Culture Vultures (GutwiZdom Episode-014)

The Slacker, The Martyr, The Hot Mess....Culture Vultures can be found in all flavors, but all of them are toxic to your work environment.


Culture Vultures can be found in all shapes and forms. They are toxic to your work environment and can be very difficult to work with day in and day out.  As a leader or business owner, a culture vulture can affect the engagement, performance, and retention of other employees and ultimately cost the company money. As an employee, it can cause you to hate your workplace to such an extent that you stop giving your work your all, and even ultimately look to leave.


How do we keep Culture Vultures from affecting our workplace?


Recognize the signs!


The first step in repairing a toxic work environment is to recognize the behaviors of toxic employees. Here is a list of the most common. Do you recognize any of these Culture Vultures?



The Hot Mess: The erratic employee who is all over the place and is destroying your team’s productivity because everyone else is left to clean up their mess.






The Slacker: The employee that will avoid work at all costs.









The Freeloader: Similar to the Slacker, the Freeloader doesn’t do much work, but is happy to take credit for everyone else’s efforts.






The Martyr: The employee who won’t accept any help, but complains to everyone that will listen about all the work they have to do.

The Sociopath: The office poison who spends their day bullying, gossiping, and manipulating







The Invisible: The “nowhere to be found” employee who is never on time and spends their days locked in their office.








The Flatliner: The disengaged, checked out, negative employee who has lost all signs of motivation and is just going through the motions.







The Zombie: Similar to the Flatliner, the Zombie is just there to collect a check, but the Zombie can be contagious and affect the rest of your team.







The Dark Cloud: The negative employee who has nothing positive to say and brings down your whole team.

The Volcano: The unpredictable employee who can erupt with anger at any time and for any reason, and that reason is probably small and unpredictable.





The Brick Wall: The “my way or the highway” employee who can’t get over their own stubbornness.

The Selfie: The all-about-me employee who thinks they’re entitled to every perk, promotion, and raise available.








The Statue: The trophy employee who thinks they’re better than everyone else, even when they don’t actually do – or show much aptitude for - the work.








The Wallflower: The timid employee who will wait to be told what to do and when to contribute.







The Ninja: The employee that purposely stays under the radar in order to avoid assignments.








The Weak Link: The employee that just can’t live up to their own potential.









The Rebel: The employee who “always speaks the truth” even when no one is interested in hearing it.





The Socialite: Every employee’s BFF who spends more time distracting everyone in the office than actually working.









The Virus: The office germ who spreads rumors and negativity through the office.







The Talk Show Host: The office gossip who knows everything about everyone and loves to share the juicy details with anyone who will listen.










The Rip Van Winkle: The employee who refuses to learn new technology and is convinced that the old way was better.






The Daydream Believer: The “I’m better than this job” employee who always says they’re on their way out the door, but never seems to go anywhere.







The Star: The employee who can do no wrong and constantly receives rewards for always saving the day. They will become a diva when all of the special treatment goes to their head.






The Know-It-All: The overconfident employee that refuses to accept criticism or anyone else’s ideas.

The Snitch: The office tattle-tale who is always running to management complaining about their coworkers instead of trying to work out issues on their own.

The Busy Bee: The high energy employee who always appears super busy, but never seems to get anything accomplished.







The Brown Noser: The boss’ shadow and personal bobble head.









The Boss: The employee that is always bossing everyone around. Confidence is an amazing quality to have… until it becomes arrogance.



Now that we can recognize the various Culture Vultures, how do we remedy the situation?


  • If you are a leader or business owner:
    • Ask candidates questions that will reveal signs of toxicity, and ensure hiring managers have guidelines for interpreting their answers.
    • Look out for candidates that won’t admit their own faults.
    • Provide feedback and don’t ignore the situation!


  • If you are a co-worker of a Culture Vulture:
    • If at all possible, steer clear of employees who are exhibiting toxic behaviors. Remember, these behaviors can be contagious!
    • Help your fellow employees where you can. If you notice someone is lacking in confidence, mentor them so they feel more empowered.
    • Don’t be a Culture Vulture yourself! Self-awareness is key here. Pay attention to how you react to others or to stressful situations, and avoid becoming a Volcano, a Wallflower, a Rip van Winkle, or any of the Culture Vultures listed above.


Do you know if you're a Culture Vulture? Take our quiz here. Let us know your personal experiences with Culture Vultures by leaving us a voicemail at 646-653-9278 or sending us a message here.



Learn how we help job seekers, employers, and employees by visiting My Success Platform and PEAR Core Solutions.



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