My new job sucks, how soon can I quit?
Your job sucks but you don’t want to quit because you feel like the short tenure on your resume will look bad. Do you fear explaining your short job history in your next interview? Do you think your resume will reflect poorly? This week I answer the question “my job sucks, how soon is too soon to quit?” This past week, I received an email asking these very questions. I hear these questions regularly enough I thought it was worth posting my thoughts. Below is the original email with no edits with the author’s permission of course. (Check the first sentence.) The names have been omitted to protect the innocent.
YO HR NASTY!!
Your blog has impacted my career significantly. I am thankful that there is no BS in all your advice, and that you offer it whether it is painful or jolly. Which is why your point of view is important to me. I’m hoping you could offer me advice. I recently graduated college and took up a job as an administrative assistant at a prestigious firm in California where I support 2 partners and 2 directors. I have been in my current position for about 7 months and I am very unhappy. I like my co-workers. I just do not like my team members. And my boss is horrible. She is the sister of a leading partner of the firm and gets away with yelling at us. She has no sense of privacy and tells everyone her complaints about our team. I could go on and on. But I won’t. Point is, my unhappiness is deeply affecting my work. I have no motivation to excel because of the terrible work environment. I avoid my boss at all costs, and only talk to her when necessary. I’ve tried reminding myself that in comparison the rest of the world my life is really not that bad. About a third of the world is worse off than me (yet somehow manage to be happy!). But damn. As much as I try to look at the positives – I just can’t because I’m not respected as a professional. Is it too soon to start looking for a new job? I know 7 months is hardly any experience but I don’t see myself here for much longer. Should I suck it up and stay put for at least a year? Does that even make a difference? As a recruiter, what does one year at a job translate to? I know I will have to get creative when asked why I am looking for a new job at interviews. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Below is my answer and hopefully it provides the business reasons behind the mentality.
Thanks for the support of the blog and I am really sorry you are in this situation. There is nothing worse than signing up for a gig and finding out you just got the old “bait and switch”. The person that interviewed us was Dr. Jekyll and the person we report to is the evil Mr. Hyde. FWIW, you are not alone.
- We have all attended a college class, loved the professor on day one and then 2 weeks later dropped out because we couldn’t stand the tyrant.
- A lot of us have gone on a first date thinking we found our Mr. or Mrs. Right, only to find they were lying, cheating and stealing mistakes.
And of course,
- A lot of us have interviewed with what we thought was a nice manager, only to find out that they are a better interviewer than a manager.
Don’t worry, you are not alone, the key is to do something about it.
If this were any other HR post, I would say:
- Try to get along with your hiring manager.
- Take them out to coffee and find a personal connection with them, it is hard to yell and be abusive when two people have a personal connection.
- And the classic, if you are not able to get along with this manager, you probably won’t be able to get along with a future manager.
That is not how I roll. The job sucks and it isn’t or fault. I read the email and it was plain as day: Founder-driven company and all of the neurosis that comes along with it.
So, to answer your question. GET OUT! GET THE F*** OUT! GET OUT NOW AND DON’T LOOK BACK. Could I have been more clear? Want me to tell you how I really feel? GETTTT OUTTTT! The job sucks and you are not going to change the culture.
X, here is the deal. No judge pounded the gavel and gave you 2 to 20. There is no timeline on how long your sentence lasts with Acme Publishing’s disruptive manager. The gold watch comes at the 30-year retirement, not at the one year anniversary. There isn’t anything worth waiting for. Skip the 1-year milestone and don’t feel like you are going to miss out on the cheap grocery store cake and card signed by the entire department, “wishing you many more”.
If you wait a year, you will be in such a crappy mood, mentally and emotionally that anyone you interview with will not see the self-sacrificing girl who has the heart stick it out. Nice guys finish last and nice girls don’t go to the prom. If you start interviewing in a year, the next hiring manager will see emotional baggage of someone getting out of an abusive relationship. You may think you can wear a smile, but you won’t realize your bitterness is showing through. Even if you do hide it, you will go down the rabbit hole when any of the following interviewing questions are asked:
- Tell me about your last manager? What didn’t you like?
- What will your last manager say about you when we call them up for a reference?
- What do you look for in a manager?
We want to start applying immediately, ASAP. Your timeline is “turn up the gas and move em’ out “now”. Run Forrest Run! Picture Michelle Jeneke, super positive, smiling and running like the wind. Who wouldn’t want to hire her attitude?
At the interview here is what we want to do and what we want to avoid.
Despite the fact that your current job sucks, we need to go into the interview with big smiles. You want to be the picture of happy-go-lucky. We need to look like it will take a real ass hole to get us to quit our job. We want to exude that positive attitude you mentioned.
We know we will be asked why we are leaving our last company after only 8 months. Just be very polite repeat after me:
“When I applied I thought it was going to be a great career move, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I like the people I work with, I love the product, and still hang out with the team, but the culture was disruptive and abusive”.
We are not going to roll our neck, we are not going to wave our hands about in a dramatic jazz hands fashion, and we will not let out any deep sighs of exasperation. I have seen this scenario a number of times and this is the last person I want to send to the hiring manager or the VP of the department for an interview.
When the interviewer asks us to go into details, we decline politely. We do not go into the gore or name any individual names. No one wants to go on a date with someone just getting out of a bad personal relationship and no one wants to hire a bitter employee.
“I want to work for a place and have a long-term career. I want to be at a place a long time and be supported so I can be great at the job”.
A little naive sounding yes, but we want to be positive and matter of fact. The interviewer will continue to dig into why the job sucks and we can diplomatically reveal:
“The culture was abusive and management publicly yelled at employees on a regular basis”.
This is all we let out, we do not go into details we do not give examples.
Don’t worry about the time line. At 7 months, you gave the managers plenty of time. This of your time in dog years. You sound very rational and if we explain the above situation without emotion, diplomatically, and avoid blaming anyone, then no one will fault you. If you can remain calm without getting flustered, no one can blame you for taking the initiative to get out. As soon as we start raising our voice, or getting emotional, the interviewer will assume that we were the trigger for the rude manager behavior.
We want to give the impression that we have moved on. We do not want to be the bitter girl who is still hung up on the boy who treated her like dirt. No one wants to hear anything like that on a first date and either does your next manager during the interview.
Let me know if you have any questions, and read here how to resign from your current employer with style and grace, (a.k.a. without burning bridges) here.
See you at the after party,
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.