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Did I make a mistake accepting this job?

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This topic contains 26 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by avatar Canada Goose 2 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 27 total)
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  • #846971 Reply

    So I have a slightly different take. I work in a situation where the way my direct boss sees my job is different than the way Grandboss sees my job. And that has created some problems/awkwardness. Grandboss has some unrealistic expectations for what my position can do, while Boss and I are on the same page about my responsibilities and workflow. Usually it’s fine – for the most part I’m doing the job I signed on for – but it does create tension when Grandboss gets ahead of herself and I have to draw boundaries. It would have been easier if I’d clarified my role more during the hiring process. If reading through almost all of AAM’s archives has taught me anything, I feel like Alison would suggest a follow-up with your direct boss. “I just want to circle back after that conversation the other day – it sounds like Jane is thinking my position could include more/international travel. Is that something you think might happen down the line? Of course I understand occasionally something may require me to travel a little more in a given month, but I just want to make sure I’m signing on for the general travel schedule we discussed.”

    #846987 Reply

    i have to travel a little bit with my job too and i hate it….but what i can never understand in this day is why don’t most meetings just be held either by teleconference or over the internet (skype, etc)… seems like such a waste of money (plane tickets, hotels) when you can just talk things out over phone/internet

    #847038 Reply

    As someone who has worked remotely from their head office for years I really dislike meeting over phone or Skype. Conference calls are notoriously hard to hear, Skype or other meeting apps often freeze and once the meeting ends a lot of times other important details are hammered out by people who forget you aren’t privy to these casual but crucial conversations. For big projects I believe being there in person for at least part of it is essential. I always come away much better informed and confident from meeting in person.

    #849682 Reply

    Hi everyone, I wanted to thank you all for your initial advice and give you an update. I’ve been in the new job now for several weeks, and unfortunately it does seem to have been a pretty serious bait and switch. Since starting at the company the travel added to the initial schedule given during the hiring process basically puts me on the road, overnight up to 40% of the time. It is way, way more than discussed. Additionally, it’s clear that they really need someone with specific industry knowledge that i don’t have. I’ve been told repeatedly that it’s ok, they understand it will take me years to get up to speed, etc. But I didn’t know coming into the job that I would be lacking in such a broad range of knowledge needed to do the job. I know they tried and really struggled to find someone for the role (they were up front with that), and I suspect that played into both the decision to downplay the travel when I told them it would be a dealbreaker, and bringing in someone without the needed experience.

    I’ve started job searching again, and reached out to a few headhunters I trust to let them know the situation. Luckily my previous positions I held for more than 5 years each, so one jump isn’t going to kill me. I know I’ll find something eventually. But what’s really got me is the emotional part. I’m getting asked constantly by friends and family about the new job. Having to paste on a smile and give a tempered answer is killing me. Dreading work every day because I’m lost, when I came from an industry where I had lots of experience and seniority, is draining. I’m a fairly accomplished professional with multiple degrees and management positions under my belt, and feeling like a total fool is tough. I’m embarrassed. I’m dreading all the interviews, explanations, and quitting here. It’s difficult to even want to do my best work, which is unlike me. This may be the status quo for me for several months until I find something else.

    HR stopped by to ask how things were going and said I could be honest, but I don’t feel like I can be. If I’m brutally honest it would make sense to let me go, as the position is obviously not a fit, but I can’t afford to be unemployed. What does everyone think? Is there anything else I should be doing? Any tips for managing the anxiety and feelings of failure?

    #849685 Reply

    I’m sorry to hear that. My first thought is it’s been a month or less, right? Your first post was on July 3 and you hadn’t started yet, your first day was July 15th, so you’ve been on the job 3, 3.5 weeks? That’s not very long.

    This part, I would NOT worry about: “Additionally, it’s clear that they really need someone with specific industry knowledge that i don’t have. I’ve been told repeatedly that it’s ok, they understand it will take me years to get up to speed, etc.” They knew you didn’t have that knowledge and still believed you were the best fit for the job out of everyone they interviewed. I would believe them that it’s not an issue.

    At ANY job, there’s an adjustment period where you feel unsettled and uncomfortable and insecure. Sure, sometimes the job truly isn’t a good fit, and you find your way out of it. But please be open to the fact that they knew what they wanted when they hired you, and there’s value you can add here. When people ask you how you’re doing, just say it’s a big change and you’re still adjusting. If they ask for details, just say, “eh, I’ll update you when some more time goes by, still just figuring stuff out.”

    Actively deny those feelings of being a failure or not fit for the job. Keep looking for what’s out there, but control your urge to feel desperate and despairing. Do what you can in the new job and learn what you can learn. The worst that can happen (and I don’t think it will) is that they’ll say, you know, this isn’t a good fit, and let you go, and you’ll get Unemployment. Again, that’s the worst case, very unlikely to happen, and if it does you’ll be fine.

    They told you 5 travel days a week, right? Have you sat down with your manager and told her that you’re willing, able, and prepared to be on the road 5 days a week, and does she anticipate it will be more than that?

    #849686 Reply

    *5 days a month I mean.

    #849687 Reply

    40% of the time, would be 8 days a month, right, which is more than 5 days, but not insanely more. Given how hard it was for them to fill this position, I feel like there’s a negotiation you can have after you establish what’s normal and what’s really needed. Some of it maybe your boss or someone else can do. Some of it maybe by video.

    ETA: I would write to Allison at Askamanager and see what she says, because she’s really good at coming up with scripts for talking to your boss. I wrote to her once and she responded quickly. I think you want to have an effective discussion that will limit your travel to 5 days a month / 25%.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by avatar Kate.
    #849694 Reply

    A few observations from someone who can sympathize with what you’re going through, but thinks that you should hold off before making any significant decisions.

    1. I usually say this in terms of internal work assignments, but it applies for jobs too. You’re always picking the least incompetent person. Sometimes it’s someone who already knows what she’s doing. Sometimes it’s someone like you, who is smart and capable but needs to learn the job and sometimes it’s someone legitimately flawed who was the best option. They picked you knowing that you wouldn’t walk in knowing everything.

    2. I totally understand the importance of feeling competent at your job. It’s often a core reason that people find work satisfying – the feeling of spending ten hours a day being good at something and solving problems that others couldn’t. But, you just started this job and it’s not the end of the world if you feel stupid for six or nine months while you figure things out. As I mentioned, they hired you knowing this was the case. The world seems to be be full of people who fuck up constantly and aren’t burdened by it.

    3. I understand how you feel about friends and family. You want to be seen by them as competent and skilled. Maybe you have always been the ambitious and successful one and you don’t want to screw up their image of you. But keep this in mind
    (a) Most people asking about your job don’t really care. They are just asking because it’s something you ask about.
    (b) it’s totally OK to have adjustment periods in a new job and you can tell them that the adjustment is stressful and they’ll just mouth some reassurance about how these things take time. See (a).
    (c) Even if this job turns out to be a legit mistake, plenty of people make mistakes. They will still love and respect you.

    4. Is there a way that you can start addressing your experience/knowledge gaps? Maybe keep a list of the stuff you find yourself wishing you knew, take some time to organize it and approach your boss. Tell her that you find yourself often not having as much knowledge as you would like about these topics. Are there good ways to get up to speed and prepare? I think that in addition to addressing the problem, breaking it out like this will shift it from being a self esteem issue to a practical and solvable problem.

    #849696 Reply

    My mom got a job at Fidelity in her 40s, knowing nothing about finance. My dad has always handled the money, even. She was totally honest with them that she didn’t know a bond from a stock or whatever, and they said it was no problem. They wanted her for her information services and management experience. She ended up taking some finance classes, and after 7 great years at Fidelity she moved on to be Financial Director at a nonprofit she was passionate about.

    You may not even need classes, that’s just an example.

    #849701 Reply

    As someone who travels a lot for work, can I ask, is the travel particularly exhausting or is it just the being away from home part? For me, I found after a while the travel simply becomes part of the routine and I didn’t notice 3 hour flights anymore. But if you want me to drive in traffic for two hours a day to get to your site – I will be cranky as a mofo.

    Are you travelling to the same place over and over? If so, I’ve booked the same hotel for multiple stays and then left a bag in the hotel from week to week and used a small tote to bring home laundry. I even used the dry cleaning service of the hotel to make things easier. Things like a normal sized bottle of shampoo can be oddly comforting.

    As for the industry knowledge – is it an industry you want to learn about? Would becoming knowledgeable in this industry be valuable to you and your career?

    #849745 Reply

    Hi everyone, thank you for the feedback. Kate and Fyodor, you make good points that everyone is the “least incompetent” in the beginning and I need to stop worrying about that part. And
    Kate you’re correct that after a few weeks I’m still adjusting and need to give myself room and time for some of these feelings to change, and I like your script for when I am asked about the new job. As for my knowledge gaps I am definitely doing my best to address them, but it will take time. It’s more on the order of “learn in depth, technical knowledge about multiple topics having to do with teapot engineering, design, and manufacture” than “learn about teapot spouts”, so it will take time. And bringing work home every night was one of the reasons I left my previous position so I’m trying to balance the extra time I spend.

    Mainly what has thrown me has been the evolution from “travel is rare, up to a week a month but not every month” during interviews, to “5 days a month” at the offer stage, to “5 days and occasionally more” after I’d accepted to, now, “8-12 days of the month consistently”. Lisforleslie, I am just not someone who likes to be away from home for work overnight. It isn’t for me, and knowing if the amount had been honestly presented I wouldn’t be here has been tough. I think it’s kicked up anxiety about not being competent and this not being a good fit that I’d otherwise be more calm and objective about. I’m generally a pretty stable, confident, and levelheaded individual, so this has thrown me in a way that I’m just surprised by. I don’t normally obsess over what other people think or doubt my decisions. All this time away from home has been an unexpected and difficult adjustment. Kate, you’re right, the worst case is they can me and I get unemployment and some time off. I did discuss the travel and was told this is an unusually busy period, but given the caginess I don’t really trust it’s going to slow down. Ultimately I think you’re right in that I need to give it some time, look at what else is out there, but also try hard and take the learning and new skills with me the way your mom did. And stop caring what other people may say or how I measure up.

    #849746 Reply

    I think you will be able to have a stronger “why I’m looking” story if you’ve been there months rather than weeks. Everyone knows there’s a ramping up period, and it’s hard to be compelling about why you’re moving on so soon.

    Really try to stop the negative thoughts about how this situation reflects on your competence and value. You don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.

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