WarningSignsOfCorporateDoom covers downturn-related scenarios. This topic is more about all-around bad, not just (identified) Titanics in the making. Amazingly, bleeped-up organizations can survive in stasis for long periods due to the likes of monopoly power, evil patents, brand-name stickiness, pork laws, etc. The "corporate doom" topic pertains to signs management knows the ship is taking on water quickly. If you (or fellow peons) seem like the only ones concerned about the icebergs in sight, then this is the topic.
They have sophisticated spyware monitoring you, yet don't "have the budget" to back-up your files.
Their solution to long customers queues is to remove the clocks:
To "deal with" morale problems, they have a required "Achievement and Leadership Training" course that gave multiple anecdotes and films/videos of people without arms, legs, eyesight etc. who achieve great things despite difficult circumstances. The message: "If Helen Keller can achieve without having eyes and ears, then YOU can also be productive despite having ahole managers like us." So, crappy management is equivalent to having your arms and legs chopped off, eh? Fucking True Story (the course, not necessarily my interpretation of their message.) My coworkers and I just kept looking at each other with a WTF expression.
You risk disciplinary action if you lunch off-site.
...because the boss is afraid you'll take a long lunch; 30 minutes is enough to eat a good meal but not if you have to drive somewhere.
...because the boss is afraid you're really at a job interview
...because the food services company that runs the cafeteria provides your employer with incentives to prevent employees from spending their lunch money anywhere else
When asked if you tell this to prospective hires, you have to think for a second before replying in the negative.
You're asked to recruit people whom a year ago your company laid off without severance.
The company is providing internal recruiting bonuses while also laying people off without severance.
That's probably a ploy to lay off older people and replace them with younger workers who expect less pay and can work 60 hour weeks because they don't yet have a family, and don't scrutinize flashy fads that the executives think they want.
You need to spend more brain power trying to figure out how to explain sticky situations to managers than actually solving real problems.
People spend way too much time making pretty presentations and reports for higher-ups. Debates among lower managers over wording and layout last for hours as the "grunts" re-work presentations a 12th time, staying late to do it.
You spend more time trying to explain the requirements to the outsourced contractors in a far-off country than you would spend actually implementing them yourself. You point this out to management, but they say they are required to outsource X percent of all work.
You watch "Hogan's Heroes" and read Dilbert for tips on dealing with management.
You fill out a standard form to give a customer a small discount. The form is one that is almost never used, you're only filling it out because someone else is away, and you'll probably never fill out one again. In completing the form, you intentionally leave out a number that is clearly both optional and unrelated to the discount. Several hours after you submit the form, you receive a lengthy email from an executive explaining how and why the number must always be filled in, and the form is returned to you for "correction". The email must have taken hours to write and the customer's discount is delayed by at least a day, when the executive could simply have filled in the number and approved the form. That would have taken about ten seconds.
Classic case of "TPS Report syndrome" from OfficeSpace.
The probability that you will actually use a product is inversely proportional to the time you spend in mandatory training for it.
The Security Dept. mandates that you must use product X for task A. Product Y can do A and is 1/10th the cost of X, but it's not on the approved security list. The problem is that there is no budget for X yet A must get done. Therefore, nothing gets done and/or you wing-it with a self-rolled POS that's probably a bigger security risk than Y.
When told we were going to an online time-keeping system, we were initially glad to see the paper approach go away. However, because they can't get their act together, now we do both the paper version and the online version. Worse, one is on a weekly cycle, the other on a bi-monthly cycle. And you have to clear all your cookies and history from the browser each time to get the online one to work. Rumor has it the wife of the software selector has connections to the online time-sheet company, which is why it was selected for reasons other than merit.
Somebody accuses you of doing something non-P.C. During the interrogation, you are confused, and ask, "What did I do wrong?". Their reply: "Our lawyers told us we are not permitted to tell you. However, please don't do it again."
The new head honcho was in charge of shutting down inefficient and redundant departments. His team came to interview your department. However, they couldn't understand what your job is, and so spared you, even though you personally think your department qualifies to be shut down.
Employee Evaluation: "Mr. X was incompetent, rude, and befuddled. However, due to may superior management skills, Mr. X is now adequate."
The background-check questionnaire asks, "Have you ever had sex with animals or office equipment?" (Some past actual event(s) must have given birth to such questions. When you see warnings on products such as, "Warning: do NOT stick this product up your [bleep] while it's on", it's usually because somebody tried it and sued.)
Extra points if you write in, "Do toasters count?"
Double points if they send you back a flowchart or rule-book for qualifying objects and lifeforms.
Nobody wants to call them "queries" because they are afraid of being accused of slurs, and thus call them "squeals" (SQL's) or "straighties".
They block dice.com.
Two big meetings are cancelled. But due to the confusion over the cancellations, a "cancellation meeting" is scheduled to explain the cancellations. However, the cancellation meeting is eventually cancelled also.
A long-timer gives you the following useful advice for dealing with a fastidious or obsessive manager: "If they ask for something silly, ignore it instead of grumble. They forget 2/3 of all their requests anyhow."
Bob: "Why are you still here? It's holiday eve, management told everyone to 'get lost' early." Fred: "They tell me to 'get lost' every day. I didn't notice any difference."
Bob: "Tell them I deny breaking it". Fred: "Whadda newbie, you should deny knowing it exists."
Informal org slogan: "Teamwork means being fired together".
Typical meeting agenda:
1. Analysis says we need X units of resources to do it right.
2. There is only 1/3 of X available for this project.
3. Do it anyhow. And on time.
You run into a marketer in the walkway. He tells you, "This place is great experience. If you can work and thrive here, you can work and thrive anywhere. You'll have a wide variety of intense and unique experiences that prepare you for just about anything in your future!"
Translation: "This place sucks so bad that it makes hell look attractive in comparison."
(True, it may be great "experience", especially for a young person who needs a good dose of cubicle reality as an "education", but you'll age 3x normal in the process.)
Men get nervous instead of happy when they see an attractive lady on the premises because "babes have no reason to be at this dump unless something shady or illegal is going down, in which case we'll probably get the blame when it goes sour".
The people who do the most real work have the smallest offices.
You see messages in the fridge saying something like "To the one who ate my sandwich yesterday: Your mom made it for me after a wild night of passion". Meaning that the stress levels in this company are so high a minor annoyance is capable of becoming the final straw.