bad job vs. possibly unstable new company

A reader writes:

I took a job that I am not well suited for, but have done just satisfactorily elsewhere in the past. But personality conflict with my manager and my resistance to working hours that would eliminate any work / life balance ended up leading to my demotion.

I’m concerned that I’ve been irreparably labeled at this company. I am fairly uncomfortable there. I’ve had a successful phone interview with another company and my interview with the hiring manager is Monday. This position would be a much better fit for me, but the economy has been tough for a while and although this new company (it’s a large company) has remained pretty successful, they had some salaried layoffs a year ago and could always end up facing more if the weak economy drags on (especially weak in my region).

I’m a strong match for the new position and its culture and I interview pretty well, so I think I have a good chance of getting an offer. Do you think I’d be better off pursuing the new opportunity or riding things out in my current situation until we have a stronger, more stable economy?

I’d say pursue the new position. You’re in a job where (a) you aren’t well-suited for the work, (b) you have a personality conflict with your manager, (c) you disagree about the number of hours you should work, and (d) you’ve already been demoted. This situation is not good. In fact, not only should you pursue the position you’re interviewing for, but you should likely conduct a full-scale job search.

While the new company had lay-offs a year ago, your current situation is so precarious that it’s certainly no better than a company with lay-offs a year ago and may in fact be worse. Of course, do your due diligence on this new company; do research into and ask about their financial outlook and so forth. And if the information you find doesn’t make you confident, you may want to look at other options instead. But by all means, actively work to leave your current position.

{ 4 comments… read them below }

  1. Evil HR Lady*

    Excellent advice (as always!). And as someone who has been involved with laying off literally thousands of people, I can tell you that even if a company is doing extremely well a particular function or division may be laid off.

    I tell you this just so you won’t get frozen in the “what ifs.” layoffs can happen anywhere at any time. If this job is a good fit, go for it.

  2. The Engineer*

    Good heavens. Move already! Liking your job is of almost incalculable worth.

    At the same time, prepare for a layoff/termination, even a willing job change is going to cost you financially and one of them is going to happen eventually. Plan for it.

  3. Anonymous*

    I agree with AAM – you need to be doing a full scale job search. You’ve been demoted and it seems your situation is not improving. My guess is the next move will be a termination. Don’t put your eggs all in one basket though. Go to this interview, wow them, but continue to look and best of luck!

  4. Todd Rhoad*

    Definitely move on. While organizations change almost every year, your file is permanent. As for layoffs, they happen everywhere. In fact, most happen when companies are doing well, not when they are doing poorly. Research from the 1990’s indicated that about 84% of layoffs were done during profitable years. So you’re always at risk.

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