I know she is employed in a position she feels is outside of her desired field and is looking for a new job, but I do not feel that she is being supportive of the way I choose to live my life or empathizing with the decisions that I am trying to make. Was she just venting or jealous of my freedom of choice when it comes to my career prospects, or is there a deeper rift forming in our relationship, Wendy? — Job Hunter
Let me get this straight: you have a decision you’re having trouble making, so you turned to a handful of close friends for advice and perspective and when one friend gave you advice you didn’t want to hear — advice that, in my opinion, was pretty solid — you automatically deemed her “unsupportive” of the way you live your life and questioned whether she was jealous of you? Are you serious? Did you not truly want advice? Because that’s what it seems like (and trust me, I have a pretty good radar for people who don’t want “real” advice but only want to be validated or have their egos stroked).
The truth is, your friend brought up some valid concerns. The job market is terrible right now. You are lucky — incredibly lucky! — to have gotten a job offer before you even graduate. And most college grads don’t find their perfect dream jobs right out of school. Does that mean you won’t or can’t? Of course not. But there’s also no shame in taking a decent job that provides a solid income, networking opportunities, and valuable experience as you continue looking for the next move. And speaking of next move, there’s also no shame in accepting a job — a job that wouldn’t start for nine more months! — and keeping your eyes and ears open for something better in the meantime. It’s not ethically immoral; it’s smart. It’s what happens in the business world, which is much, much different than, say, the world of interpersonal relationships. If you had agreed to marry someone next summer with the intention of keeping you eyes open for someone better, then, yes, that would be ethically immoral. But accepting a job offer in this kind of economy while keeping your options open in the nine interim months? Smart!
So, listen to your friend…and listen to me. I assure you, I am not jealous of you and I don’t resent you for your career prospects, and, yet, I’m giving you the same advice. Because it’s solid advice. If the job seems like a good opportunity, definitely consider accepting it. No matter how much potential you have and how bright your future seems, with the job market the way it is, this could be one of only a few offers you might get — and it may end up being the best one. Do you want to be working a retail job a year from now because you turned this offer down and didn’t get another/better one, or do you want to give yourself a little insurance that at least you’ll have something to hang your hat on post-graduation as you continue to field other opportunities and narrow your focus of interest? If it were me, I’d definitely go with the latter.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
dr bro September 20, 2011, 3:18 pm
Hmm yes obviously it’s more “ethically moral” (whatever that means, probably either moral or ethical) to be unemployed for years instead of taking a mediocre job and looking for a better one. Great LW! I can tell you’re going to make big waves in the world. With razor sharp insight like that, I’m sure there will be entire battalions’ worth of employers scrambling over each other to BEG you to come work for them! People who think the job market is bad are idiots and jealous of their betters. Go forth and conquer, LW! Don’t take that job, and cut that jealous witch out of your life immediately!
EscapeHatches September 20, 2011, 5:01 pm
Millenials are so cute. We’re such a self-absorbed little group, aren’t we? Dream jobs are great, but dreaming of a job won’t pay your bills or move you out of mom’s house. Take the job, look for better, grown and mature.
honeybeenicki September 21, 2011, 8:01 am
I took in a roommate who had just graduated from high school (bad, bad, bad idea – she was my dad’s girlfriend’s daughter) and she seemed to expect to land a top level marketing job fresh out of HIGH SCHOOL. 18 years old, no prior work experience, nothing. She was offered a 30 hour a week job in an entry level position for $12 an hour and she turned it down because it didn’t pay enough. Seriously??
Marcie September 21, 2011, 9:45 am
What? My first job out of COLLEGE was $11/hr. What a brat.
plasticepoxy September 21, 2011, 10:55 am
I make less than $12 per hour now with a college degree! Granted this is mid-west, and maybe you’re elsewhere, with a higher cost of living (not that $12 an hour is going to have you rolling high here either), but that seems incredibly immature. At 18 I made like, $7 an hour, if that.
AKchic September 21, 2011, 2:01 pm
Hope that girl grew up quick.
Christy September 20, 2011, 3:20 pm
Oh man Wendy, you and I are on the complete same wavelength. I’m really enjoying the level of sass in your answers, too. I really wonder how the LWs from today can manage to type their emails to your from up on their high horses.
Elizabeth September 20, 2011, 3:42 pm
I agree. Today is sassyful!
MsBorgia September 20, 2011, 4:25 pm
I agree. My immediate response was “If you don’t like her advice don’t take it, and get over yourself in the meantime.”
SherBear September 20, 2011, 3:21 pm
Job offers can and do get rescinded so it wouldn’t be the best move to take the offer and then get blindsided when the position gets eliminated. Not that she needs to do a complete job search all year, but it would smart to keep her eyes and ears open to other possible opportunities. Also don’t sit on the offer for too long – could be taken as a sign for being not interested which can also get it rescinded.
amber September 20, 2011, 3:29 pm
This happened to my sister just recently. I tried to tell her to keep looking until the job started but she wouldn’t hear it. Then a few weeks later instead of getting a letter welcoming her to the company she got a letter saying sorry the position has been eliminated due to funding.
Christy September 20, 2011, 3:21 pm
And let’s be serious. This letter screams #firstworldproblems.
dr bro September 20, 2011, 3:23 pm
Arguably unemployment is also first world problem at the moment.
Princess Bananahammock September 20, 2011, 3:21 pm
Remember, if something happened to the business in the next nine months to make them no longer need your services, they wouldn’t hesitate to rescind your offer. It has happened a lot in my industry. You don’t owe them more than they owe you. Take the offer and keep your eyes open for your dream job. As for your friend – try not to jump to conclusions about your her motives. If this is the only time you’ve sensed jealousy from her, just chalk it up to miscommunication and move on.
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 3:24 pm
Of course its unethical!!!!
You can’t just take that signing bonus and then go and shop around. You can’t just break that contract guaranteeing your position and salary.
Oh wait, they didn’t give you a signing bonus? There’s no contract? You’ll be an at-will employee? You have no guarantee that they’ll even be a job in 9 months? They
There’s nothing morally ambigious about this. That’s what at-will means. You can change your mind at will, and so can they.
Accept and shop around, or don’t, if you feel it will ruin your reputation or your networking abilities to neg on the offer. That’s the only thing you should be deciding right now. You have 9 months to figure out if you think its a good fit or if you can get something better. Ask Wendy how long 9 months is – I think she may have some experience with that length of time.
SpaceySteph September 20, 2011, 4:53 pm
Somewhat agree, but there are jobs where your accepting the offer IS signing a contract. Or at least a verbal contract to take the job.
When I took my job 3 years ago, I accepted it 4 months before graduation, but on the terms, stated in the offer letter they sent me, that I would not interview anywhere else. Now I know they can’t stop you from interviewing or even from finding another job, and they wouldn’t be references that might damage your interviews elsewhere… all they can really do is blacklist you from being hired by them later if you come back looking for a job at the same company. At the large company like the one I work for, the damage to future prospects would obviously be something to consider.
Anyways, I don’t think that the LW’s deeming this morally unethical came from a vacuum, its very possible her offer came with a clause that she not look, and accepting the job and then looking would be a violation of this. Although I would argue that keeping your ears open is NOT the same as actively job hunting.
GatorGirl September 21, 2011, 8:50 am
The LW may not work in an “at-will” state, not all state’s have this policy.
If they sign a contract in a state that doesn’t have this policy, the fine print needs to be read carefully because there could be reprocussions (say repaying a bonus if X number of months are not worked…)
LW- you should have a certain time frame to reply to their offer 14 or 30 days. Take that time to look around for a different job. If you can’t find one, take this job. Now is not the time to be discriminatory when you are being offered a job with a solid salary and benefits in a feild at least related to what you’re studying (after all you interned there).
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 9:03 am
I meant assuming her offer consisted of a letter saying congrats! And her calling to formally accept, and no stipend or bonus. Things involving signed pieces of paper and money exchanged are always more complicated.
SGMcG September 20, 2011, 3:26 pm
It is not considered ethically immoral to accept a job offer and withdraw your acceptance for “personal reasons.” I do not feel your friend is being unsupportive and jealous – the advice is very practical and pragmatic. Unless your potential profession is highly specialized to the point that a withdrawl of a committed job offer spreads through that career field, there’s nothing wrong with accepting an offer and keeping an eye out for future, more desirable positions. The haclyon days of staying with one company for 20+ years, let alone 5 years in this job market, are over.
Meg September 20, 2011, 3:29 pm
I think there’s a careful line one has to walk in today’s economy between security and being fulfilled by one’s job. I absolutely agree with Wendy that the LW should be grateful for the offer and that the smart move would be to accept the offer and keep her eyes open for other opportunities in the meantime. I’d advise that even if this was her dream job, just because you never know what might happen.
That said, there is a difference between accepting a job that isn’t a dream job/doesn’t use your potential/etc (because nearly ALL first jobs right out of college are this way) and accepting one that would make you miserable. I don’t get the impression from the LW that this is the case here, but I’ve seen lots of people stay in jobs that are soul-sucking because they’re afraid to take the leap. Maybe it’s because I left one of those soul-sucking jobs last summer without a backup plan (I started a new job three days after my last day of my old job, but I didn’t know it would turn out that way when I put in my three months of notice), but I do think there are cases where, if one has some sort of a safety net and doesn’t have a ton of responsibilities, it’s justified to step out on faith and look for something better.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 3:33 pm
You are sensing your friends complete frustration with your lack of ability to make the correct decision in this scenario…that isn’t jealousy.
And since you probably have a few years to figure this one out I will just tell you now. Connections go a long way in getting a job in this environment so don’t think it will be so easy to get more job offers…that internship really helped out your prospects in this individual case.
Budjer September 20, 2011, 3:43 pm
And since I seem to make a habit out of referencing Arrested Development at least once a week “…anyone can get an interview”.
Mary September 20, 2011, 5:04 pm
Yes yes yes a THOUSAND times YES!!!!!!! There’s no doubt she would not have a job offer at all if it weren’t for the connections she made while working as an intern for this company. It’s bizarre to me that the LW fails to see that.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 4:06 pm
I would like to EMPHATICALLY agree with your point that the internship went a long way in getting her this job offer. Knowing someone or having a connection is one of the only ways, in this economy, to secure a job. My friend is moving up to my city and becoming my new roommate, and she had a terrible time finding a job. She submitted countless applications and on the vast majority, never heard anything. She had a few rejections, and interviews were VERY rare – she maybe did one or two. She got a job eventually because she knew someone – my brother put her in contact with the organization he had interned with, and they ended up creating a place for her. That’s how it works, and I hope the LW can learn this fast.
artsygirl September 20, 2011, 3:34 pm
Honey this is what ‘paying your dues’ is all about. Take the job and apologize to your friend.
amber September 20, 2011, 3:35 pm
It’s surprising to me in today’s economy that she wouldn’t take her friends advice to heart. maybe she was feeling guilty for thinking about not taking it so her friend’s advice struck a nerve?
Like Wendy said you have 9 months between now and when the job starts. It’s not immoral to take it and keep looking! And really considering the number of people looking for jobs to you really think that it would take them that long to find a replacement for you if you decided not to take it?
I think the only rift forming in your friendship is the one you’re creating. You asked her for your advice and she gave it. Do you really want your friends to only tell you what you want to hear?
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 5:11 pm
Well, from my experience a lot of people coming right out of college (and some out of HS) seem to think they’ll get the dream job right away
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 5:25 pm
As if anyone whose never worked gull time really knows what their dream job is. I’ve had 2 dream jobs and been bored out of my mind at both.
Think long term. Will this job help or hurt your chances of getting where you wAnt to go? Some jobs will hurt; if you are trained to be an exec, had a job as an exec, taking a secretarial position can be the death blow to your career. But lw had this internship and got a job following it. The chances that it is a career killer (if the internship didn’t do it) are super slim.
bagge72 September 20, 2011, 3:47 pm
Does she really not understand what kind of resume builder this would be for her while she finds a job in her desired field? I can promise you, that unless you are going to work for your mothers best friend of the last 50 years that the people offering you this job right now are not going to resent you, or think you are morally wrong for doing what is best for you. You need to go for the job, thank your friend for the good advise, and then start looking for the job of your dreams, while getting crunk at the bar with all of the money you are going to be making.
If you do not take this job remember you have no right to complain if you are unemployed for awhile after you graduate.
TheOtherMe September 20, 2011, 4:08 pm
…”If you do not take this job remember you have no right to complain if you are unemployed for awhile after you graduate”…
• Absolutely right ! Count your blessings girl !
Kerrycontrary September 20, 2011, 3:48 pm
ugh, thank you Wendy. This letter really hits home for me. I just got my Master’s in May, in a practical field, and I am still having trouble finding a job. I did everything right. I got great grades in undergrad and grad school, worked in my field all throughout graduate school, and have a fantastic resume. I was employed through the summer on a contract position but now I’m jobless. When people say the economy sucks, please look at me for an example. Overeducated and underemployed. Your friend was spot on with her advice. While you may have been looking for a congratulations or whatever, she was being practical. If your friend is displaying this constant pattern of jealousy then get rid of her. You can choose your friends. But if this is a one time thing I would think long and hard about the advice she gave you. And accepting a job offer and still looking for a job is not unethical. You need to look out for you in this world, because no one else is going to. You cannot have loyalty to employers because they will not have loyalty to you. They will not hesitate to fire you or cancel a job offer if they can’t afford you. I would accept ANY job offer right now, so please don’t underestimate the value of a good job offer.
honeybeenicki September 20, 2011, 3:49 pm
If it is ethically immoral to look for a job when you’ve accepted a job offer that isn’t exactly what you are looking for or are working for a company, then I think everyone here is probably immoral.
lemongrass September 20, 2011, 3:52 pm
So would the ethically moral thing to do when you want to start a new job is to quit your current one and stay unemployed until you find one you do want? Sounds a little cray-cray to me!
JennyTalia September 20, 2011, 3:53 pm
Can I have your friend’s number? Because she seems smart and honest and like a good friend to have.
silver_dragon_girl September 20, 2011, 3:58 pm
What is with the letters today? Everybody needs tough love. Tough Love Tuesdays? Anyone, anyone?
Seriously, though, I totally agree with Wendy here. I think you’re reading waaaaaayyyy too much into this. I do identify with that “not quite sure what I want to do” feeling, but do you know where that got me? A useless Liberal Arts degree, that’s where, and needing to go back to school for two years for another Bachelor’s Degree now so that I can do what I really want to do, which is what I SHOULD have done then.
Take the job. Have a drink with your friend. Enjoy the impending quarter-life crisis. 😀
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 4:10 pm
The quarter-life crisis is a bitch. I’m going through one now – broke up with my boyfriend, changing my hair color drastically, moving to a new place, looking for a new job, figuring out grad school options, etc. No one told me it would be like this!!!
silver_dragon_girl September 20, 2011, 4:19 pm
I know. I’ve been struggling with one for a few months (they seem to coincide with breakups!)…it sucks. The good news is, it doesn’t last forever! Hang in there- you are not alone.
MissDre September 20, 2011, 4:22 pm
I turned 25 in June and I’m definitely going through a quarter life crisis. And nothing is really even wrong, it’s just that nothing is really what I thought it would be. Definitely feeling a little lost at the moment.
TheOtherMe September 20, 2011, 4:24 pm
Wait til’ you’re my age !!!!
GingerLaine September 21, 2011, 9:21 am
Totally natural, MissDre. It comes back when you’re turning 30 too. I don’t know what it is about the “this is not the life I thought it would be” blues. You know it’s silly. You know that despite your very naive life-planning as a teenager, your life as it is now is a good one, even if it’s not what you dreamed of. That doesn’t stop you from sobbing uncontrollably from time to time about what “should” have been. Stupid brain.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 9:27 am
What helps is to think about the things you do have…and be thankful for that…if you don’t like where you are at formulate a plan and proceed with it…action is better than inaction and the less idle you are the less time you have to think.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 9:29 am
That wasn’t necessarily intended towards you, haha…just seemed a convenient place to reply in the thread.
Pankakes September 21, 2011, 4:09 pm
I had that approach backfire on me earlier this year. I was in a job that was making me miserable, but I tried tried tried to grit my teeth and just be grateful that I had a full-time job with benefits when so many of my friends are either working service/retail jobs or unemployed.
But that ended up making me more miserable. Sure, I was grateful for the income and benefits, but I was still deeply unsatisfied with the job on a day-to-day basis. I felt really guilty that I had a good gig and was still unhappy, and the guilt just compounded the dissatisfaction until I finally went to a therapist, who set my head straight and told me it was OK to want something better for myself, to want something as basic as job satisfaction, it didn’t make me an ungrateful brat. It took me all summer but I did finally find something better that makes me happy.
I sympathize with the LW’s uncertainty about taking this position if she doesn’t even know what she wants to do for the long-term. I switched fields to take this new opportunity, and it was not an easy decision. I had already invested 5 years in my previous industry, and while my English degree doesn’t keep me locked to a specific industry, I wasn’t sure about walking away from the only thing I’d known in my professional life. I had to sort through a lot of mixed feelings, and during the job search, I applied for some positions that I knew would not make me any happier, just because I was desperate to get OUT of that job. Others have already pointed this out, but there is a difference between holding out for your dream job and holding out for one that you can at least see yourself being content with for a while. There’s a reason I didn’t just quit my misery-inducing job and go work as a grocery bagger until I found something better. Just because the LW is lucky to get such an offer in this economy doesn’t mean she is obligated to accept it.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 4:21 pm
But you ultimately “formulated a plan and acted on it” because you weren’t happy…did you try and focus on the other things in your life besides the job that did make you happy?
lk September 20, 2011, 4:35 pm
Oooh! What color? I was just thinking of going quarter-life-crisis-crimson….but then the Millionaire Matchmaker said no one dates red-heads??? HAHAHA aw geez
SpaceySteph September 20, 2011, 5:02 pm
Nobody dates red heads? Don’t tell Wendy’s HUSBAND
bagge72 September 21, 2011, 11:07 am
:o( I don’t have to break up with my fiance now, do I? She is a red head, and I love every bit of it!
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 6:43 pm
Psssh, girl…I’m going RED, so screw Patti Stanger. I’m going a dark red, like Sara Rue or that VS model Cintia Dicker. I’m a natural dark dirty blonde, and I’m pale with freckles and brown eyes. My stylish assures me it will be awesome, and I tend to agree. And redheads don’t get dates?! She’s out of her mind! Guys love redheads.
MissDre September 20, 2011, 9:42 pm
I just went red a month ago 🙂 With some copper hilights. Big change from having black hair for the past 5 years! I love it though!
Splashes September 21, 2011, 8:03 am
That’s my coloring! Let me know how it looks, please! My boyfriend keeps suggesting red, and I’d do it but I’m a bit scared.
ReginaRey September 21, 2011, 8:09 am
Will do! I’m getting it done this coming Monday. I say do it if you want to do it – it’s just hair! It can be changed back, and it grows out. That’s my reasoning, at least!
lk September 21, 2011, 12:43 pm
YESSSS well I’m going red too in October, since that’s my favorite month (logic???) : )
Budjer September 20, 2011, 4:36 pm
I think it’s because society breeds us to think that if we work hard and get through school that whatever we want to do will be attainable and we have the freedom to do what we want….they forgot to mention living is expensive (less freedom)…and that the aforementioned school would cost as much as a house mortgage (even less freedom). So when we get a few years into the “real world” we are like…..wtf…..this isn’t anything like I thought it would be.
MissDre September 20, 2011, 4:47 pm
For real, I’m currently struggling with the decision to move back home with parents. On my first day of school in 2004, the teachers said “Oh your first job out of school, you shouldn’t accept anything less than $30/hour!” Well guess what, I finished grad school in 2009 with a big ass student loan and two years later I’m barely making $15/hour (and yes I am working in my field).
I definitely had unrealistic expectations.
MissDre September 20, 2011, 4:47 pm
For real, I’m currently struggling with the decision to move back home with parents. On my first day of school in 2004, the teachers said “Oh your first job out of school, you shouldn’t accept anything less than $30/hour!” Well guess what, I finished grad school in 2009 with a big ass student loan and two years later I’m barely making $15/hour (and yes I am working in my field).
I definitely had unrealistic expectations.
oppositeofzen September 21, 2011, 8:34 am
I love it when academics forget the real world.
And for the record I’m academia.
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 8:59 am
It was probably true then. The average signing bonus in my field was 30,000 in 2004. Now it’s zero. More likely a change in times than woefully out-of-touch educators
SSBoo September 20, 2011, 5:06 pm
The quarter-life crisis is awful! I’m going through it now and have been for the last few years. I’m 27 now. I even bought the quarterlife crisis book Wendy recommends. Nothing is how I thought it would be but it gets better. I promise you that with work and effort it gets better! And remember, you’re not alone!
TaraMonster September 20, 2011, 10:09 pm
To all experiencing the quarter life crisis: I recommend It’s a Beautiful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties. It’s a collection of essays and I read it when I was 21 and just out of college. But it wasn’t until a couple years later when I picked it up again that the stories really hit home. #FirstWorldProblems, FTW!
And I heart the idea for Tough Love Tuesdays. 🙂
MJ September 21, 2011, 12:42 am
Here’s my quote for tough love Tuesday (I had my own quarter-life crisis, but I’m 33 now and I’m over it). I found this quote amusing and semi-helpful; it’s on my facebook page and it was just someone’s comment on a website.
“The sooner you realize that the highlight of your week will be a trip to the Olive Garden (if you’re lucky) the sooner you’ll get over your Quarterlife Crisis.”
bittergaymark September 21, 2011, 12:51 am
Um, what? Sorry I don’t get it. I simply don’t… If the highlight of my week was (at best) a visit to the Olive Garden, I dare say I would fucking kill myself. Hey, nothing against the O.G., but the highlight of one’s week? Seriously….
Jess September 21, 2011, 2:07 am
or you can figure out how to make the life you want for yourself, settling it not the right answer
Budjer September 21, 2011, 8:47 am
I think MJ’s point was that the sooner you figure out your life isn’t one continuous party and re-adjust your expectations of life… the happier you will be.
MJ September 23, 2011, 4:33 am
Yes, that was the gist of it. Thanks 🙂
Foxxdye September 20, 2011, 4:03 pm
I’m going to take the opposite tack, because I understand where the LW is coming from. Yes, the job market is bad, but early career/job choices can truly affect where you go in the longer-term. If you have a bad gut feeling about the direction this offer would take you, I don’t think you should ignore it entirely. And there are some industries (mine) where loyalty does not go unnoticed, and the same goes for flakiness.
I’ve been getting really burned out and unhappy at a job that is many people’s dreams, and understand the frustration you might feel when you go for advice (or in my case, a pep talk to energize my job search) and receive, essentially, “be grateful for what you’ve got, and stop being so uppity.”
I don’t necessarily have any contradictory advice from the other respondents, because I think accepting the offer and then at least continuing to look can’t hurt (since, as others have said, your offer could vanish in a heartbeat), but I just want to say that I get your point of view, LW! Although imputing jealous motives to your friend, when it could be just her dismal view of economy, seems premature.
6napkinburger September 20, 2011, 4:45 pm
I’m with you in understanding. I’m not telling you to DO the job if it isn’t something you want to do. But options are nice. They are also the best way to get other better more on-point options. People like hiring people who HAVE jobs. You go interviewing with one offer, you’re a much more attractive candidate.
ReginaRey September 20, 2011, 3:26 pm
Totally agree with Wendy on this.
LW, I graduated college last summer. I spent the summer interning, and got a job offer from another organization and began work in September. I knew it wasn’t my DREAM job, but it was in the field I majored in and seemed promising. It’s been a wonderful way to learn about the workforce, build my resume, and to hone my skills. It’s also been great for helping me define what exactly it is that I DO want to do – Doing something that’s not your idea of perfect can teach you a LOT about what you DO want. It’s also given me the luxury to save money and define my plan for the next few years.
I don’t think your friend was being jealous or resentful. I think she was maybe a little put-off by your inexperienced mindset. To have ANY job offer before college graduation is a blessing, and I think she was probably a bit frustrated that you might turn down a perfectly good job offer to wait it out for something better…when it’s very likely that something better could take a LONG TIME to come around.
Now, if you have the ability to wait it out for your perfect job, then that’s different. But most people can’t spend an unforeseen amount of time waiting for something better. That’s why they take jobs that aren’t EXACTLY what they want, and continue to casually look. That’s NOT morally wrong – it’s smart. My best friend worked somewhere for 7 weeks, got a better offer elsewhere, and left. Yes, the people were a bit peeved, but this is YOUR life. You aren’t obligated to stay somewhere you dislike or that isn’t what you want to be doing if someone’s offering you a job you DO want – it’s insanely logical to make yourself happy and pursue what will further your career.
I think you need to redefine your notion of business-smart and savvy. It’s very different, as Wendy said, than what’s smart in a relationship sense. It’s SMART to look after yourself, to define what it is that you want to do, and to have a steady source of income and be defining your skills WHILE you search for the perfect career opportunity.
Buzzelbee September 20, 2011, 4:27 pm
First, moral issues and ethical issues are not the same thing.
Second, accept the job offer. Like everyone has said, you can keep your eyes open for something better. I graduated from a good graduate program in May 2009 and have friends that still don’t have permanent jobs and are temping. It sucks out there and having something lined up will be such a relief in about 8 and a half months.
LolaBeans September 20, 2011, 4:43 pm
sigh. ethics and morals are different things.
anyway, just take the job and keep your eyes open for something else. doens’t hurt to build your resume.
ladybug September 20, 2011, 5:04 pm
It IS solid advice. Being unemployed myself, I was told in a class held by my local STATE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE that employee loyalty is a misguided pastime. They told me that the average expectancy to be in a job these days is less than two years, and you should ALWAYS look for other opportunities while employed. As a matter of fact, you are considered MORE employable if you are seeking other employment WHILE EMPLOYED, as opposed to being unemployed. The days of working at a job you love, in your field, at the same place until you retire are GONE.
SSBoo September 20, 2011, 5:13 pm
“As a matter of fact, you are considered MORE employable if you are seeking other employment WHILE EMPLOYED, as opposed to being unemployed.”
That is so true! A lot of companies are even putting on their job reqs that if you’re unemployed don’t even apply. They won’t even give you the time of day.
I think the best thing would be to thank your friend for telling you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear, and to take the job but keep your eyes open for something else. I was at a job for a month when I got another job offer. The worst that happened was the old manager mumbling about the training they “wasted” on me. Yeah, you can get over comments like that. It’s your life and you have to do what is best for you.
Bossy Italian Wife September 20, 2011, 5:05 pm
I totally agree with Wendy… you ASKED for advice, and when you didn’t hear what you wanted to hear, you acted like your friend was the one with the problem. While I understand that you may not be totally in love with the job, or still deciding, you should take the offer.
Looking for another job while you have a job is perfectly acceptable. This is business–these people aren’t your family or even your friends.
My best guess is that you haven’t come into the real world yet because you are still in college, and you don’t understand the realities of the current job market AT ALL. But hopefully this will serve as your major wake up call. If you can get a job, you better take, and YES, perhaps you should feel blessed because there are a lot of people out there looking for jobs who can’t find them and are losing their homes.
oppositeofzen September 21, 2011, 8:41 am
“My best guess is that you haven’t come into the real world yet because you are still in college, and you don’t understand the realities of the current job market AT ALL.”
Thanks for saying this! I’m sure she’s heard how bad the economy and job market is. I think she may be still a little misguided and thinking that it won’t apply to her. After all, she’ll have a degree.
I know it’s not what you want to hear, but take the offer. You can keep listening out for something better, but hopefully you’ll have something to fall back on.
theattack September 20, 2011, 5:34 pm
Looking for a new job while you’re employed is not morally or ethically questionable. Just make sure you don’t do it on your company’s watch, and it’s fine. If you have an interview, take off half a day for “personal reasons” to get it done. That’s the acceptable way to do it, and employers pretty much assume that you will.
oldie September 20, 2011, 5:54 pm
LW — if you don’t know what field you want to be in, then getting experience in this job will both pay the bills while you think and look farther and give you knowledge about what actually happens in this field and what you really enjoy doing. A starter job is a starter job and they all have a lot of drudge until you demonstrate your ability to do more challenging work.
fast eddie September 20, 2011, 5:02 pm
Lucky you for having an offer right out of the chute. There’s nothing immoral, illegal, unethical or wrong about have a job that pays the rent and looking for a better or more satisfying one. If that company folds before you graduate you’re unemployed, broke and in debt. Likewise no matter how good you are if the company decides to cut back your the newest therefore the first to go. This the capitalist system and we all live with it, so accept the offer and keep your eye open something better. I need you to have a job at high wages so that my social security income is sustained. Good luck and thank you for your support.
Slamy September 20, 2011, 5:52 pm
That’s how jobs work. I worked a really shitty job at a sandwich shop for six months before I got the job I have now at a law firm. I’ve been at this job for over three years now. My resume looks great and I have health insurance. Did I hate working at the sandwich shop? Yes. Was it worth it to have money while I looked for a job I actually wanted? Absolutely.
Oh, and the only way I got this job was because I knew someone working here. You definitely do have to know people in this economy.
Our situations are obviously different. I’m not a college graduate. I just have to say, you would be sort of foolish not to accept this job, and there is nothing wrong with looking for a job while you already have one. If you didn’t find a job in the next 9 months, at least you’d have this job, and you could keep looking for your “dream job.”
Rei September 20, 2011, 6:12 pm
I don’t get your position, LW. Your friend gave you advice because you asked her, and then you assume she is jealous and possibly doesn’t like you or want to be around you because it wasn’t exactly what you think? Do you feed off drama? Because I would suggest switching to food.
Skyblossom September 20, 2011, 6:18 pm
Your friend’s not jealous, she just lives in the real world.
sobriquet September 20, 2011, 6:42 pm
I mean, she got ONE job offer, so a better one has to be coming, amirite? I would be mad at that friend, too! Why isn’t she beaming with joy about all her amazing prospects? She’s going to be offered her dream job in the next 9 months!
I’m sorry, but I hate being lumped in with the Millenials sometimes. You’re not all special little snowflakes. The economy affects you, too. You should always be grateful for a job offer in your desired field- especially in this economy! God. My head is exploding.
Now excuse me while I study for an Organic Chemistry exam because I had to go back to school for a more practical degree when I was laid off from my “perfect job” 2 years ago.
Mary September 20, 2011, 10:17 pm
One of my best friends is in the same shoes as you. He had a great job & made 6 figures. Then he got laid off 2 years ago. He spent 12 months trying to get a job. Nothing. Nooooothing! So he went back to school to earn a different degree with the hope that maybe possibly he can finally have a career in a different field.
Good news: after 2 years of unemployment, he recently got a job!
Bad news: it’s at Best Buy. :/
SpyGlassez September 21, 2011, 12:11 am
That could be my BF. Except for the whole “recently got a job” thing. He’s past the worst of the slump and is actually applying again, but he’s only had one interview and nothing came of it.
katie September 20, 2011, 8:39 pm
LW, all I will tell you is my experience working in a country club as a pastry chef, with an associates degree, while we were hiring in new people. the possible new hires always had your attitude- i had a friend who i had gone to school with (he had stayed on for his BS), who called me and asked me if he would be able to get a job where I worked.. i told him that he might be able to, but he wanted 22-25 dollars an hour. that is UNHEARD of for a graduate in the hospitality industry. it NEVER happens. I know a guy right now who is a front of house SUPERVISOR and he only makes 12 an hour.
read this very carefully: you are not going to graduate college and go right to the top, or right into your dream job.
another guy we had who came into the country club, he was graduating in the next couple months, actually said that he didn’t want to have to cook anymore- he wanted a management position. he was literally laughed out of the kitchen and was never called again.
i’m not saying that you should take the first job offer you get- but as a college graduate, you are absolutely at the bottom of the totem pole. you have little to no job experience, and the only kind of knowledge you have comes from books- which everyone knows is so far from what actually happens in the real world, we wonder why college is necessary sometimes. so i think you should take a really objective look at your options, your field of study, and really what the real world is going to look like for you in the future…. you might decide that the job experience you will get will be much better for your career in the long run. experience is the key, really. and besides- if you just go right into your dream job, what else is there to look forward to or work at?
bittergaymark September 20, 2011, 9:16 pm
The LW doesn’t even make any sense. At one point she is talking about how her friend was only unemployed for a month before taking a job in her field…then at the end rants about how the friend is bitter about working outside of her field…
At any rate, I hope she ignores Wendy’s advice and DOESN’T take the job. It just sounds to me like the employers could simply do oh-so-much better.
bagge72 September 21, 2011, 11:12 am
I noticed that too, but never said anything… Glad you brought it up!
rsBella September 20, 2011, 9:33 pm
I am by no means trying to put the LW down, but when I read this letter it struck me that it had to have been written by someone very, very young who has little, if any experience in today’s working world. Gone are the days when you were loyal to your employer and your employer was loyal to you. Employment in this economy at an entry-level is lucky if found and often fleeting. I think it would be awfully foolish for the LW to turn down this position and feel that she has options and the ability to be picky – few people have that luxury, even experienced workers. I don’t want to be harsh, but WUA (wake up already).
caffeinatrix September 20, 2011, 9:33 pm
This is physically hurting my brain.
My gut reaction is shock, because this LW seems to have NO idea of how incredibly lucky she is. I graduated from college too, you know. Three YEARS ago. I’ve been stuck in a retail job since then, and I get reminders pretty often that I’m lucky to even have that in a region with 15% unemployment. Most of my coworkers and friends have college degrees and make maybe a couple dollars over minimum wage. I was in a similar mindset as the LW toward the end of college- I figured I’d just get some kind of office job once I graduated and could take my time figuring out what I really wanted to do. Nope. I went to work in a coffee shop. Eventually I “moved up” to a sporting goods store while I figured out what I wanted to do. I’ve now spent almost a year applying for jobs and networking like crazy. Out of the dozens of applications and resumes I’ve sent out, I’ve had only four interviews in the last year. There are days when I cry because I’m so frustrated and feel like I’ll never get a real job.
Take the job offer. Like everyone else has said, it is not at all unethical to keep an open mind and keep looking at other jobs while you take the time to think about what you want to do. Plus, the first job can help you make crucial connections that lead to better jobs. Your friend is being realistic; honestly, if it seems like she’s annoyed at your attitude, I can understand where she’s coming from.
caffeinatrix September 20, 2011, 9:37 pm
Also, how exactly will this impact the next three years of your life? Do you have to agree to a contract or something? That seems weird for an entry-level position like that.
Mary September 20, 2011, 9:56 pm
LW, you asked your friend for her opinion. She gave it to you. You should value her honesty and pragmatism. It sounds to me as though this friend cares for your well-being and wishes you to have a secure, steady income when you graduate. That sounds like a normal position for a friend to take.
Could she maybe be a bit jealous, too? Perhaps. But honestly, I think that’s perfectly normal. The economy is in the shitter, honey. There are people out there with a LOT more experience than you who’ve been unemployed for over a year. This means that even people with jobs feel nervous nowadays. They’ve heard so many stories about colleagues, friends, family members who’ve been laid off and in the following months have sent out dozens and dozens of applications with no response. When the anxious members of today’s workforce hear about someone like you – a person who had a good job miraculously fall into her lap – there’s bound to be at least a twinge of jealousy. So maybe possibly your friend might (maybe possibly) feel a bit envious. Maybe. If so, that does not make your friend a bad person! Not at all! She’s just human and very aware of the state of the economy.
Enough about your friend, LW. Let’s talk about you. You wrote, “I am still questioning what field I want to work in and whether I’d have the ability to transfer into another position from this one”. I’m a bit confused. Are you talking about leaving this field altogether and not using this degree? Are you thinking of changing your major? Or are you thinking of focusing on an area of your field that still uses your degree but focuses on a different area than the new job? Whatever the case, you need to talk to your academic adviser. SOON. Make an appointment this week.
Now, if you do not wish to change your major and you still wish to work in some area of the same field, then I think you should accept the job. Yes, you can apply for other positions in the meanwhile. Maybe you’ll get some interviews. But an honest-to-god job offer is something you CANNOT take lightly.
You seem to have the impression that job offers are going to rain down from the sky the very moment you receive your degree. That is NOT the way it works for recent college graduates – even when the economy is in good shape. I think you are severely undervaluing the importance of connections in the job market. They are more important now more than ever. The reason why you have a job offer with this company is because you have connections at that company. You did not intern anywhere else and, therefore, do not have the same kind of connections elsewhere.
Remember that if you take this job – even if it isn’t the perfect fit for you – you can still use it to make connections. Network like crazy. Go to industry functions (many of which are only open to people who are currently employed). Talk to the people who do what you want to do. Use this job for what it is – a first step.
soandso September 20, 2011, 10:58 pm
Am I the only person to think this letter is fake? I mean are people really this dumb?
bittergaymark September 20, 2011, 11:55 pm
I actually often wonder about many letters on these sites… Then I simply go to the store or to starbucks and eavesdrop on a few conversation and quickly realize that, yes, the world is increasingly populated by idiots… I mean, seriously? Who else would make the Whoredashians famous? Idiots. Jersey Bore Fans? Idiots. Think Michelle Bachmann could even successfully run a relay race much less for the Presidency? Again, idiots. There are tons of really incredibly stupid people running around out there…
AmandaX September 21, 2011, 1:00 am
I have a slightly related problem. I am also graduating in the spring with an offer (though i took mine in a heartbeat). I was lucky enough to get an internship through a contact of my mom’s, which allowed me to get an internship at the company I’ll be working at full time. My roommate on the other hand looked for an internship and couldnt get one, and is stuggling to find a job for after graduation. Whenever friends bring up future plans or I mention being sad about leaving school/nervous about being grown up, she says I’m not allowed to talk and am lucky my mom got me the first internship (which i agree with and am so thankful for!) I understand that she is in a much scarier situation, but what are you supposed to do when your friend actually is jealous of your offer… Post-graduation plans are everyone’s favorite topic right now and its hard to stay silent in respect for her situation / fear she’ll yell at me
bagge72 September 21, 2011, 11:18 am
You should just keep quite while she says these things about you, and then finally snap, and rip her a new one in front of everyone you know!
Or you could tell her that yes you were lucky that your mom helped you out, but you never would have got the internship in the first place if you weren’t good at what you were doing, and worked hard to be where you are. The truth is, that it isn’t your fault, and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about the situation you are in.
dork September 21, 2011, 11:49 am
you can offer to help your friend in her career search, like a good friend.
if your friend does not let up, you start avoiding her to save your friendship.
unemployment messes with your brain. you wouldn’t understand…since you have this job and everything.
Quakergirl September 21, 2011, 9:21 am
LW, if you can honestly say you like the company, the pay is enough to live on (not live like a movie star, but enough to pay your bills and loans), and the job is interesting to you, you’d be insane not to take it. The job market is tough out there right now. I say this as someone who graduated from college in 2010, did a year-long grad program and had a lot of trouble finding a job. People are demanding higher and higher levels of education for entry-level jobs and paying lower salaries for them (or nothing! you wouldn’t believe how many people asked if I could work as an unpaid intern…uh, no, I’m 23 and I have bills to pay).
If you find a job in a field you like where you’d be happy for at least a little while, consider that a win. I know it sounds like settling when you’re in college and the world is all shiny and bright and full of possibilities, but in reality, it’s just smart. It’s better to decide to change firms or positions or even careers in a few years than to try to explain to potential employers why you’ve been unemployed since college. Plenty of people change careers nowadays, so it’s not that big of a deal.
The only place where I’ll disagree slightly with Wendy is on looking for other jobs, depending on the field. It sounds to me like your job might be in finance based on the interning process and timing of your offer. If you sign an offer letter and accept a signing bonus or relocation package with a financial firm and then start interviewing at other firms, that will get your offer rescinded pretty damn fast. Many industries would view that activity similarly. If you want to go to networking events, have informational meetings with industry leaders who might be alumni of your university, or keep perusing your university’s job listings, by all means do so. Those things are just smart for your career no matter what, and will help you find a new job if this one falls through. But don’t make it look like you’re looking to jump ship on the job you just accepted. That behavior is rarely looked upon fondly in the professional world.
Heather September 21, 2011, 10:15 am
I’m sorry LW, but you using the phrase “ethically immoral” in the situation really grinds my gears.
soandso September 21, 2011, 11:22 am
she seems to be one of those people that will have a job for 3 years and then look. Not 3 months like most of us.
bagge72 September 21, 2011, 10:19 am
Can’t wait for the update! I assume it is going to go something like this.
So I got a job in my desired field as soon as I graduate, and it pays 3 times as much, so you can all suck it! amiright
dr bro September 21, 2011, 11:54 am
actually every update where the LW was ripped into/disagreed with starts with “First, I should clarify a couple things,” and then introduces brand new facts that completely change the situation. Like the girl who was complaining about her boyfriend wanted her to be more adventurous sexually, then everyone ripped into her for being stuck-up (she said something about how hot she was), then in the update whoops she forgot to mention she was raped as a child and that’s why she has a bunch of sexual hang-ups.
MsMisery September 21, 2011, 10:30 am
“One friend seemed to resent that I wasn’t completely gung-ho about accepting this offer. She was “unemployed” for less than a month after graduating before she accepted a full-time position in her desired field.”
Who is jealous of who here?
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 10:36 am
AS someone above said, this confused me. Was the point that the friend was unemployed for a long time, and thus was jealous of how easy the LW had it; was the point that the friend was unemployed for a short time (only a month) so any jealousy was unfounded? was the point that the friend was unemployed at all, and thus bitter that LW wouldn’t be?
And (as pointed out above), LW switches, saying that the friend is jealous that LW is working in her chosen field when the friend is not. I read it initially that friend is working in broad chosen field (e.g. mechanical engineering) but not her specific desired field (e.g. nanotechnology, rather than robotics). But it was confusing.
soandso September 21, 2011, 11:24 am
This is how I can tell the letter is fake. Because she says this line and then a few sentences later she says this:
“I know she is employed in a position she feels is outside of her desired field and is looking for a new job, but ”
So which is it?
MsMisery September 21, 2011, 11:44 am
Unless the LW is talking about multiple friends and just doesn’t know how to write a letter……..
dork September 21, 2011, 11:36 am
LW, I AM jealous of your good fortune, because somebody as stupid and entitled as you does not deserve it. I do resent the injustice that is being perpetrated here. I am around your age, and many of my peers were arrogant like you, however employers confused arrogance for confidence, and competence and offered them good jobs.
I hope the company that is hiring you realizes this sooner rather than later. I can only imagine your inflated, immature ego at work turning your nose up at work assigned to you.
I don’t know what kind of a program or field you are graduating out of, but I can certainly bet that your parents paid to put your ass through school, and you’re likely a soft skills “professional”.
I graduated this summer, and the stress of finding a job made me physically ill. I have found one, but it is employment at will. It is like a big guillotine above your head.
Employment opportunities are wasted on arrogant people like you. Maybe your friend realizes this but does not want to say it to your face.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 11:57 am
I’m also in this peer group and I completely agree…the amount of new hires at my company that haven’t worked out because of their inflated egos is staggering…they end up getting lost in a limbo land of “nobody wants them but it takes a shit load of effort to fire them so we will just keep laterally moving them to bogus positions until they quit or fuck up enough.”
In other cases they don’t know when to stfu and constantly put their foots in their mouths.
dork September 21, 2011, 1:06 pm
why doesn’t your company hire with an at-will clause?
Budjer September 21, 2011, 1:49 pm
I don’t know – I’m in research in an international company…furthest thing away from HR / company policy management…
We seem to prefer to over-saturate and then have “lay-offs” when money gets tight to get back down to an appropriate size so the timing of those events is when the fat gets trimmed.
ele4phant September 21, 2011, 2:28 pm
That’s a shame. Despite the entitlement (which believe me, I understand is a huge problem, I used to have a huge case of it), I bet most of these kids are smart and capable and could contribute greatly if they lost the ego. Its too bad your company’s managers don’t take it upon themselves to manage their worker and give their employees an accurate view of their performance. Its not doing anybody favors to shuffle them around laterally; not the new hires (who won’t ever improve if their just moved around) or the company (who is saddled with useless workers).
While I fully comp to my past entitlement being totally my own fault, at the same time, management needs to hold up their end of the bargain and step up and show the new generation how to actually work. These kids have never been told anything other than “your smart and wonderful and can do no wrong”, so the managers need to do their job and give their workers an honest and brutal assessment of their work and contribution, and then train them, rather than shuffle them around until they f up or leave in frustration. Its to the benefit of everyone, ultimately.
Again, I do think that the problem is mostly with the new workers inflated self worth, but they are not incapable of reaching a great potential if someone took an interest.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 2:38 pm
I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. The corporate culture here is pretty hands off with management (very macro)….if you show interest the managers and field experts will do a lot for you though….
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 1:42 pm
And then comes this.
I disgree with this post so much.
The economy is bad. Unemployment is high. Underemployment is higher, Underutilization of skills is rampant. People are truly struggling. This I don’t disagree with.
I think the LW has an out-dated view of corporate ettiquette and may have an inflated sense of what is available. That s/he automatically thinks that her friend is jealous rather than pragmatic is not a great sign of an awesome personality.
The current economic climate doesn’t mean we don’t get to have opinions about how we live our lives and what we do with them. Life is all about risks. The LW is perfectly entitled to do whatever s/he wants with this offer and should be educated about the risk that s/he is taking in rejecting it. But just because s/he isn’t sold on it IN NO WAY implies that s/he doesn’t deserve it.
We aren’t slave. We aren’t serfs. We get to chose where and when we will work and for what amount. Its a buyers market now, and we all have to deal with what that means, but we still can make choices. The world isn’t fair. Circumstances suck. Employers have to work with the limited information they have. People who managed to survive layoffs would seem to have skills that those who did not lack (thus allowing them to survive layoffs), and so employers feel those who are employed probably are better choices than those who were laid off. This isn’t a very trusty method of deciding. and it certainly doesn’t feel fair. But its not stupid either, and its lower risk. It is not surprising that this is a strategy.
LW is lucky in that her stars aligned to provide the internship and that that company has positions to offer full time. But clearly the company decided LW was worth investing in and working full time. That she may not want to doesn’t make her a selfish, arrogant person. It might make her poor, but not bad or stupid or any of the hate-filled words you used. She earned her internship. She can decide whether to take it or not.
To admit that people earned what they achieve does not mean that those who did not obtain the same outcome could not have possibly achieved the same results. Perhaps you might have also gotten an offer. But you also might not have. All we know is that LW did and she may not realize that they are not very prevalent. So we are trying to pierce the college bubble so she can understand reality and make an educated decision.
The argument that we should grovel on the floor and thank heavens and human resources for every scrap that is thrown our way does not help our situation – it allows the buyer’s market to remain as strong and as messed up as it is – nor does it actually benefit the individual. Perhaps this LW can get 4 more offers, including one that she prefers. She is entitled to all of them if she earns them; she did not somehow lose her worthiness by questioning whether she wanted a particular job.
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 1:51 pm
As an fyi, in my profession, every job is “at will.”
dork September 21, 2011, 2:31 pm
1. You don’t get to tell me what kind of words to use, only Wendy does. Stop being the word police.
2. Nobody ever really “deserves” anything morally speaking, they are only entitled to legitimate expectations.
In this case the LW has no legitimate expectations because she is an undefined product. A new college graduate. Like the other thousands / millions in the country, in her field.
Unless the LW is some kind of a specialist brain surgeon, or a theoretical physicist with a supreme IQ, or Michael Jordan, or some other truly remarkable / special individual, she does not “earn” or “deserve” anything. Especially not an ENTRY level job that 99 of her peers can easily fill.
A new college graduate is a blank slate. Regardless of what you learned in school, or what kind of grades you attained you are not better than other people. So yes, you accept whatever you get, and work hard.
Your argument might be more relevant if we were talking about somebody will something useful to contribute to a company / economy. You argument might be more relevant if the LW had some kind of moral objections towards the company she would be working for, e.g. if she were a vegetarian and animal lover, and she gets a job at a slaughterhouse. None of the above apply. LW just has an inflated ego.
She is no more better or than a large percentage of her peers. She is NOT a unique snowflake. Her friend could replace her just as easily. Or that other guy who also graduates with her in the summer. And the other hundreds of thousands of new graduates.
It is my opinion that people without truly specialized skills need to stop believing that they are “special” or “irreplaceable”. To think otherwise is stupid. If Wendy does not like my words, she can ban me.
I am pretty amazed at the self-righteous outrage you have on the behalf of an internet stranger who may as well be a spoiled brat from a really affluent family.
dork September 21, 2011, 2:47 pm
fyi, I never advocated grovelling / selling out / compromising one’s personal morals or principles. None of the above apply to the LW. Just an ignorant brat with entitlements.
By all means she should reject the offer. The school of hard knocks will teach her some good lessons. Unemployment is humbling, and makes you question your assumptions, qualifications, competence etc.
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 3:54 pm
“A new college graduate is a blank slate. Regardless of what you learned in school, or what kind of grades you attained you are not better than other people. So yes, you accept whatever you get, and work hard.”
Not all college graduates are alike. And some very well may be “better AT” a job than their peers. That’s why employers don’t just throw darts at a wall. Sure, there are a lot of qualified applicants, and I am not suggesting that this LW is the only person who can do her job. But clearly, the employer thinks that she, out of all the possible people to fill the job, will do the best (or at least that the company will gain the most benefit from hiring her) or else they would not have extended the offer.
Next, people who were mechanical engineers will on average, be worse as copy editors than english majors. Chemistry students who got A’s at Cal Tech will probably be better at pharmaceutical jobs than chemistry students who got D’s at East Podunk University. The idea that there is no discernable difference in skills and assets between all graduates of all level schools across all majors and all industries is flawed. All rankings and grading isn’t BS. They surely are flawed in their execution in many ways, but they aren’t trying to measure something that doesn’t exist.
I disagree that “you accept whatever you get and work hard.” That certainly is one strategy. And I agree that it is a good one. But it is not the only one. Hard work is certainly no guarantee of anything; but savvy goes a long way. If you want to be an executive at a particular company, you may very well kill any chance of that by taking as an administrative assistant at that company. You will be able to pay your bills, sure, but there are many companies that simply will not allow that jump, and you do yourself a disservice for not considering that before beginning work there.
I agree that this LW is probably not a particularly irreplaceable. But that doesn’t mean she cannot, and perhaps given the proper circumstances, should not choose to be replaced. You are the only one looking out for your career and your future. If you don’t, no one will. It is not arrogant to plan actively for your future; its prudent.
“It is my opinion that people without truly specialized skills need to stop believing that they are “special” or “irreplaceable”. To think otherwise is stupid.”
I agree that to over-value your skillset and your assets is stupid. But evaluating them isn’t. Believing they have a particular worth isn’t, if they in fact do. Clearly LW is a snowflake– she’s a snowflake who had an internship with the company, as opposed to all the other snowflakes that didn’t. And if the LW does overvalue herself, or consider herself to be irreplaceable, then certainly, she will feel the reprecussions of that in the market.
On a broader note, i disagree with your definition, or outlook, on what people deserve. I mistyped above; I meant to say that she deserved her offer, not her internship. I do believe that you deserve what you earn, and nothing else. You and I will just have to disagree about that.
On a more specific broader note, I did not tell you what words to use. I disagreed with your usage of them: you stated that you felt that LW’s actions demonstrated that she was selfish and arrogant; I do not think that is what they demonstrated. I also felt they were exceedingly harsh (I think you come across as “hating” the LW), so I said so. I didn’t say you couldn’t use those words. I just think they are being misapplied here.
Lastly, I do not agree that you need to “sell out” or “compromise your morals or principles” to be described as grovelling. Perhaps it was hyperbole, but the attitude which you espouse, the “take anything you can get and if you utter a negative word, you’re ungrateful” attitude, is detrimental, both to people’s individual psyche and to the current atmosphere of fear and uncertainty in the job market. There is a difference between being “an over-entitled brat” and a calculating, savvy strategist.I believe this is true even if the job is perfectly innocous; it still could be harmful to you and your future. Contemplating that doesn’t make you “entitled.” My indignation isn’t really on behalf of the LW, its against your attitude itself.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 4:10 pm
I take issue with your administrative assistant comment. People working in “Food services” (i.e. cooking and serving basic cafeteria food) where I work have networked from that position which allowed them to transition / interview into permanent company positions in engineering / accounting areas if they have that educational background.
Additionally…my sister-in-law is a regional manager at a bank in our area and they promoted a guy into a full-time IT position that started as a contract position changing out ink cartridges because he showed initiative in learning the ropes of the job….this gentleman has a high school diploma and is working at the level of college IT graduates. That goes back to my earlier point about how knowing people helps getting a job….obviously your point of personal success plays a role, but unless a company has prior experience with you then they ARE essentially shooting darts in a dart board because I’ve met a lot of stupid people (common sense and practical knowledge wise) that had excellent grades (book smarts/information regurgitation).
6napkinburger September 21, 2011, 4:31 pm
I didn’t mean to imply that you can’t transition; sometimes you can. (Think of the stories where CEOs started in the mail room.) I also FULLY agree with you about who you know. That is a huge part of finding the oppurtunities in the first place.
My point is that (1) this type of promotion is not as prevelant as it once was (when you were expected to stay at the same company for 30 years and you had pensions with the company, instead of transferrable 401ks); and (2) considering that possibility is prudent.
Some companies absolutely will not allow people to jump from support staff to professional staff; and some industries absolutely will not. Some grad schools frown on certain positions, despite education. This particular point is not coming from what i think “should” happen or whether I think some admins are smarter and more competent than the execs they support – which i do- ; it a precaution to be aware that it very often does happen, and sometimes people don’t realize it.
A very sad example is real-estate brokers.
A lot of people who were working in finance/banking/consulting were laid off in 2008. They had done everything right, but when Bear Sterns collapsed, all hell broke loose and tons of smart, qualified people were suddenly jobless from them and many other NY entities.
To, you know, pay rent, many people got real estate licenses, parlaying their sales skills into the real estate markets, thinking that when the tide shifted again, they’d pick right back up and go back to their former careers, which for many people, included MBA’s.
I’ve spoken with many admissions people from the top 10 MBA programs in the country many times, and, to put it bluntly, they basically will not even consider these people, due to their working as real estate brokers. (If you know of an example of one person, there was something else going on). Their decision to take on that job killed any chance of these programs, which would open other oppurtunities down the line, and so on and so on.
Now, I’m not saying these people are doomed forever to have miserable lives with no success. Of course there are other programs, of course they can succeed in hundreds of other ways, of course some are way better off due to this twist of circumstance. Of course some of them had no other choices. But I bet you some of them did not realize -If i take this job, I just-plain- end-of-story cannot go to Wharton ever; if I take this job, I will decrease my chances of going back into banking by X billion percent. And some might have liked hearing that BEFORE they took the job, so they were making an educated decision.
That was my point.
Budjer September 21, 2011, 4:37 pm
And a much stronger argument! No rebuttal.
dork September 21, 2011, 9:01 pm
I think I have a good grasp of the kind of person you are. You are upwardly mobile, very ambitious, and obviously possess the drive to work hard, get advanced degrees and all of that. Good for you. I wish you the best.
“I do believe that you deserve what you earn, and nothing else.”
I have a different philosophy.
– You don’t earn “moral desert” because it does not exist. In other words, you don’t DESERVE anything, for whatever it is you do (whether you are a plumber, or airline pilot). However you are entitled to some legitimate expectations in a society with a free market. I found this video very enlightening: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcL66zx_6No
This concept has existed for thousands of years in eastern philosophy.
Translating the central tenet of the Bhagavad Gita: You can ACT(do karma) diligently, but do not expect anything to come of it, ever. And never assume that you are the cause of your fortune / success. Being a religious text, the GITA attributes rewards of karma to divine inspiration, but that is extraneous to the discussion.
Upon introspection I find this to be true for my life. The universe is a chaotic system, and the chain of causality is all muddled and complex and indeterminate. I cannot honestly claim that I am responsible for my success or failure, I was certainly an actor and influenced the events, but I could not foresee what would come of them, ever.
When I introspect and look back on life, seemingly small events and occurrences had a huge impact on the chain of events that followed. Each event is insignificant by itself, but to quote nerd god steve jobs “You can only connect the dots looking backwards”.
This is my philosophy.
In terms of the LW and her problem, I don’t take anything back, and I admitted a part of me is jealous / resentful. I have been denied opportunities in the past that I felt I was equally qualified for, and eventually it evolved into a self-fulfilling prophecy for the lucky few who were given the opportunity to work at the Apples or Googles of the world. A prospective employer looks at two resumes with one who interned at Apple and another who interned at Generic Brand Enterprises, the Apple candidate will be given the job because of the prestige.
I’m still figuring out my life philosophy, however at this stage of my life, I am only going to concentrate on learning, doing a good job, and trying to love what I do. I don’t have a vision where I will be promoted in three years, or make a certain amount of money, or manage people and give people orders etc. I used to have some sense of entitlement, but that has changed. I don’t have a “career plan”, because I have become extremely disillusioned with “career professionals” and their bullshit advice. What I want is to do, is to go bed at night knowing that I am damn good at what I do, and am earning my keep. The money and the titles will come.
I think the LW is full of herself because based on the information she has provided the job sounds great. She has worked there before, and the company is in her field. There is no “perfect job”. It does not exist.
Also when I use expletives, that is just how i express myself. Maybe I’m crass, I don’t really care. I’m not trying to impress anyone.
Starfish13 September 21, 2011, 4:34 pm
I actually disagree with Wendy here. I don’t agree with accepting jobs that you aren’t committed to (though I realize I am not the norm). I think there is nothing wrong with being loyal to companies (assuming the company is good to you). When I graduated college last year, I pretty much only applied to places I really wanted to work at, that were in my field, and that I would be a good fit for (to the best of my ability to judge the situation). If you think you’ve got talent, LW, and that finding a job wont be an issue, have faith that it won’t be an issue and stick to your guns. Don’t settle for anything else. My parents were very pro-take whatever you can get. But I didn’t and (though for a while it was pretty scary while I was job searching ) I did ultimately find exactly what I was looking for and am glad I didn’t choose a company I wasn’t as excited about.
And in regards to your concern about whether your friend was jealous, while that is impossible to judge, she probably is heavily influenced by her own experiences (as it is her life). People tell what they know. If your friend got screwed in job searching, then she will provide you with that perspective. It is wrong or right, it is just a perspective. You should listen to lots of perspectives, but ultimately trust your own judgment.
HmC September 21, 2011, 9:30 pm
Everything has pretty much already been said here, but I have to say that the “ethically immoral” part of the letter made me chuckle. Girlfriend, what kind of saints do you think employers in the business world are? They are, for the most part, in the business of making money first and foremost. They’re offering you a job because they think it will ultimately be good for their bottom line, not as a favor to help you out. Look out for your best interests because that’s what employers are doing- looking out for their best interests, not yours! I kind of applaud you for your attempt at morality, but trust me, in the business world shopping around is an expected part of the package. If you don’t do it you will get taken advantage of sooner or later.
sarita_f September 22, 2011, 12:12 am
LW – you use the plural term, “prospectS”. Yet I count only ONE bird in the hand here. Listen to your friend, as she’s way more the Voice of Experience here. Trust me – from someone who saw her 4-month-prior-to-graduation offer rescinded 6 months after 9/11. Yes, I was a December grad, and there was a small monthly bonus paid to those of us who chose to continue waiting it out ), when the company imploded. My school barred us fom continuing the on-campus interviewing process once we accepted a full-time offer. Don’t know that that system is still in place.