update from the reader whose new job was sending her work before she’d started

Remember the reader whose new job was sending her almost daily emails with research tasks to complete — before she had started the job? Here’s her update.

As it turns out, I should have seen this as a warning sign. Although the company overall has great opportunities, it seems I landed in a role that they were having difficulty keeping filled. They had an individual before me accept the postition and not return after a couple days and another person did not show up on day 1. This made them approach me in a way that was very aggressive (continuing to question my commitment) and so it felt like I was paying for the poor history instead of them addressing why this was happening. Chances are the other individuals were also turned off by their method.

I left a job of many years to join this company. When I arrived, I saw why this was happening. The Ops manager that I was working directly under had anger management issues and chose to handle stressful situations in a very unprofessional way. Since he was the person who was training me on most of my projects and systems, I noticed there was very little direction given and I identified a number of errors in their data within weeks. Being in a medical arena, little errors are a big deal. When I brought it to their attention, it was all of a sudden explained why loose estimates are accepted. As I was in a compliance role, I did not feel comfortable with the way that this had been set up. (Mistakes by other departments cause him to explode, but when I find a mistake directly under his watch, it’s ok and I can follow the same directive…hmmmm.) Poor training leads to errors and he did not like when I questioned why something did not match.

All in all, this should have been a warning sign. They had a high rate of turnover in this role, especially when compared to the company as a whole. Most employees had been there 10+ years, but this position was 4+ people in 2 years. In my first few days, I noticed a lot of other employees giving me the “wonder how long this one will last” vibe.

Their effort to get me to start working on projects before I officially started is still a mystery. Perhaps they thought if they locked me in, I would have a stronger sense of commitment? Hard to say. Bottom line is they had questions about how to make this position work and keep someone long term. Their questioning me should have made me question them too. I’m a good catch, but if I’m brought in to audit information, that’s what I’m going to do. The manager did not seem to like being questioned and in turn we were not a good match and had completely different styles of how to be effective.

It did not work out in the end at that company, but I have found a position that I am very happy in and have learned from this experience.

Good luck to anyone out there in the middle of a job search – I know it’s not easy.

{ 18 comments… read them below }

  1. Steve G*

    Wow, its a shame you left a job to work there. Also, its a shame that one person thwarted your efforts. Wasn’t there a change to do the compliance work by working sideways in the organization?

  2. ChristineSW*

    Wow. This department sounds incredibly dysfunctional. I had a somewhat similar experience with one of my receptionist jobs; not the part about being contacted daily prior to starting, but that it was a high-turnover position, largely because the manager was extremely intense. Very happy you got out of that situation–believe me, I know how much of a relief that is.

  3. Ruffingit*

    That is really sad. People with anger issues who are in positions of power always create trouble. And yet, those who are in a position to do something about those people never do it. It really says something when a person accepts a job and then doesn’t show up after a couple of days and when someone quits before day 1 as well as having that much turnover. That speaks to serious dysfunction. I worked at a place like that (7 people in the same position within two years, one of whom left the job after running an errand for the firm. He ran the errand and kept on running) and they always blame the employee when in fact it’s poor management.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      Or, to borrow from an earlier post from today, people in power with anger issues can be really crumby.

    2. Jessa*

      Yeh one person cutting and running is a person, a bunch of them is a management problem. Seriously. That or a huge hiring issue which is still a management problem. If you’re losing people like water in a sieve, then you’ve got a problem that does NOT reside in the workers.

  4. Best Left Unsent*

    Ugh. Glad to hear you got out of this one intact!

    And I wish more employers would take a harder look at the staff they have in place before trying to address turnover issues externally.

    1. Also Kara*

      Yeah, I know no one likes to be called on their stuff, but if people at the company stay there a decade or more but people in that particular role are leaving within days and the role is regularly empty, that’s a company problem. Own it, examine it, fix it.

  5. Miss Displaced*

    Ugh! How horrible!
    You would think by now that HR would get a clue that the problem is in large part the The Ops manager. Gee, what a concept!

  6. MrsG*

    This sounds exactly like what happened to me in a temp job I just quit. I should have known when, in the interview, they didn’t ask me any questions, they just aggressively (almost yelling) told me what I was NOT going to do and how I was NOT going to behave.

    I don’t think I’ll be taking another job without thinking about it just because I’m desperate, especially after being told that they had gone through 10 secretaries in 5 years.

    I’m sorry this happened to you. It’s a good learning experience at least.

    1. Ruffingit*

      UGH MrsG, that is terrible what happened to you as well. There are some really bizarre people out there. Yelling at you about what you were not going to do and how you were not going to behave? Weird times 10. How long did you last there?

      1. MrsG*

        I was there for 5 months. The first week I was there my only coworker kept telling me during training that I wouldn’t be able to do this job, despite having 3 years of experience. I only met my boss 3 times I think, and she was very hard to work with.

        They made me a job offer 2 months after my contract was supposed to end, and then rescinded it 3 days later because of my performance (they had a fit any time I messed up naming a document according to their detailed naming system, which I swear changed every day and was based on my coworker’s opinions and interpretations of what a document was).

        I quit after they took the job offer back. My friends and family were telling me all the time that it sounded like they didn’t want anyone there, and I tried, but I really think that was ultimately what is wrong there. The company wants to put someone in the office, but they don’t want anyone.

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