prevent them from learning and growing. In a work environment, it's important for individuals to feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help when they need it. This can help them to gain new knowledge, skills and perspective, ultimately leading to better performance and productivity.

Moreover, it can also create a toxic atmosphere in the workplace, where people are hesitant to share their thoughts and ideas and are more focused on not making mistakes, rather than doing their best. This can lead to a lack of creativity, and innovation and a decrease in the overall performance of the team.

It is important to note that, everyone has different knowledge and skill sets, and it is important to foster an environment where people feel comfortable sharing what they know and asking for help when needed. Encourage open communication, create a culture of learning and development, and recognize and appreciate the unique strengths and contributions of each team member.

23. If people at the company are pettier than you can imagine – 52:06

In my case, Mr. Mentor was very interested in my work laptop...

And yes, it is considered petty and unprofessional for a co-worker to actively try to create issues and undermine your job to get your work laptop - or anything else that you got from work. It is not appropriate behavior and can harm the overall work environment.

It is important to document any instances of your co-worker's behavior that you believe is related to his desire for your laptop, including any conversations or actions that may be relevant. This will help to provide evidence of the situation and support your claims.

It is important to remember that the goal of a workplace should be to work collaboratively and efficiently towards common goals, rather than focusing on individual gain or advantage. Your manager or HR should be able to help you navigate this situation and ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

And so with my experience comes my advice ->

Please do not put up with any kind of abuse in the workplace and do not tolerate a toxic work environment - no matter what - it simply isn't worth it!

Let's show employers that we have dignity, we have self-worth and we know that we deserve better -> for the sake of previous, current and future Juniors.

Also do not trust people that are giving you the advice of taking the job anyways if those people, with that advice, have never done this themselves why should you ???

Thank you for reading this long post I hope that it was helpful, good luck on your journey.