should I tell my boss I hate my job?

A reader writes:

I started a new job a few months ago, and at first I was crazy excited about it. I was really looking forward to all the cool things I’d get to work on, the smart people I’d get to meet, and the new things I’d get to learn. Plus, the company I joined is knocking it out of the park in a fiercely competitive, insanely high-tech industry.

Here’s the thing though: now that I’m here, I hate it. I mean absolutely, 100% hate it. I’ve never become so disengaged so fast. In just a few months I’ve gone from eager beaver to completely phoning it in, and that is not the kind of employee I want to be. It is definitely not the employee I’m capable of being; previous colleagues and managers have said that I’m “a rock” and “the best [job title] I’ve ever worked with.” That’s who I thought I would be at this job. Instead I’m a total drag, and I’ve lost all interest in the things we do—things that are, by any objective measure, mind-blowing.

I would love to be able to tell you why I’m so miserable, but therein lies the problem. I don’t understand what’s wrong. And if I don’t understand what’s wrong, there’s no way for me to talk to my manager about it. (I’ve tried, once, with no real success.) Normally I’m really good at getting to the bottom of things and coming up with solutions, but for some reason, I’m completely out to sea on this. All I know is that I’m miserable, I feel completely alone, I have no idea what’s going on, and I don’t believe anyone on my team can help me. I’m not ready to give up but I’m also feeling pretty hopeless.

My boss has been great when I raise specific, actionable issues with him, which I’ve done a couple times now. He moves quickly and the problems get solved. So I know I can rely on him. Unfortunately, this is not a specific, actionable issue. This is just, “this place f***ing sucks, and this job is a huge disappointment, and I’m confused, sad, and frustrated, and there’s no good reason for things to be this way.” I would never go to a manager with something this vague and helpless, but I’m also not comfortable looking him in the eye week after week and saying, “nope, nothing else on my agenda.” What should I do?

I wrote back and asked, “Do you have any gut instinct about what’s making you feel this way? Like if you had to just spit out a guess, does anything come to mind? Or, if nothing does … any chance this is somehow connected to how profoundly awful this last year has been?”

It is very frustrating! The only thing I’ve come up with that really rings true is this: the feeling from the moment I walk in until the moment I leave is that the company is telling me to get bent. I didn’t have a chair my first week, I had to buy my own monitor cables (for my desk at work, not my home office), our training materials are the worst I’ve seen in years and years on the job; all of that I think I could deal with if it weren’t for the kicker, which is that when I ask people for information I can’t possibly know or find on my own, they act like I’m an idiot. Everything is just ten times harder than it needs to be, and nobody is friendly. The whole place just feels downright vicious sometimes.

I’ve wondered too if, as you ask, this might be related to how profoundly awful this last year has been. Maybe I’m just at the end of my rope. Maybe everyone else is too! I’m sure it’s also related to the fact that I relocated for this job. Thank goodness my partner is here; I can’t imagine how much more isolated I’d feel without them.

Whoa — I think your office feeling vicious, no one being friendly, and people acting like you’re an idiot are very, very good reasons to be feeling the way you are! That sounds really horrible.

Bad training materials, a wait for a desk chair — that stuff is annoying but it happens; that’s not something to get too hung up on. But what you’re describing about the people and the culture … of course you’re unhappy there! That sounds truly misery-inducing. (And then combine it with pandemic stress and the fact that you relocated for this job, and I could see it getting very dark very quickly.)

If that’s the case, it’s not really something actionable for your manager — I doubt it’s something he can fix. You might just dislike this particular work culture, and understandably so.

That said, there still could be some value in getting his read on it. You could consider saying something like, “I’m having trouble getting a handle on the culture here — in the past I’ve worked in environments where people were pretty friendly and happy to answer questions. That hasn’t been my experience here so far and I’m wondering if there’s info I’m missing, like that it takes a long time for new people to get assimilated or maybe there’s a better approach for me to use.” Who knows, maybe he’ll have insights that will help.

Beyond that, is there anyone else there who isn’t part of the overall mean culture? It sounds like your boss isn’t, and I wonder if there are others. If you can find even just one or two people to connect with, it could make some of this bearable for a while and maybe even longer term … but it also might not, and I think you’ve got to be realistic about that.

Otherwise … well, I hate to say job search when you just started and when you relocated but that really might be the answer. It sounds like you have good reasons to be deeply unhappy there.

Read an update to this letter here

{ 216 comments… read them below }

  1. LinesInTheSand*

    Because sometimes it needs to be said: Of course you will hate your job if you feel like your employer is actively working against you when you’re trying to do what they hired you for.

    Of. Course.

    I don’t have much to add here other than I’ve been there. Take it easy on yourself.

    The one thing I did that really did help me protect what little sanity I had left was to adopt a “fine, be that way” attitude toward everything work related. Coworker going to passively aggressively delay getting back to me on a question I asked? Fine, be that way, I’m going out for a walk. Company takes a week to provide a piece of equipment I require to do my job? Fine, be that way, I’m not going to try to half ass it until it’s delivered. This doesn’t work everywhere, and you have to pick your battles, but being more emotionally invested in your job and employer than they are in you is a recipe for misery, burnout, and heartbreak as you’re learning.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I’m picturing this on the back of a T-Shirt. It’s been that kind of day.

        1. JC*

          Did exactly that, even recorded my screen freezing and crashing….but still had to work until midnight to complete my tasks (spoiler- there’s nothing life or death in banking that warrants working 16 hours a day, despite what management tell you). Now I’ve left the company and started therapy (and seen posts here) I can see how destructive it was and lack of management support lead to burnout and health issues. I wish I’d realised earlier that some companies just suck and you don’t have to put up with it if you are deeply unhappy.

    1. bluephone*

      Cosigning this. My company is all right but for a while, everyone was having an issue with the company provided laptops glitching multiple times a day, every day. It usually required a restart. I don’t even want to think about the cumulative lost hours. I was getting really frustrated with the whole thing and then I got a point where I was like, “you know what? IT is well aware of the issues. My boss is well aware and understands. So if the company wants to pay me to reboot this laptop 5+ times a day, every 90 minutes–instead of doing my actual job–then fine. That’s what we’ll do.”
      The situation is a lot better now but that change in mindset did help with me not going crazy.

      1. JC*

        I was in this same situation but was expected to still complete my work- just with a 5 hour delay. It caused everything to pile up, and led to huge burnout and frustration. A good workplace culture and management vs a bad one makes the difference in this situation. It’s hard to remain positive when there is a bad culture in the company, and it ends up affecting your mental, physical health and relationships. Leave before that happens.

        1. Ann Nonymous*

          It would help with your sanity and provide useful info to your company and managers if you log every single computer issue you had along with exact times. 10:57 screen froze. 10:58-11:05 made attempts to unfreeze it. 11:06-11:16 had to restart computer and wait for it to reboot. Etc.

          1. JC*

            Just replied to you and my post ended up above under another comment- but yes….did that, didn’t work!

      2. Anonymous Nonprofit Lawyer*

        I’ve been in that same situation but in a professional capacity that has implications for my professional license. Luckily I’m not there anymore and the current place still has an IT issue or two, but is perfectly aware that these issues affect our professional obligations. That makes all the difference.

        1. Anonymous Nonprofit Lawyer*

          Doesn’t mean I don’t still have to find my own work arounds, but at least I know the boss won’t cut my throat that the work around that worked didn’t conform to the system.

      3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        yes, this is what the French call “not being more royalist than the king”, which saying helped me enormously over the years.

      4. TardyTardis*

        This reminds me of the desktop I had with 64k ram (no, not a misprint). Finally got a new one once I showed someone from IT just how long it took for me to open a pdf file. But till then, everyone wondered why I was so slow getting some things done.

    2. Not A Girl Boss*

      Yes, I agree with the attitude take! I actually set a particular coworker’s IM noise to “Let it GOOOOOO” for a few months. The fact was, I just cared way, way more than anyone around me. More than my boss who got paid double what I did to care. I was the only one who cared, no one else cared, and as a result *I* am the one who came off looking like a crazy overzealous psycho for trying soooo hard to just *force* stuff to come in on time even when I wasn’t the person causing the delay.

    3. LinesInTheSand*

      I will also point out that if you’re doing knowledge work, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have to be 100% engaged and productive *all the time* and if you’re in that mindset, any roadblock is going to feel like a personal attack.

      There’s a skill to identifying those times when you really are blocked from doing work and accepting that fact, rather than trying to power through it.

      There’s also a skill in understanding that hour-to-hour or minute-to-minute productivity is far less important than holistically meeting your goals, however that happens. I write code for a living and lately I’ve been aggressively trying to identify all the opportunities I have to work away from my computer. Writing code requires a lot of thinking, and sometimes it’s best to do that with a pen and paper, far away from email and messaging clients. I’m a better person now.

    4. SharonC*

      That’s what I did when I was in that position, too. The problem is that if you don’t actively look for another place where you’ll thrive while half-assing it in a bad fit job, it will really soak into your psyche and demoralize you. Like I kept thinking “I’m so much better than this, why am I wasting my time here”. Until I got fed up and left. My issue then was that I had a string of jobs that started out exciting just like the OP but quickly ended up at this same situation of half-assing and wanting to really excel but feeling held back that I just threw in the towel entirely. I retired from corporate life and now run my own business.

    5. FormerTVGirl*

      Agree 100% on all of this, and I’ve been there too. I eventually left that job (which should have been INCREDIBLE, but had such a terrible, vicious and back-stabbing culture that it was soul-sucking and left me feeling hopeless), but something that helped me in the short-term was caring 10% less about all the things that upset me. Late chair? Care 10% less. Jerk you asked for help rolling his eyes? Care 10% less. It’s a mind trick, sure, and it’s minor — but it just might help. Good luck, OP, I hope you’re able to find something better soon!

      1. Phil*

        Having spent a couple of decades in TV myself I was just wondering how you found such a wonderful, supportive job. Some of the ones I had would give Stalin’s Politburo a run for its money.

    6. Mental Lentil*

      Activate your inner Homer Simpson, who said “Lisa, if you don’t like your job, you don’t go on strike. You just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That’s the American way.”

    7. ChairlessWonder*

      (LW here.) “Of course you will hate your job if you feel like your employer is actively working against you.” Thank you, thank you thank, thank you. It’s helpful just to hear that I’m not crazy, because most days I feel like I am. It’s an almost weekly occurrence now where I learn something new about how the company operates, and I’m like, “is this a joke? Am I being punked right now?” But everyone just carries on like everything is totally normal.

      I am very not good at adopting middle-of-the-road attitudes like what you’re describing, no matter how effective they actually are—I’m either all-in or out the door—but I will definitely put this on my list of coping strategies. It’s just such a bummer because I expected this to be a place where I *could* be emotionally invested, and I think I’m grieving that a little bit. (“Grieve” is too strong a word, but you catch my meaning.)

      1. LinesInTheSand*

        If you are on the more mentally combative end of the spectrum (like me!) think of it as winning a power struggle. Acknowledge that — in this particular respect — your company is the enemy, and your win condition is to regain mental and emotional control over your work life, road block by road block. Watch whatever action/hero fantasy you need to pump yourself up, pretend you’re Cersei Lannister, and go forth and conquer.

        If you don’t already think of everything as a battle, ignore me.

      2. SongbirdT*

        Nope, grief is totally appropriate! You’ve lost something – the idea of what it would be like to work there, your excitement for the role, the future you imagined when you accepted the offer. That’s a legitimate loss! It’s not the same kind of loss that we normally associate grief with, but those grief feelings still happen.

        1. Mimi*

          ALSO wherever you used to live and the social networks you had there. And possibly the job you left to take this one, if you were in a position to do that. Grief is definitely appropriate.

      3. Not A Girl Boss*

        I know *exactly* what you mean by wondering if you’re being punked. This can be such a bad thing because, even though you start out knowing that its banana pants, if you stick around for a few years it can start to feel normal.

        One coping strategy I adopted when working at such a place was to pretend that I was a scientist who suddenly found myself plopped in a bad TV-show alien planet. All of this bizarre behavior was met with a fascinated scientific evaluation and some careful note taking. Sometimes I would even imagine the laugh track in the background as a TV audience watched me discover The Alien Who Thought It Was OK To Demand Email Replies At 3AM. It helped me laugh it off, and it also helped me from internalizing the bad behaviors.

        1. Boadicea*

          That’s hilarious… I’m not LW but I am a scientist and feel incredibly similar to them! I might try this. I’m here to study my company…..

          1. Environmental Compliance*

            Helps to to imagine either David Attenborough or Steve Irwin narrating you through it.

              1. Roy G. Biv*

                I lol’d for real at that – I will be employing Steve-Irwin-is-narrating-mode for the next meeting that makes me want to roll my eyes

        2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Yes – I pretended I was a Sociologist who was observing an undiscovered culture. It helped me so much to be the “disinterested observer taking notes to later turn into my research thesis.

          Yes, I also did the polish ip the resume and “get outta dodge” routine, but the sociologist bit helped me keep my sanity in the mean time.

        3. TardyTardis*

          There were some days I *knew* I was on the set of Please Shoot Me (though it was kind of fun figuring how to change the global language on the printer back to English from French. It was April 1).

      4. Amber Rose*

        No, it’s definitely grief. You built up a lot of excitement and expectations and had them shattered. That’s not just disappointment, that’s loss.

        Some insights on loss that helped me:

        “The most important thing in getting through grief and loss, coming through to the other side, is having hope and having support. Research has shown that grieving people, no matter how acute the loss, who are able to identify some aspect of hopefulness, are able to move through grief with a better outcome. What is a “better outcome”? I think that means with the ability to feel functional, to feel as though you can contribute to the world, that you can feel happiness again, that you can begin new endeavors, and even though you may be left with a scar, you can move forward and not only survive, but thrive, in your life after loss.

        You may be in a place where hope seems hard to reach. But sometimes just hoping that you can get out of the bed today may be enough. You may hope to get out of the grocery store without crying, or hope that tomorrow will be a little bit better than today, or hope that you can get through the next five minutes. Honestly, having that little remnant of hope may get you through it. Without hope, you’d likely find yourself breaking down in the cereal aisle.”

        1. Same boat*

          This last paragraph is so important. I was having virtual happy hour with some former coworkers. A couple of them have lost weight, some have started new hobbies. I said I haven’t don’t anything productive this past year, I have nothing to show and one of them said, “You survived.” (Not just by not dying, but being employed, getting through day by day, not having my entire life fall apart…) That helped put it in perspective. Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is an accomplishment in and of it self. And that’s okay.

      5. Observer*

        It sounds like the “visiting anthropologist” mindset that comes up sometimes might be useful to you.

      6. 30Something*

        I sympathize with you a lot. I had a job where I was hired to be their first ever [job title]. It was a start-up, and I was so excited to roll up my sleeves and put my stamp on the role. However, when I got there, I was barely assigned any work. I was simultaneously told there was no room in project budgets to add my role into project timelines (despite being paid every week to be present) while being badgered by my boss about why I wasn’t doing anything all day.

        I kept being told to “be more proactive” about finding work for myself while having absolutely zero authority over my coworkers. I felt like the office beggar. I would ask all of my colleagues to please share their workloads, as they were all extremely busy, but they were unsure whether they had the power to delegate their work to me and not bothered to try.

        In the end, I quit after six months of twiddling my thumbs doing nothing and having anxiety attacks over the fear of getting fired. I was unemployed for a long time after that, but I was so, so happy to be out of there. It really did a number on my psyche.

      7. Not So NewReader*

        I have to respond to your last sentence about “could be emotionally invested”. This could be a random sentence that really doesn’t amount to a lot OR it could be a life-view.
        I can’t really tell so here goes and FWIW.

        I had one job that meant the world to me. I have mentioned it a few times. I was gutted to realize after a long time that this job was going no where and I meant nothing to these people. How could I have been so blind.
        And I was so mad because I felt betrayed. This went on for a while, then one day I said “WHOA!”. And I started thinking of all the ways *I* contributed to my problem, ignored my problem when I should not have, and I started taking back my own agency/autonomy. Then I started thinking about how *I* let the job mean so much.

        You and your partner made a move for this job. That is a huge commitment!!! Why don’t they realize how you gave up all that you had for THEM? [This is what I’d be saying to myself.] And their way of thanking you is to poorly interact with you and topping it all off you can’t even have a fn chair. The chair becomes symbolic of the overarching problem.

        You let this job mean a lot to you, OP. I hope you understand that YOU are the sincere one here. It’s NOT your fault they were less than sincere with you. OP, KEEP your sincerity, don’t ever let go of that. And definitely don’t let them make you think that being sincere equates to being an idiot. I have worked places like this- if you are sincere you are some kind of jerk. Tell yourself daily, that you are not wrong for being sincere.
        Sincerity is way different than emotional investment. You can be sincere/honest/fair and have zero emotional investment. Let’s say you find a $100 bill on the ground. You think of times in your life where that would have been handy and you sincerely want to find the owner of the bill because of this. You actually intend to donate to charity or something if you can’t find the owner- however it would be nice to find the owner. Notice- sincerely but no big emotional investment.

        The one inroad I see here is the boss keeps asking you if you have anything else to talk about. I have to wonder if he already knows he’s got a tough crew and that they are harsh on newbies or on each other. I think you should take Alison’s advice and ask for tips to fit in with the group or culture. You have nothing left to lose and maybe a one in a million long shot of salvaging this whole situation. The boss seems like the only saving part of this whole story. So go with it? Take that sincerity you have and let it work FOR you.

        I ended up leaving that job I loved so much and vowing never again to get so invested in a place. I can invest in me- I can be a good worker and do an ethical job. I can be sincere. That particular job was very demanding physically, no job has matched it or came close. I had built up some endurance that was useful on other jobs. But I vowed to be emotionally steeled in such a manner that if it came time to move on, then I would simply move on. I bet you can find your own take-aways or keepers from what has happened to you here, OP.

        1. allathian*

          Thank you, I think many people conflate sincerity with emotional investment.

          No job is ever going to love you back, so I quite frankly think that being emotionally invested in any job is basically a recipe for disaster sooner or later. Being sincere in making your best effort, while recognizing that you can’t necessarily fix what’s broken yourself, is another matter entirely.

      8. EngineerMom*

        Oh my gosh! I just finished my second year at current job. It’s automotive and the company based is an Axis Power country. We have expat engineers from said country and it’s been surprisingly lovey working with most of them BUT I spent the last year reporting to a manager (now quit) who was so crazy negative and mean to me publicly that I often thought I was being filmed for a year long episode of punked. Like someone was going to pop out and say HA! Just kidding your boss didn’t really tell you to shut up in front of the customer that was a fake call. Literally until the day he quit I waited to hear it was all a joke. But apparently it wasn’t. It’s only been a few
        Weeks since he quit but I think it will take some time to really recover. Especially from grand boss not stepping in to protect us more.

      9. Dashed*

        I have been thinking about the word grieve used here for a couple of days. It has been helpful for me to see it in this context as I too am going through a similar situation. After several years of looking for a job in my field, I found one! Seemed perfect for me. Pay was far too low, but I was so happy to be back in my field. My husband shortly after was offered a great job in a better location, but he turned it down so I could finally have an opportunity. Two months later, I discovered what this place is really like. I came into the job with such positivity and am now depressed. I realize that I am depressed not only due to my daily experience, but due to the dashed expectations.

  2. anon4this*

    ” I’ve lost all interest in the things we do—things that are, by any objective measure, mind-blowing.”
    What does this mean? I swear I’m thinking portals into other universes sort of thing?
    So…your boss is someone you can rely on? This is your dream job?
    You mentioned “rock star” and other positive adjectives in your previous jobs and obviously that can color your expectations of this one, instead of giving you realistic expectations. If you want to stay, it may be worth looking to see if your company has an EAP, just to see what resources your company have available.
    It doesn’t sound like you hate your boss or actual job duties, so if you really consider your about to leave, maybe talk with your boss first about what your experience has been (I would NOT mention you are planning on leaving). She may have advice for overcoming this, tips for growing a thicker skin, or maybe even reframing this in your head (some author once wrote about showing others the path to kindness when they are cruel and it really stuck with me).
    Good luck.

    1. meteorological spring*

      How could an EAP help? You can ‘grow a thicker skin’ but you can’t grow a desk chair ;)

      1. veronica*

        You can find out if there is something else going on (like pandemic related depression?) in addition to the work culture and get assistance with coping skills and to figure out if you need to move on. I’ve gone through periods of time where I hated my job. It was partially my job and partially displaced frustration from other places in my life. A new job, new city, making new friends is really rough. It’s hard to pull apart the strands and know what makes sense to address first.

      2. Batty Twerp*

        There may be some compartmentalising needed, IF you can get a feel for how things have been in the past, say, three years instead of the sh1tstorm that was 2020. If the company is usually pretty good at providing its staff with office furniture and cabling, your experience might be an unfortunate aberration – stick it in the “these things suck, but they happen” drawer and focus on the attitudes and atmosphere bits, in case *these* are more endemic.

      3. Starbuck*

        True but like many are saying, all the added stresses of living through a pandemic means your fuse is shorter than ever. Issues that wouldn’t phase me at all in a normal year are enraging or depressing now. It’s harder than ever to cut people the slack that I know they need and deserve, because it feels like being asked to give up MY slack to roll with yet another change! Add to this having to do a lot more to express your boundaries to stay safe and sane (no, you can’t come near me / in my office without a mask!) and it’s easy to overreact to things. For me, anyway.

        So the perspective of an outside professional to get a reality check on what feelings are reasonable to act on re: job stuff can help. Along with strategies for mindfulness, coping etc (though what would really help most is extra money and time off, of course).

    2. ChairlessWonder*

      (LW.) “I swear I’m thinking portals into other universes sort of thing?” Close. :) I can’t say what industry we’re in, but I can tell you it’s seriously the stuff dreams are made of. (There’s no hidden meaning there, so don’t waste time parsing that sentence too closely.) The sort of thing children say when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

      It’s been a while since I’ve had a therapist, but I’m seeing one this week. There’s definitely some (natural, normal, totally expected) depression going on here that is making this even more difficult.

      As for talking with my boss, I’ve brought up some of the specific problems/incidents that have led to this feeling. In some cases I think my boss has tried to be understanding, but it’s always come across as weirdly detached and robotic. When we are able to come up with and implement solutions, they’ve all ended up being band-aids. The fundamental problem is beyond my boss’s power to fix, I think, because it’s a whole-company issue.

      1. TiffIf*

        Removed — please don’t try to guess where people work, since most LWs want anonymity. Thank you. – Alison

      2. meyer lemon*

        Some of this does sound like glamour industry weirdness. You can get some strange dynamics built up when there’s a free-floating expectation that everyone should be thrilled to work there and there are thousands of other candidates who would just love to take your place. Employees can be both taken for granted and can get weirdly competitive with one another.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          This happens in professional sports. I’m not talking about the athletes themselves, but all the support staff around keeping the operation going. Once you get below the executive level, these guys often are vastly overworked and underpaid. The expectation is that they are thrilled to be doing this dream job. Often, this expectation is correct.

        2. GreyjoyGardens*

          Have worked in glamour or glamour-adjacent industries and yes, this absolutely is A THING. “You should be grovelingly grateful for this job, because there are thousands of people who would gladly take your place” is the mentality, even if the actual workplace and employees are a box of frogs or a hive of angry bees.

        3. Glitsy Gus*

          Yep, working in entertainment can be the same way. Everyone should be SO Grateful they get to work in this glamorous, glittery industry don’t get it when you talk about how only having Mondays off kinda sucks after a few years. There can be a lot of weird expectations built up and often times the call is coming from inside the house. I fully admit that the pervasive, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” attitude was part of what made me change industries.

      3. Spallanzani*

        I’m glad you’re getting back with a therapist. Your job environment does sound pretty wretched, but when my depression/anxiety flare up, I find myself less able to cope with things that I normally could problem-solve or at least reframe in my head so they’re less draining. The part in your letter where you said you’re normally able to do that, and can’t now, definitely reminds me of myself just before I got formally diagnosed. Either way, best of luck!

      4. But There is a Me in Team*

        “When I ask people for information I can’t possibly know or find on my own, they act like I’m an idiot.”
        This has been my experience at 2 of my last 3 jobs. Sifting through You Tube videos and 7 years of your predecessor’s work on a cluttered, shared drive is NOT training and should NOT be the go to. My theory is we are such a DIY culture now it’s seeping into the workplace. Ring up your own groceries, book your own travel, do your own work orientation. It might be worth directly taking this piece up with your boss, as AAM recommends. In every job you have to take some initiative when you’re new but it seems clear that’s not the problem here. Good luck and don’t guilt yourself if you have to move on.

        1. TechWorker*

          Also some people can be awful about it because they haven’t made the effort to distinguish between (or occasionally don’t even know the difference between) ‘standard tech you can google’ and ‘weird company specific thing that isn’t very well documented’. Luckily I don’t work with many of these folks but they definitely exist.

          1. PT*

            I’ve run into this a lot at work, where they would be like, “Oh you’re an expert you should know this,” and “this” is a custom-built software application only they use, or some weird protocol or preference that only they do that’s wildly out of step with the industry.

            And of course, if you point out that they’re the one that’s out of step with the industry and have the documentation to prove it, of course, it’s your fault not theirs.

            1. MissDisplaced*

              +100 on the “you should know this” mantra.
              Yes, of course I know how to create a PO for something. I just don’t know how you do it HERE (nor do I know how to even get access to the system, which I do not appear to have currently).

              1. Sparkles McFadden*

                Oh boy yes. At the terrible job I quit after a few months, I asked the coworker who was supposed to be training me how I could get access to a messed-up, homegrown set-up for finance information. My coworker’s response? “I didn’t have any problems figuring that out when I started. I guess I’m just naturally more intelligent than you are. I won’t be able to answer any of your questions because I never had to ask any questions.” Then I asked the IT guy and he said “What the hell is that thing? I don’t even know what that is.” It turns out the one user who got actual training from whoever put it in refused to tell anyone how to make new accounts…and she forgot how. I had to log on as an old employee who quit. (I think I know why that employee quit.)

          2. HardlyLovelace*

            I have worked with such people. When I was let go, I was euphoric. This attitude seems rampant in tech and I’m glad I’ve dumped that line of work.

          3. Amaranth*

            People are also stretched pretty thin though, so it could be that they think OP has already been trained in a lot of things being requested – or should have been – and it comes across with too much emphasis and a side of condescension.

        2. Waffle Cone*

          Ohhhh the 7 years of predecessor’s work on a shared drive.. that was triggering. I didn’t realize until just now how completely dysfunctional my first three months at my current job were. Small companies are often like that, no matter how technologically advanced you are – “Here, figure it out! You’re clever!” Ugh. In a much better place now, but I definitely was treading water for a while at the beginning.

      5. I edit everything*

        My kid wanted to be a pizza chef-fire fighter-astronomer when he was a kid, so I’m imagining, like, inter-stellar pizza delivery. I hope this doesn’t break the “don’t try to guess” directive. It’s just kind of a funny image, imagining a real job like my kid dreamed of at one point.

        1. meteorological spring*

          I immediately thought of Rachel Cantor’s book A Highly Unlikely Scenario, or a Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World, about a scifi pizza delivery complaint hotline manager. Mediocre reviews, but how fun is it that there’s a kind of book about that?

        2. Not So NewReader*

          Oh. Drat. I thought OP put frosting on cupcakes… all. day. long. [wistful sigh]

      6. learnedthehardway*

        This sort of thing can sometimes happen when your expectations are very high. I remember telling my grandmother that the job I was offered was going to be perfect and solve everything. She told me to be careful about putting too many expectations on the job. Was she ever right!! Objectively speaking – it was a hive of hornets and the single worst job experience I have ever had (that’s according to friends of mine). Subjectively speaking, I couldn’t see it at first because I was so invested in things working.

        If I were you, I would sit down and set some personal goals – eg. if this industry is your dream industry, perhaps you need to stay with your employer for awhile. That might mean your goal is to do well in your role so that your manager will be a glowing reference for when you leave in 1-2 years. OR, perhaps your goal is to leave asap, in which case your work goal becomes do a good enough job to stay employed and have a reference while you do a job search. Just having a goal like that can get you through the day in a job or company that has been an incredible disappointment.

      7. MissDisplaced*

        “The fundamental problem is beyond my boss’s power to fix, I think, because it’s a whole-company issue.”

        Ooooh…. Yeah. I’ve got that at my company and it is indeed hard to live with the frustration sometimes. It’s not always easy to articulate culture/fit issues as they can be more subjective.
        But you may also learn to live with it, at least within your particular niche.

      8. Happy*

        I suspect that my previous comment was deleted because it listed the name of the company I’m familiar with that would fall under that heading (which I can understand), but my point was really meant to be general:

        Just because a company sounds like something out of a fairy tale doesn’t mean that within the industry it has a reputation as a company with a good culture or one that is a good place to work. Please don’t assume that this is a you problem!

    3. Daffy Duck*

      Yeah, my suggestion is first to get a good physical with bloodwork. I thought my unusual lack of focus and occasional hand tremor were just side effects of the past 4-year political scene and lack of correct eating. Turns out I developed a chronic hormonal condition this past year that should be controllable with medication. We are still working on dosage, but my focus is already better.
      Then see if your work has an EAP. Having someone to help plan a response to work (and other) issues really helps.

      1. ChairlessWonder*

        Fortunately (?) I’m under strict, comprehensive, and frequent medical surveillance (for [reasons]), so I was able to rule this out right away. But I am meeting with a new therapist this week.

  3. AvonLady Barksdale*

    Whoa, ok. I was thinking that maybe you just needed some time off until I got to the whole asking questions thing. That place sounds legitimately terrible.

    I started a new job a few months ago. I was told by EVERYONE that I will have questions and I should ask them. So I do. And no one has ever made me feel silly or stupid for asking. It makes SUCH a positive impact.

    Advice… as Alison says, you could resume your search. But the relocation puts such a huge wrench in all of this. I wonder if maybe you WOULD benefit from some time off– you moved, started a new job, there’s a pandemic… if the move and the job left you no time to decompress, maybe start there. Take a 4-day weekend, at least. Just to walk around your new city and get some space.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Same! I started a new job just over two months ago and everyone is genuinely glad to take time to help me figure stuff out when I don’t know something — because of course I don’t know everything yet! If everyone acted annoyed to hear from me, I would probably not last that long.

      1. Spreadsheets and Books*

        I started a new job going on *two years ago* and I’m still regularly encouraged to ask questions and be inquisitive rather than waste time trying to put things together on my own if I don’t know or can’t remember. My bosses are never upset about getting questions, even if it’s something I should have known. Better to ask than to screw up.

    2. ChairlessWonder*

      (LW.) Ya know, one of the most frustrating details of this experience is that I too was told by EVERYONE that I will have questions and I should ask them. “Be curious!”, they said. “Ask about all of the company’s projects, not just the one you work on!”, they said. And then when I do, I’m either ignored or treated like a bother. One person, when I was asking about something in our company’s infrastructure that was literally impossible for me to know or find out on my own, even came right out and suggested I’m not a self-starter. If I’d had a chair, I would’ve fallen out of it.

      I actually did apply for another job and started interviewing. I was up-front with them about why I was applying for a new job after only a few months at this one. But after a phone screen and the first technical round, I withdrew because I thought I could make my current job work. I’m not sure if that was the right decision.

      1. Archaeopteryx*

        Have you seen other new hires treated this way, or just you? Is it possible people are resentful because they wanted someone else they know for your job / miss a beloved former coworker who had your job / etc? Or are they just illogically rude to everyone?

        The self-starter comment is a good example of something you can “Yes-and” in a friendly way. Like:
        “I guess you’re not much of a self-starter, huh?”
        (Pleasant, unruffled tone) “Oh, was that info somewhere I should’ve seen it already? Where would that be? Is that covered in new hire orientation?” (Or something similar, in a tone of hopefulness that they’ll help you with something you’ve missed.)

        If they have to justify their snark, they may either a) realize/admit that there really was no way you could’ve known that, or at least b) give some excuse for why they think badly of you (even if it’s clearly BS on their part). It may at least give you some data.

        1. Archaeopteryx*

          (As seen in a discussion last week, people who don’t like the ‘mildly confused’ approach tend to assume that some sarcastic/passive-aggressive tone will leak out. But you really can just empty your mind for a second of everything besides “Hey, maybe this person really *does* know something I overlooked, and if so, I’d like to find out so I can fix it” and let that shine through in your response – a response which coincidentally forces them to account for their rudeness, but only seems to do so as a side effect. Think of Margaery Tyrell if you’re a GoT fan – she managed to get what she wanted [to some extent] through genuine warmth and pleasantness.)

          1. Archaeopteryx*

            (The two other positive byproducts of the Margaery Approach are that it’s good for your reputation, and it gives you a psychic boost to be resisting someone’s attempt to upset/embarrass/condescend to you. When someone tried to trip you up and you remain unfazed and positive, it will always feel more high-status than if you show that it gets to you. [And if they really are being a jerk, it can drive them crazy when it doesn’t work!])

          2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

            Yeah, someone didn’t understand on another forum that I was being sarcastic and I accused them of not reading to the end where I’d put “/s” and then they said “actually I saw that but I don’t know what you meant”. We ended up swapping recipes once I’d apologised for being snarky with them!

        2. Elbe*

          Yes, I think that’s a great approach. When there’s a massive discrepancy between what the LW understands to be true (this is impossible for me to know) and what the coworkers think (this is something that the LW would have found out if they had bothered) it would be very helpful to try to get info into what is factoring into that.

          And if the colleague is unable to explain how a “self-starter” would have found out that info… then the LW has successfully illustrated how nasty they’re being. I’m a huge fan of gathering data, even if that data ends up being “Bob is both irrational and a jerk.” These are the type of conversations that can really illustrate a “culture problem” to managers, if they’re inclined to make changes.

      2. The Rural Juror*

        I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, but you seem like you still have a sense of humor about things, which I commend you for. “If I’d had a chair, I would’ve fallen out of it.” HA!

      3. JSPA*

        “Just not psychic.”

        “I’m beginning to wonder if they left a lot of basic information out of my packet, or didn’t give me access to an information system, but until I get some idea of what’s missing, that’s all “unknown knowns.”

        “Self-starting starts with gathering relevant information from reliable sources, like what I’m doing right now.”

        “OK, let’s play the game: if I were self-starting, what better way would there be to find this information that’s not online, not in my onboarding documentation and not on any internal system I can access?”

        1. Elbe*

          I love all of these! If said in good humor, they’re not something that would read as confrontational to most people, but would allow the LW to push back against the unreasonable attitudes they are facing.

      4. Sparkles McFadden*

        I had something similar at a terrible job where I needed a code for a legal form. I asked where the code list was kept and my deliberately unhelpful coworker told me there was no list. I said that this was not something one could figure out (they were company-specific internal codes) so how would I get the code? The coworker said I’d learn them through “experience.” When I asked her what she would use as a code in my situation, she said “I’m not going to do your job for you.”

        I went through my coworker’s desk when she was out sick one day. As I suspected, the code list was in her desk, along with all sorts of reference material I needed that everyone told me didn’t exist.

        Fortunately for me, I found a new job a few months later. This horrible workplace has been scrubbed from my resume. I’d rather explain a seven month gap than have that place listed in my job history.

        1. La Triviata*

          I had something similar come up at my current job, although several years ago. At the time, I had to fill in a check request form which required account codes. (These were incredibly complicated, since there was a different code for expenses for every department – i.e., postage for education would be one code but postage for a different program would be something completely different.) The only printed copy of the codes I had was old and didn’t have the current information. I checked our network drive and that didn’t have an updated list of codes. I tried filling out the form with the codes I had and had it tossed back to me by our accounting person. When I asked her what code I should use, she said that all the codes were in the accounting program … which I didn’t have access to and my boss wouldn’t look up for me. This went on for several days until I was in tears. Eventually, someone produced the code and I was able to get the form done – after making a record of it – but it was an exhausting process.

      5. JJ*

        “If I’d had a chair, I would’ve fallen out of it.” HA!

        Also, I assume “be curious” maybe came from different people than the “omg go away” people you’re presenting your questions to? Could it be that the recruiters are extroverted social types and your officemates are less that way? I wonder if an adjustment in how you talk to people might help them be less awful (which (generously) might be them being awkward?) Maybe sling some compliment sandwiches to try and get the info you need?

      6. Saby*

        Hmm. Considering this is such a “where dreams are made” type job, I wonder if they don’t have a lot of turnover and aren’t used to onboarding people? Like they have a weirdly aggressive attitude about it, but sometimes the gaps in what’s documented don’t show up until a new person starts. Once I started a job and they hadn’t had a new employee in at least three years. I kept on saying stuff like “Oh where can I find that?”, “Where’s the documentation for this so I can read more on it?” and they would be like…. “where can you find that? Uh, good question, we all know already” or “oh…. documentation?….. It’s all in Wakeen’s head….”

        (also no one could remember the corporate process to order new office furniture, so while I had a desk and chair, it took a month before someone bothered to ask an admin in another department how to get me a filing cabinet…)

        Not sure if that’s something you could bring up to your boss, or just something to watch out for the next time there’s a new hire.

      7. Data Analyst*

        I’m so sorry! I left a job a year ago after only being there three months. It was not a “dream” industry or job, but a lot of what you’re describing sounds familiar. I had a chair but it was terrible, and when I asked to swap it, I was given a slightly less terrible one and realized that all the office furniture was like 20 years old and falling apart. Freezing cold building, phone jack didn’t work and nobody would help me and acted like I was weird for not being able to….make the phone jack work? Crazy restrictive internet filters that wouldn’t me look at forums like StackOverflow that I needed for my job…Little things, but it all added up to feeling unwelcome and like I was at a place that did not value employees or want to support them (this was not the main reason I left but it was like at every turn there were examples of why they sucked). I also applied for some jobs, got interviews, and then withdrew because I decided that was crazy. Then had to start the process over again when I decided staying was the crazy thing.

  4. LadyByTheLake*

    This reminds me of a job I relocated for — so much about it was everything I had been looking forward to in a new company and relocation — but I hated it. The company had a ton of problems and was highly disfunctional, but most of the people there were lifers who had drank the Kool-Aid and thought that everything was wonderful and if I didn’t like it, it must be me. I had few friends (relocation), and that made the problems with the job that much worse. What saved me was finding people who also were skeptical about the company, doing what I could do and reminding myself “it’s not me, it’s them”, leveraging the “sexy” job into lots of speaking and writing opportunities, which then enabled me to leave within two years (almost to the day that I wouldn’t have to repay the relocation expenses) to a much better job. I still have the good friends I made there, and I learned a lot, but there was no way I could stay.

    1. Smithy*

      While I didn’t hate the job for the entire time, I also had the experience of getting a “sexy” job with a sexy organization in a sexy city…..and being pretty underwhelmed.

      One feature similar to this letter is that their onboarding materials were miserable, and overtime it became clear that the folks who succeeded somehow where the people when “thrown in the deep end” got instant good results. It didn’t matter that the various deep ends were not the same and those good results were very often as much influenced by external factors as individual good work….that was their method. Basically by taking the results of 2020 along and deciding that Zoom was the best business ever run and Broadway theaters the worst. Maybe true, maybe not….but without accounting for COVID, seems incomplete.

      As LadyByTheLake said, my initial assessment of the place being sexy and helping my resume was absolutely correct. I also made good friends, and provided there are no leaving allowances to pay back – you may even start seeing what other opportunities look like even after just a year.

    2. ChairlessWonder*

      (LW) Your comment is so on the nose, right down to the length of the relocation payback period, that I’m wondering if we’re talking about the same place.

      1. PrincessB*

        I’m pretty sure I know where you work. If so, have you looked at other teams in the company? A team transfer might be the fastest solve.

        1. ChairlessWonder*

          The thought has crossed my mind but I haven’t looked into it. It’s tricky too because when you take the culture out of the picture, me and this job are a match made in heaven.

          1. BRR*

            But unless your job is primarily isolated, I think the culture is clearly important to consider. Culture is huge. I’ve even considered the position of “who you do it with” being more important than “what you do.” I work with wonderful people but the job is only a partial match. I just got an interview invitation and while I desperately want different tasks and more money, I’m also very hesitant about leaving my current role because my last role was with AWFUL people.

            1. ArtsNerd*

              Yup! I’ve had so many “dream” jobs that were “stress dream” or “nightmare” or at least the kind that leave you totally disoriented in the morning. Doesn’t matter how great the work itself is; if you have to sit in toxic fumes all day to do it, you’re in a bad job.

  5. Not A Girl Boss*

    Ohhhh LW, I feel so much for you. I am just… kind of awful at starting new jobs? I always have this horrible meltdown a few months in where I wonder “What have I DONE?!” So I’ll just share, in no particular order, a laundry list of thoughts that have occurred to me over the years during various ‘new job blues’ meltdowns.

    1) Sometimes, I job is just not the right job for you. And its ok to decide that, and course correct ASAP. Not all problems get better with time.
    2) I have a habit of setting impossible expectations. I always think this next job will be the most perfect and amazing and wondrous thing on the universe. I let myself get so excited for it! And then the only possible outcome is disappointment. Even if its a solid A+ job, I was expecting an A++ and so I am disappointed. In reality, all jobs (and all people) are a packaged deal. You have to find the one that has most of your non negotiables, and downsides you can live with.
    3) Culture is really important. In fact, over the years, I have realized that I care WAY more about culture than I do about making cool things, and have tailored my job searchs accordingly. Again, this is a packaged deal thing. There are very, very few companies that are doing cool cutting edge things, and are not run by egomaniacs and staffed by workaholic jerks. At least, in my experience.
    4) It is a real shocker to go from being excellent to being not-great. It reminds me of a far-too-common story that happened to me: I was a straight-A all-the-clubs overachiever in high school. So much of my identity was tied to being a high-performer, and so much of my self worth was tied to being valued by others. Then I got into a really prestigious engineering program for college, and I just… wasn’t special anymore. In fact, I was kind of below average. And that was compounded by the fact that I had no real independent problem solving skills. I was constantly asking other people for help, and they just didn’t really have the bandwidth to help me.
    5) I’m a pretty sensitive and conscientious person. I go out of my way to help other people, to be friendly and welcoming to new coworkers, etc. But not everyone is like that. And that’s not a me thing, that’s a them thing. My first day on a new job, I was introduced to my cubicle mate and she said “I DONT HAVE TIME FOR SMALL TALK” and ran out of the cube without so much as a hello. I definitely cried about that that night, about how mean she was and how no one liked me. But I got to know her, and to learn that actually her job was a stressful hellhole, and that most days she literally didn’t have time for small talk. And now we still talk almost every day, long after I left that job. So I have learned that sometimes, the you’re-an-idiot faces are just kind of a defense mechanism for over-stressed and over-worked people. But also, sometimes, they’re just jerks trying to elevate themselves by putting you down.

    1. CandyCorn*

      This is so helpful to read! I’m definitely going through some “new job blues” and I really needed to hear this perspective! I’ve only switched jobs once before, and it was from something I hated to something much better. I was there for a long time and felt very comfortable, and it’s hard to remember that it’s normal for there to be an adjustment period at my new job.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I actually think an adjustment period can sometimes be a good thing. If I was awesome at a job on day one, I’m probably going to be bored of it very quickly because there’s no growth potential.
        That being said, one particular job I walked into on day one and just KNEW it wasn’t for me. I stuck with it for 3 years, trying different departments and everything, and just… nope. But to be honest, that was more about the culture than the role.

    2. JobHoppin*

      ” I have realized that I care WAY more about culture than I do about making cool things”
      YES! A recent layoff at my job that took away half of my wonderful teammates made me realize I’d be happy reading a phonebook out loud as long as I was on a team of good people. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I did work retail years ago and it was only bearable when I had a team on my side.

      Do you have any tips to suss out culture in interviews?

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        Honestly I really struggle with sussing out culture and my worst fear is always that I’ll miss something and take a job at another toxic dumpster fire. I’d love to hear anyone else’s tips!

        One tactic I use is to be really open about the kind of person I am, and what is important for me to be happy and do well at a company. I’ve definitely had some companies drop me from consideration over this openness, but I view that as a feature not a bug. I think this is also important because what matters most is cultural “fit” which is not always the same for everyone. For example, I’ve worked at places that very much 9-5 a-job-is-just-a-job places, which is great for work-life balance but made me miserable because I am passionate about my work and need to feel like I matter. So I say things like “I need to go home every day feeling like I’ve accomplished something important.” And when asked about my greatest weakness I answer “I’m a very intense person” (and list some ways that can be both a pro and a con).

        I also get a lot of benefit out of getting to interview coworkers. Questions like:
        -What is a typical day like here?
        -What % of your work is fire-fighting vs predictable tasks?
        -Can you tell me about a time you got behind in your work, how did your team react?
        -What is the process for making suggestions? What happens if you raise your hand about something that is making you uncomfortable?
        For managers:
        – “How often do people raise their voices at each other?” and genuine shock/confusion about why that was even a question was really the only acceptable answer.
        -What are some personality traits of employees you work best with, and what are some of your pet peeves?
        -What is your turnover like? Why did the last person leave? What is your safety record? What is your employee engagement score?
        -What is the greatest strength of this company’s culture, and how can that strength sometimes be a weakness?

        1. JobHoppin*

          Thank you so much! This is awesome advice and even helps me think about what I like/hate about my current job.

        2. Hoping For Good Things*

          Those are great questions! These would have been very useful to me two weeks ago but hopefully I gleaned the right information still. Of course everything I noted is because it is an issue at my current job, so who knows if I missed other red flags. Here’s hoping I didn’t. Working in a toxic environment during a global pandemic when the vast majority of my coping methods are on a “do not do” list…has been rough, to say the least.

      2. Smithy*

        Personally, I’ve found the best way to suss out culture is by finding the ways to be less afraid in making the interview a two way street.

        When I’ve interviewed with the aim of “just” getting the job, there are certainly ways I’ve approached the interviews just with the ambition of being more of a people pleaser. When I’ve asked more pressing questions around issues I’ve found important, I’ve given employers more chances to give insight to their culture. I’m in fundraising, and inevitable, our goals around meeting financial targets will always matter in how we’re evaluated and how we experience work. One place I was interviewing talked about their ambitions to have my position increase revenue by 200-300% in 1-2 years. For everything else I knew about about that specific job, that kind of goal was wildly unrealistic.

        I withdrew from the interview process, and received a strong full court press around how preferred a candidate I was, how those numbers were just ‘spitballing’, etc etc. However, for my line of work, how those targets get set are a huge indication of overall culture. How do teams communication and how does information flow up/down?

        Another line of questioning I like is around how bad news is delivered internally and externally. Again, my field is one with potential for regular but benign bad news to be delivered – funding doesn’t come in, or doesn’t come in as high as we’d like. Or a granting program isn’t going well. So a team being able to be open and frank about how that is shared, I’ve found helpful.

    3. Erika22*

      #4 is what I’m dealing with right now! I’ve been in my new role for a year, and I’m still trying to accept I may never be amazing at this job, though in the past I’ve always been the rock star in any job. I’ve been really unhappy in my job lately and I wonder if this is why. It doesn’t fit my skill set as well as I thought it would, and I think I need to find something that does instead of trying to force myself to fit the job.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I think that a superpower can actually be realizing that no one is amazing at everything, and figuring out what you ARE amazing at so that you can do more of it.

        My first job out of collage was at a company that I adored where “the best decision wins” but everyone was rather… blunt. I moved to a management position at a company that was very political, hierarchical, and generally much more sensitive to ‘communication style’. Overnight I went from never thinking about my communication abilities, to feeling so awful about them. I read every leadership book, listened to every leadership podcast, and over-analyzed every single conversation to try to understand why I just could not seem to communicate effectively. I basically turned into a deer-in-headlights afraid to speak for fear of saying the wrong thing. And to be honest, I probably gained a ton of valuable communication skills from that job, so I’m not mad I stuck with it for a year. But I can still remember the overwhelming feeling of relief when I realized, “I might not be a gifted communicator, but there are jobs out there where it won’t be so crucial to success, and they will value me for what I CAN do well.” I went back to being an individual contributor at a company that was used to engineer’s, erm, communication quirks, and never looked back.

    4. ChairlessWonder*

      (LW) 100% on #4. I’ve gone back and forth between being the big fish and being a below-average fish a couple times in my career, and on this occasion I jumped from being a literally certified expert to being a below-average fish struggling to find my niche. For some reason this transition feels so much more painful than the last time I did something similar. I’m trying to believe my boss when they tell me I bring something unique to this team, but it’s blind faith—I just don’t see it.

      1. ThatGirl*

        You probably do bring something unique to the team, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right or perfect fit. I do think it might be worth talking to your boss in general terms about the obstacles you’re running into and ask them how to approach it or what you might be able to change?

      2. Properlike*

        This sparked a question for me: If you’re a “literally certified expert”, I’m picturing your boss announcing that to everyone else, people assuming you’re arrogant, and then trying to make you understand your place. Not for anything you’re done, but from some unspoken weirdness that was there before you were brought on. Was it dysfunctional before, and now that “something unique” is unintentionally the scapegoat? Is that why people are rude? Are they rude to each other in the same way? Is there a “hazing” culture here, and this is part of it — until you’ve met some invisible, unknown criteria and shown you can “take it”, they won’t treat you well?

        It could also be that this place is just one of those dream jobs that turns out to be incredibly dysfunctional behind-the-scenes.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          The hazing culture is a good point. I once went through a lot of awfulness at a new job. Finally I absolutely lost my mind on someone and said (rather loudly, the place went dead quiet) “It’s not my job to make you do your job. Its your job to help me, so, do it.”
          From that day on, everyone was awesome and helpful. Apparently they just wanted to test my boundaries like a bunch of toddlers?

        2. Amaranth*

          Or if they were oversold a bit – or their experience described too vaguely – as an expert, asking for help might seem either lazy or a contradiction.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        Many years ago I decided that I am happiest being a medium fish in a small to medium pond. I get too much enjoyment out of having people above me that are really good at their jobs/industry. I don’t mind leading small groups or projects in decent work environments.

        I arrived at this conclusion because I just had too much life stuff going on that I could not ignore/walk away from. If life had gone differently, I’d probably have a different answer. One good thing to think about is to figure out what is important to you enough to make you forego something else. In a silly example, I decided that I would trade a fancier house for a modest house so I could have time/resources/money for pets. Pets were that important to me. When you think about these trade-offs you are willing to make it becomes clearer what size fish and what size pond.

        1. Sparkles McFadden*

          My ideal work environment is a large workplace with people who are very good at what they do. I love learning new things and would gladly be the small fish to get that kind of exposure to expertise and new ideas.

  6. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I think you’re wrong when you say this isn’t a “specific, actionable item”. There are many things that you can bring up to your boss that would boil down to a list of those.

    – I’m struggling with the training materials that have been provided. I haven’t been able to find answers to A, B, and C and, when I asked Joe about it, I felt like I was bothering him with something that I should have been able to find elsewhere.

    – I found it odd that I had to purchase my own monitor cables. Is there a way I can be reimbursed for that expense? Is that something that happens often?

    – Who should my point person when I have questions about X or Y? I’ve been going to Sue, but I got the impression she may not be the correct person.

    Those are all valid things to bring up with your boss that wouldn’t just be “I hate my job”.

    1. Captain Raymond Holt*

      I agree with a lot of these, but I’d change them to be a bit more direct/assertive. Instead of “I got the impression I should ask Joe” something like “Joe seemed annoyed/frustrated/ignored me/didn’t respond when I asked.” Describe the behavior you saw.
      If the cables were for an in-office desk honestly I’d just ask HOW not IF to get reimbursed. They should be paying for cables you need in the office (and at home too if they expect WFH imho but some companies are weird about that).

      1. NoviceManagerGuy*

        Yes, the company probably has an expense reporting system; ask the person who processes expense reports to show you how to submit one.

      2. Data Bear*

        Also, sit down and give it a think: the people who make you feel like an idiot for asking questions and not just magically knowing: is it *everybody*, or is it a few specific individuals? Which is to say, is this a pervasive cultural problem, or is it a couple people being jerks and having an outsized impact on your view of the workplace? Because the former is hard to solve, but the latter is definitely an actionable item you can bring to your boss and ask to have addressed.

    2. President Porpoise*

      To add to Amy’s points, another specific actionable item is to say something along the lines of “My impression of the company’s overall onboarding process was that it was somewhat haphazard, and there was not a lot of consideration for or mentoring of me as a new employee. It was – and continues to be – difficult to find documents and resources I need to do my job. I imagine that I am not the only person who has had this experience. Can I be involved in any efforts to improve the company’s (or even the department’s!) onboarding and new employee mentoring program?”

      Sometimes the best way to change a culture is to actively engage in it to shift it in the direction you want it to go. It will not be instantaneous, but if you can identify the problem to the right people, and get sufficient stakeholder support, you may be able to make a meaningful positive impact for a lot of people. You may not be the only new employee feeling a bit adrift.

      I hope things get better for you. It’s hard to be in a new place, doing new things, without a lot of support.

      1. Analog*

        I think proactivity and initiative is great, but at the same time I would caution OP against doing this unless they’re pretty sure it’s going to come off well. I was in a very dysfunctional organizational culture, similar to the OP’s description, and I was trying to cope by making positive change in the organization…and it backfired on me bigtime. I got labeled as a troublemaker for even daring to offer suggestions and lead new initiatives, because maintaining status quo turned out to be The Most Important Thing.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          Yeah, I have to second this one. Not every organization is great at improvements and this place …. I wouldn’t be shocked to find out this is one of them.

      2. JobHoppin*

        “Can I be involved in any efforts to improve the company’s (or even the department’s!) onboarding and new employee mentoring program?””

        Ah, workplace emotional labor. Very important to do, but shouldn’t be done by n00bs. This gets you pegged as the documentation person, while usually called a “rock star”, makes you do the work that nobody else wants to do. Make sure you get paid well for it.

    3. Archaeopteryx*

      Yes, your boss may not be able to fix a systemic bad culture, but it *is* their job to make their team somewhere where new hires are able to learn and orient themselves without being made to feel dumb that they’re new and don’t know everything yet. That’s one of your boss’s key duties and the fact that it’s not happening is necessary information for them. If you can be specific – “When I ask people like x, they’ve huffed / rolled their eyes / seemed annoyed”, and give your boss an accurate picture of how much that’s happening, they can and should do everything they can to make it better.

      1. Elbe*

        Yes! Even in dysfunctional workplaces, the dysfunction isn’t spread evenly. Good managers can and will try to shield their team. If Bob knows he’s going to get a lecture from the LW’s manager each time he’s rude, he may at least be civil to the LW for his own benefit, even if he’s a jerk overall.

  7. Elli*

    I’m 5 weeks into a new job that I love, having worked almost 3 years in a job that I felt very similarly about. I feel like a different person. I was carrying so much stress and anxiety and frustration that I was even impacting the people close to me with my soul-crushing attitude. I stuck the job out for as long as I did because I thought I could make changes, instead I took on extra responsibilities for no benefit and became so burned out that by the time I was looking for a new job, my desperation to get out was almost palpable and made my interview anxiety skyrocket. All that to say: if the only way out you can see is you having to make all the changes, don’t count on it working. Figure out what reasonable steps you need to take, do those, and if nothing gets better, don’t drown yourself trying to fix problems that aren’t yours.

  8. Analog*

    OP, I’m just wondering what your interview process for this role was? Were you able to travel on site (since you relocated for the job), or was your interview process 100% remote? Were you able to get a sense of the culture before you took the job, or was the impression of the culture you got during the interview process totally discordant from how it when you started the job?

    1. ChairlessWonder*

      So I actually interviewed twice, for slightly different jobs on the same team, a year apart. Read this as a a testament to how determined I was to work here. The first round of interviews was pre-pandemic and was onsite. I was a finalist but wasn’t selected. The second round was deep pandemic and was phone only, which the recruiter and I discussed briefly and both felt comfortable with, having already done onsites with this team.

      I left every conversation, whether it was in-person or on the phone, with a powerful, renewed determination to be the best I can be at what I do. I’d never felt that way after an interview before. Talking with the folks here during the recruiting process was energizing.

      I have not experienced that feeling once since starting the job. It feels like a bait-and-switch. I have half a mind to go tell the recruiter they should be a used car salesperson. The second I accepted the offer, everything changed. Even the relocation service was a problem, not that relocation is every easy; I’m sympathetic to that, but it was the start of a pattern. Recruiting? Amazing. Actual job? Dumpster fire.

      1. Analog*

        I’m sorry to hear that :(. Out of curiosity, are the same folks that made you feel energized during your interview process the same ones who are being unfriendly and unhelpful to you now that you’re in the role?

      2. KayDeeAye*

        Look, interviewing is tricksy – so many variables, all interacting with each other in oftentimes unexpected ways. It’s just so dang complicated, ChairlessWonder. (Love your name, BTW!)

        Have you ever known anyone who was GREAT during the interviews – intelligent, compatible, flexible, engaged, articulate, etc. – and then they start the job and They. Just. Suck? Well, it can work the opposite way, too, with a company that is fabulous to interview with but then when you start to work for them, They. Just. Suck. That seems to be the case here. Maybe they don’t suck for everyone (though it sounds awful, so I can’t imagine why), but they do for you. Try some of the coping techniques Alison suggested, but in the meantime, start looking for a way out of there.

      3. learnedthehardway*

        It’s not a bad idea to speak with the recruiter, if you are truly unhappy. The recruiter wants you to succeed in the role and wants you to stay. They may be in a position to highlight to management that you are seriously unhappy, in a way that elevates the conversation beyond one individual to look at overall attrition in the position / team.

        Of course, be careful about this – the recruiter will be obliged to talk to management. Only do this if you are willing to have your situation discussed with your manager and probably your grandboss, and the recruitment leader.

      4. Not So NewReader*

        Determination is good, except when it overrides yellow or red flags.
        I know. I have done that myself.
        My new rule of thumb because when I muster a 1000 horsepower of determination on the interview, I am probably going to end up using those 1000 horses every day to get through the job. Something about it seems to go that way. It becomes exhausting.

  9. Elbe*

    “…which is that when I ask people for information I can’t possibly know or find on my own, they act like I’m an idiot”

    I think it would be helpful for the LW to confirm with their boss that there is, in fact, no way for them to answer these questions on their own. Is it something that can be googled? Or, is there a resource that is widely available but the LW doesn’t know about it? Those things would go a long way in explaining why the coworkers seem put out by requests for help.

    If that’s not the case, I think it matters exactly how the coworkers are behaving. If they’re simply not being overly friendly (chatting, going above an beyond to make sure the LW has what is needed, etc.) it’s a different beast from it they’re being overtly rude (rolling their eyes, making mean comments, etc.) Everyone is about at the end of their rope, so I have a lot of sympathy for people not being friendly. But rudeness is a huge issue that the LW absolutely could take to their boss to try to get it resolved.

    1. mf*

      Yeah, I agree. The boss might be able to provide some context if the LW were to say, “I’ve asked questions about how to find X or Y, but every time, I get kind of a weird response.”

      But I suspect that this is a culture issue: every place I’ve worked where people are either overworked or not given the tools they need to do their job (or both), there has tended to be a culture of negativity and defensiveness.

      1. Anonymous for this*

        “every place I’ve worked where people are either overworked or not given the tools they need to do their job (or both), there has tended to be a culture of negativity and defensiveness.”

        This explains so much about my current job situation. I don’t have a lot of job experience so this was very helpful. Thanks for posting.

    2. ChairlessWonder*

      Hi Elbe, LW here. I was being intentionally vague in my letter but trust me when I say the things I couldn’t have known, I couldn’t have known. They are technical configurations that are unique to each company, and weren’t documented in our internal docs. An additional wrinkle: my boss doesn’t know the answer to “is there some way I could’ve known this,” because he’s never done my job before (at this company or any other) and doesn’t know the ins and outs.

      1. Elbe*

        That being the case, I think it may be an issue of culture. If the people answer the questions properly but just aren’t particularly friendly, then I think it may be an issue of stress or overwork. I doubt it’s anything personal about you. If someone is working a ton of hours, having to stop and train a new person probably isn’t what they want to be doing, even if they know it reasonable and expected that you need to be trained. If there are specific people who you go to for answers frequently, you may want to set up regular check-ins or meetings with them. If you allow them to plan their day around these info sessions and give them advanced notice that you’ll need some of their time, they may be more receptive to meeting with you.

        However, if they’re being rude to you, as opposed to just not warm and friendly, then you should definitely bring it up to your boss. Answering your questions seems to be part of their job, and they should be expected to do their job while treating coworkers with respect. A lot of managers would want to know if their employees were being blatantly disrespectful to their team members.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A thought from that — is it possible your coworkers are lacking faith in your boss and transferring it to you?

      3. Amaranth*

        Can your boss facilitate a conversation with the folks you keep going to for answers? Because someone *does* have the answers, right? You might need to have a conversation with them and be direct about how you’re finding it difficult to gel with the rest of the group and wonder if there is something that can be done because you’re really enthusiastic about working here and just need initial help locating resources. You might find that you were hyped up as being an expert and/or beat out a current employee for the job, or there is a weird rumor going around about you being mean to the most beloved admin assistant in the building about a missing chair. There might be other problems with the working environment, but sometimes you have to be direct and clear the air, and if you’re miserable, this might be that time.

    3. WellRed*

      I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone this new in a job to ask questions or expect some on the job training. if there IS a resource, the coworkers should point OP to it. I’m skeptical of the value of google in answering questions at a new job. Frankly, depending on the questions, I’d be annoyed a new hire spent half an hour googling something I could have explained (correctly) in 5 minutes. (I’d hide the annoyance of course).

      1. Elbe*

        It’s not uncommon for new hires to not be aware of resources available to them, which is why I thought that the LW should confirm with their manager that asking these folks is the only means of training. I didn’t expect the LW to spend hours searching the web aimlessly.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      It is a possibility. My company has a HUGE SharePoint site with lots of great information, but a terrible search function. You kind of have to know what you’re searching for first. I typically spend a fair bit of time with new employees showing them where things are or giving them bookmark cheat sheets. There are a lot of people who also just won’t use it and ask others instead. OP’s boss might be like that.

  10. Chilipepper*

    My workplace is also not so friendly. Or they interpret every move by me as antagonistic. One of my coworkers says and does the same things (we are very similar!) and she and I review why they react to me so badly and we don’t come up with much. They seem to have their mind made up about me and that is it. For a variety of reasons, I am not really planning to leave (though I do read the job postings often).

    I handle it following Alison’s advice: by imagining everything as a drama that I am watching. It does not impact me, has nothing to do with me, I imagine I am a Michael Jackson popcorn GIF, I am just watching a movie. It does help me to step back and not feel it so strongly.

  11. TimeTravlR*

    I actually love my job and most of the team (the others I get along with). But right now, it just sucks and I want to quit every day. I am chalking it all up to *everything going on right now* and keep telling myself to bide my time and it will get better. It was great before and will be again. I hope.
    Not saying OP should bide their time but maybe consider that the *stuff* is potentially dragging down people who are otherwise generally happy??

  12. James*

    Ah, this brings back memories!! My job started out that way. I’d ask how to do something, and they’d look at me like I was insane. “We hired you to do this, you should know” came up a few times. Turns out in my case it was just a few people who were REALLY bad at managing–bad enough to drive away at least five other people. Once I got in with a group that included reasonable managers, things improved a lot.

    My first bit of advice: Get out. Any place that is making it this hard to do your job obviously doesn’t value you, your time, or your contributions. I can all but guarantee that if you were to treat them this way you’d be fired, and from the sounds of the company they’d do so in a loud and spectacular fashion. You don’t owe them more respect than they show you.

    My second bit of advice: If you want to stick it out because you enjoy the actual work, find a mentor. Ultimately there are two ways to ensure quality: you can have good policies and procedures, or you can have excellent people. If your company is producing high-quality work, it sounds like they went the second route. Which is fine, but it means you’re going to need someone to show you the ropes because it’s all undocumented. Expect this process to take a year or two. Once you break through and build a team you can trust (or join one), the feeling becomes quite different. You’ll be relied on heavily, and your role will likely expand beyond the strict limitations of your job description. But all of that depends on finding someone to help you get your foot in the door.

    Another thing you can do is ask for more general advice. For example: Don’t say “I need training for teacup painting; where do I find it?” Instead ask “Can you send me a link to the training website? I’ve got some training to do for X project.” It won’t help immediately, but it will help you build a personal library of where to find information you need.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Can so relate James. I was thrown in and expected to sink or swim. Now I’m at the later stage and people come to me for information. Sometimes it’s still frustrating though. My company definitely has a culture of people ignoring requests for information or expecting you’ll just “know.”

  13. CR*

    I once started a job that seemed like everything was fine and good on the outside but from the day I started, it was such a miserable, tense place. Nobody was happy. Nobody was friendly. I was my usual self – the self that had done well at other jobs. But it was like I was constantly being kicked in the face. My manager did nothing to support me or help. I did become friendly with one single person, and she told me that in her four years she had seen 65 people come and go. In a company of maybe 30 people.

    I was let go after a few months with no warning or reason. It ended up being a blessing!

  14. pretzelgirl*

    Personally I would just move on. I know you have’nt been there that long, but sometimes these things happen. Either we get hung up on the glamour of the company or the company paints a different picture in the interview process.

    I worked for a tech company for 1 year. During the interview process it was fantastic. I got a tour of the amazing facility. Got to see the tech they were working on, the recruiter made me feel fantastic. She got me more money than I wanted. Painted the picture of a great company. The company had great benefits, activities during work, seemed like a great fit. But I quickly learned it varied from department to department. My department was awful and toxic. Often overlooked by management bc they were so focused on product development. I was reprimanded for not understanding something very early on, yelled at for being “effing stupid”. Literally completely ignored for things. Once I was left solving a really complex issue that I asked for help on. My co-worker figured it out and didn’t say anything for 4 hours. I was close to tears but it was big issue that I could have gotten written up for. I actually was a laid off, almost a year into the job for them loosing a contract. I actually smiled during the meeting and the HR lady looked at me like I was nuts. Worst experience of my life! What I am trying to say its ok to try something and find out its not for you and then move on!

  15. Rebecca1*

    I am curious, just how far did you relocate for this job? By any chance was it to another country? Is it possible that there are some cultural signals around asking and answering questions that someone is missing?

    1. Jellyfish*

      Oh, that’s a good point! Even within the same country, there can be significant regional differences.

    2. Nanani*

      Oh good point!
      Culture shock is -such- a thing, even when you wouldn’t expect it to be (like, everyone’s speaking the same language, yet the subtext is very different)

    3. ChairlessWonder*

      Oh, great question! Same country, and it’s actually somewhere I’ve lived before. I will add though that this is a new industry for me.

    4. JSPA*

      Came to ask exactly that. Both regional and individual variation exists. How something lands is different from, how it was launched.

      “Respecting your space and making sure not to imply that you’re likely to need anything” = the polite default in one area; “checking in repeatedly” = the polite default in another. Diffident or cool can register as cold or mocking, if you’re used to bubbly or hail-fellow-well-met.

      And of course, if you try to compensate by doing “the way it’s done where I’m from,” you can throw up red flags in your new surroundings. “Person who’s going to ask me if I love their version of the deity, person who will talk my ear off, person who will shame me for being religious, person who will never be warm…” As universally as OP is writing off their office mates, there’s a non-zero chance that this sort of judgement is cutting both ways.

      Also, there’s a freaking pandemic. EVERYTHING is in that context.

      Assuming that ANYONE is going to stop by to be friendly or make contact or do anything face-to-face if it’s not 100% necessary is a way bigger ask than it normally would be; conversely, as task-loaded as everyone is, finding new ways to do everything in work and in life, within the bounds of pandemic, doesn’t give people a lot of bandwidth for “getting the new person up to speed.” Especially if the onboarding materials are crap.

      OP, you have to let the manager know that the onboarding materials, in combination with the very understandable strain your coworkers are under, do not add up to an adequate onboarding. For all you know, there’s someone whose job it used to be who’s no longer there, or a document you never got, that you should have gotten, and nobody but you knows that.

    5. Gertie*

      I’d definitely take this into account. I moved across the country and had major culture shock. I thought everyone must have hated me although I couldn’t think of a reason why. There’s a huge difference in positive and negative politeness. I felt completely invisible for at least a year.

  16. Bex*

    While this job sounds particularly challenging (the hostility!), I also want to bring up a potential parallel line of thought.

    Are these feelings solely related to work? Is it showing in the rest of your life? Relocating, during a pandemic, and integrating with a new group can all be very hard. If possible, perhaps a session or two of talk therapy – you can talk out issues with the job and also tease apart whether there are other factors that might be influencing your thoughts and feelings towards work.

    I don’t say any of the above to invalidate what you’ve said about your workplace – it sounds incredibly difficult and disappointing considering how excited you were. But. It’s been rough for a lot of folks. And taking some time to talk with someone might help you recenter

    1. Not So NewReader*

      You can if you want.
      Probably there are more practical things to say, such as “Job hunt this weekend!!!”

      I do think that people can be vulnerable to thinking the boss hates them and never really figure out if they like or dislike the boss themselves. I think it’s preferable to know where one stands rather than dwelling on, “The boss does not like me.”

  17. M*

    This reminds me how I felt in the previous position in my company. Like the OP described herself, I have always been given really outstanding feedback at work, and I feel proud that I try hard and get results at work. But in my previous department, I felt like no one else was trying their hardest like I was. I definitely don’t think less of that crew of coworkers and I was very friendly with all of them. But, all of our work was in groups, and I’d frequently pull out all the stops to do a really great job on a project, and it felt like no one else wanted to join me. After a while it really got to me, and was part of the motivation to move to a different department. But while I was still there, it definitely affected my opinion of everything else. Even silly stuff like the digital files being really outdated and unorganized reinforced the feeling that I cared about that stuff more than anyone else. It probably wasn’t objectively accurate, but it’s certainly how I felt at the time.

  18. BRR*

    To directly answer, I probably wouldn’t tell your boss a generic you hate your job. Maybe to classify how you feel, the company, both the abstract concept of the company and also its employees, have done an awful job at on boarding a new employee. But I do think you could approach your manager as Alison suggests.

    I’m also curious how difficult you’ve found starting a new job and relocating in the past. I would look at those two things to help get a pulse on how much they might be affecting you (and they might not be affecting you that much at all!).

  19. Tuesday*

    I don’t think this is pandemic-related. It’s too extreme. I think that this is, unfortunately, just an unpleasant place to work. Like Alison said, if there are some nicer coworkers to connect with, that could help a lot, but ultimately, I think planning an exit is the way to go.

  20. Nona*

    I could have written this letter a few years ago. I was aggressively recruited into a position that I relocated for, and that should have been a fanstastic job working on really cool stuff, and I was miserable. My new office (easily the crappiest office for someone at my level) was filthy when I arrived, my desktop computer was ancient, I was told to buy my own laptop (not standard in my field, and I later found out everyone else had company laptops), when I asked how to make out-of-state phone calls I was given a lecture on not making personal international calls to my home country on company time (without being told how I could call head office in another state), I was ignored and isolated, and the overall culture was dismissive and rude. It was awful. You’re not over-reacting OP, working in an environment like that is exhausting and confidence-sapping. What worked for me was establishing projects with people outside my office, making a lateral move to switch who I reported to (a large part of my problem), and befriending someone who started around the time I did who shared similar experiences with me. However, it’s only since we’ve been working from home, and I can just do my work and ignore the BS, that I’ve actually started to really enjoy my job. I also realize now just how bad it was before. Knowing what I know now, and being reminded that I do actually enjoy my job, I realize that if it had continued much longer I should have left. OP, I suggest that you give yourself a certain amount of time to fix it if you can find concrete steps that might help (unless that ship has sailed already), and if you can’t it might be time to move on.

    1. Anonymous for this*

      I came back to say how much this resonated with me, especially the part about establishing projects with people outside my office and organization. Thanks for posting.

  21. Same boat*

    LW I feel this so hard. I took a new job a year ago that was I excited about. It’s been awful. I have always been a high achiever and I feel like a failure at this job. I had to figure out how to set up my own computer. There are files I need for my job that I am not sure even exist. My co-workers say to ask them if I have questions, but when I do they don’t know the answers. I have had to figure out almost everything on my own, and there are a lot of problems with the way they have been doing things. (I was hired to implement best practices, and am in an area where these things aren’t really subjective.) No one respects the new changes I need to have followed and there is no leadership. (Literally – the Director left last summer and the Board appointed the most junior department manager to serve as Interim Director.)

    I feel like I am not doing my best work, nor putting my best effort forward and I don’t want to be that type of person. But there is so much resistance to everything I try to do. It’s exhausting. The only good thing is that because I don’t care, I’m not as personally invested. It’s been good practice at separating my job from my identity. I know it’s not me – the place is broken in every way and the indications are that no one wants to do the incredible amount of hard work it will take to fix things.

    1. Threeve*

      I feel similar. I started a new job a couple months ago, and while nobody is unkind, there also isn’t any kindness. Nobody has made me feel unwelcome, but there has also been no effort to make me feel welcome. The joylessness has been such a culture shock, since I left a very supportive, friendly team at my old job. It would 100% have been a dealbreaker if I’d known when I was interviewing.

      And the place is both physically and digitally a mess. My first day actually in the office “my” desk was home to ancient files and piles of papers that I am not allowed to get rid of. And everyone has just been talking around the elephant in the room, which is that a single person with a 25-year tenure is basically untouchable and won’t allow anything to change. So everyone is just waiting for her to retire. And I see possible and obvious improvements everywhere I turn, but I’m already so exhausted with the “it would be great if we could, but…” that I’ve just given up.

      1. Same boat*

        Yes, they’re not mean people but no one has gone out of their way to make me feel welcomed in any way. I try to be generous in my thinking, giving them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they just don’t have any kindness to give because I know it has been very difficult to work remotely during the past year. (Especially considering they don’t have remote access to our computer network! Which is also a gigantic issue that I’ve been trying to resolve since my first week!)

        My first day in the office, I also had to clean off a desk full of decades old files (and yet the ones I really need are MIA) and a dirty filing cabinet. It’s such a simple thing to make sure someone has a clean desk on day 1 – but not having that sends a very loud message of “we couldn’t be bothered to even make space for you.” At my old job, I made sure the department getting a new hires cleaned the desk and stocked it with basic supplies. (I would literally send them a calendar appointment to do it, then I would go in person to made sure it had been done.) They would also usually give them company swag on day 1 – a tote bag, umbrella, etc.

        1. Threeve*

          I think so too! It was so discouraging. Even a quick pass to like…square off the corners of the piles and make sure there weren’t any old chapsticks in the drawer would have been something. It could be so much worse, I know, but the combination of frosty formality and disorganized mess is making me miserable. I’m planning to stick it out for just a year, I think. Your point about trying to not feel invested is a good one.

  22. Anonymous for this*

    Workplace culture is so important. My experience in my current job is similar to the LWs. I was so happy to join this organization only to become dismayed by the elbows-out, loud voice culture after coming from a world where performance and expertise were valued. The only difference is that I moved to be closer to family and I am close to retirement, so I stuck it out. I have responded by building my own collection of colleagues, mostly outside the organization. But it is not the way I wanted to end my career. I echo the advice of others to look to move on quickly. The kind of environment the LW describes can change you, and not in a good way.

  23. Trilby*

    I just had this happen with me, with a volunteer thing. I work in tech-y things for my job, so volunteered to help with a niche tech-y thing with my volunteer group. The woman leading it (and in charge of instruction) was very unfriendly and honestly mean – she didn’t give me the resources/training I needed and then acted like I was an idiot when I asked questions or messed up. I quit that volunteer group so fast. I’m a high-achiever, I don’t need that nonsense.

  24. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

    “I was really looking forward to all the cool things I’d get to work on, the smart people I’d get to meet, and the new things I’d get to learn. Plus, the company I joined is knocking it out of the park in a fiercely competitive, insanely high-tech industry.”

    Sounds like you may have oversold yourself on the job.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      Ahh, the old, “We want help [no not really]. We like you a lot [when you are standing way over yonder not near us].”

      Nope not going to be able to help these people.

  25. Jennifer C*

    LW: Consider the possibility that things at your job are awful & crappy AND that you’re also suffering from depression. A lot of big life changes (moving, new job, etc) can knock your brain off-kilter even if they’re not all terrible. Depression could be making it impossible for you to deal with the issues at work — which are real & upsetting, but also might be things that you would be capable of handling under different circumstances.

    I suggest just talking to your doctor about the possibility & seeing if she has any insights. If you don’t want to take medication, there are lots of other things your doctor could recommend.

  26. Sparkles McFadden*

    I feel for you, LW. This sounds just like my first post-retirement job. On paper, it was a perfect fit. My boss and Grandboss said all the right things. But…it was the same situation where everyone treated me as if my mere presence was a huge inconvenience for everyone. I, too, had to bring in my own computer cables and set up my workstation. The person who was supposed to train me on certain procedures said “I guess you’ll just have to figure it out.” When I asked for documentation on something specific, I was told there was no documentation and I’d have to “learn from experience.” (I found the documentation I needed in my coworker’s desk when she was out sick.)

    Still, with all of that, I wasn’t sure why I disliked everything to such an enormous degree. My feelings seemed out of proportion with the situation. I had never experienced anything like that before. I even tried talking to my boss, using a script that was quite similar to Alison’s. My boss didn’t actually listen to anything I said and replied “Everyone thinks you’re doing a great job.” I started job searching during my second month there and found another job at the seven month point. I don’t know if I have ever felt a greater sense of relief.

    I think, in my case, that workplace was just an extraordinarily bad fit for me. Maybe it’s the same for you. Give talking to the boss a try (just so you will know you did what you could) and start job searching. I hope you find something better!

    1. Chilipepper*

      Reading your letter has given me some peace. I am struck by how much I am finding it hard to believe that any issues could just be a bad fit. You are clearly intelligent and not new to work and were successful before. If all those things are true, why can’t you fix it? I mean, I know in my head why and I know from reading here why, but I keep feeling that if I say something is a bad fit it means I failed to figure it out. Somehow your letter has given me permission to think this place is not a good fit for me and to just be neutral about it and not judge myself. Thank you internet stranger!

      1. MissDisplaced*

        Sometimes the culture/issues/attitude/workstyle is so endemic within the organization you can’t really do anything to fix it. And your boss can’t either. You may adapt in time if you stay, or you can choose something else where you don’t have to compromise. A bad fit isn’t your fault in these situations. This goes both ways.

        What I do think is that you just need to be thoughtful and reasonable about it. But if you’ve given it a decent chance and still feel strongly it isn’t compatible to how you like to work, and that it isn’t likely to change anytime soon, there is nothing wrong with admitting it and agreeing to an exit strategy. You didn’t fail.

      2. Sparkles McFadden*

        I absolutely understand the feeling of having failed somehow. I can’t tell you how many times I thought “I should be able to make this work” because I had turned sub-par situations around in the past. I tried many approaches, finally landing on an “Embrace the Suck” strategy which started out with me showing up for work wearing a bowling shirt. (I am sure you have guessed this, but it was not a bowling shirt kind of place.) Fortunately, I got another position soon after that. I’m not sure where I would have gone from that point.

        I guarantee you, the failure was not yours.

    2. Observer*

      I read your fuller description above. Why would you think of this as just a bad fit? Your coworker actually LIED to you about information you needed to do your job! That’s not just a mismatch of styles or culture. That’s an actively toxic environment. Anyone who actually acclimates to that kind of thing is going to pay a price.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        I say “bad fit” because everyone who worked there really seemed to think it was a normal workplace. Even someone who was hired about a week before I was thought it was OK to scream at people and call her coworkers stupid. When I asked the boss if he could give me a list of financial codes my coworker wouldn’t provide, he said “I have no idea and if she won’t give you the information, there’s nothing I can do.”

        You can’t change that sort of environment, but some people are completely fine with being in such a place. They were totally content being miserable and yelling at each other all day. I was the odd person out. I was totally fine with not fitting in there because they were miserable people.

  27. Colette*

    I once had a job where one of the other employees decided she didn’t like me, and she was condescending and nasty. Because I am who I am, I found it funny. I mean, it’s one thing if you get to know me and decide you don’t like me, but if you don’t like me as soon as I walk through the door, that’s a you problem.

    But there were other people there who I liked and, although I never totally fit in, I was there 5 years and was happy to be.

    OP, is this only a problem at work? Moving to a new place is hard; if all of life seems harder than it needs to be, it’s worth talking to a doctor/EAP.

    And at work, find people who are willing to answer questions; be pleasant when you’re talking to people; take good notes and put them into a document for the next new-hire; and remember that these ridiculous people don’t get to decide your value. If they treat you like you’re stupid, that’s their problem, not yours, and they have to live with themselves 24/7.

    And if you can’t get out, find something outside of work that lets you feel productive, like a hobby or volunteer work.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      I wonder if people are all just really, really busy? And OP asking questions feels like an intrusion and/or taking away from work that has to get done or else. Which is a problem in and of itself.

      I have times like that. Normally, I’m happy to help people and spend time helping them with whatever. But there are also times I just feel overwhelmed with so many meetings plus my workload and I feel somewhat frustrated for having to spend an hour with the new person even though it’s totally not their fault. This has generally become worse during the pandemic with all the Zoom meetings, so it could be a factor at OP’s company.

      1. Jaydee*

        I wondered the same thing and also if it’s compounded by the low quality training materials. Like if these are things that should be part of training but aren’t, it’s probably frustrating for longer-tenured employees to be taking time away from their work to answer questions of newer employees even if they know the newbie has no other way to get the info.

  28. Voodoo Priestess*

    LW – I’m assuming that given your description of the “stuff dreams are made of” that it’s probably very competitive inside and out. Unfortunately, I totally get where you’re coming from and I don’t think this is a “you” problem vs a culture problem. I had a place that I worked where it took 3 months to get my name on my cubicle, I wasn’t added to email lists and missed important meetings and I was somehow supposed to know what listservs I was supposed to be on. Super competitive, passive aggressive, and I hated.

    One that that helped me was using Alison’s trick of looking at your workplace like it’s a foreign culture (or troop of monkeys) that you’re observing. That makes it easier to take everything less personal.

    Also, this is really about them, not you. Maybe it’s Kool-aid drinkers, maybe it’s hyper-competitive and everyone is insecure. This isn’t a healthy workplace if they’re ignoring/shaming a new person for asking questions.

    Good luck. I hope you can find a fix. I took an internal transfer and it made a world of a difference. If you can transfer, you at least buy yourself more time before having to pay back relocation costs.

  29. Six Degrees of Separation*

    I came from a field where people were intensely collaborative to a place with cubicles where I ate alone most of the time. Oddly, this place had the least turnover of any place I worked. People stayed for 30+ years! I also realized I had gotten used to a dramatic, often toxic environment, and somewhere functional…just seemed off. It was true that people at New Job already had established friend groups, with newcomers taking a long time to acclimate, and to that effect an employee survey was a big wake-up call for HR. There’s now a mentor group and newcomers’ orientation. I wouldn’t want you to be miserable, but I have to tell you sometimes it takes time to feel comfortable in a very professional, bureaucratic workplace. Good luck, OP!

  30. NQ*

    Omg… not much to add, other than I could have written 90% of this letter! My people aren’t generally so bad (unlike my last place), but there are one or two who consider me The Enemy who exists purely to steal resources from them. So at least… you’re not alone.

  31. Forkeater*

    I think if it’s a bad fit, sometimes it’s better to leave sooner rather than later, and get out when you still have your soul and self esteem intact. OP’s job brought back powerful memories of a BigNameplace I worked at over ten years ago, yes everyone knows it and they’re just the *best* in the whole world (well, yeah, actually they are on every measure and you would all know the name). It was horrible from the elevator ride up on the first day – I rode up with a coworker I’d interviewed with and when I said hi, it’s my first day, she just said “I’m not a morning person.” Longest elevator ride ever, and pretty much set the stage for the rest of my eight months there. Anyway, it was such a fabulous and well-known place I was a able to go from analyst there to director someplace else in yes, eight months. OP, hope you can do something similar. I still know and run into lots of people from the place I worked and they really internalize the atmosphere and get very serious and humorless and down on themselves. No thanks.

    1. MissDisplaced*

      Mm. I don’t disagree if you see the people are truly veering towards mostly the nasty side or you got stuck with a horrible boss. But if it’s just one or two people, I think you can stick it out a bit longer. It’s not easy though! Some issues don’t raise their ugly head until you’re a few months in.

  32. Amethystmoon*


    A few things as someone who’s been on the opposite side of this. Had a new-coworker who a. didn’t take very good notes during training, b. asked me to write up some help documentation (I did because my coworker was correct that the existing documentation had shortcomings), and c. constantly asked me things that I had already covered in the help documentation, even more than 2 years into the job, even when there was a table of contents provided, and it had been e-mailed to said co-worker multiple times. Not to mention, the questions were repeated even 3 years into the job.

    Is it possible the company has a SharePoint or some group drive, someplace where there are documents stored but perhaps you were not given the link? Maybe check with your boss or a coworker who hasn’t been mean, or just go to your computer and do a ctrl + F on the group drive, and see if anything pops up that you have access to. If you see something pop up but don’t have access, point out that you haven’t been given access to all the relevant information yet and request it from IT or whoever provides that.

    Consider using your notes and make yourself a frequently asked questions document. Put into it the answers that your coworkers or boss provide you. Review it from time to time. If anything, it’ll help you and it may help another new person as well. I have seen poorly written documentation, and well-written documentation. There is indeed a difference. Maybe consider taking on the task of re-writing the existing documentation to be more thorough and with better explanations.

    Also, some jobs are just tough to understand and have tons of things to remember. People should not expect new people to remember literally everything less than a few months into the job. At the very least, they should grant you 6 months just for the process of learning the job.

    1. James*

      “Consider using your notes and make yourself a frequently asked questions document. Put into it the answers that your coworkers or boss provide you. Review it from time to time.”

      So much this!!!! When I started doing this is when I transitioned from feeling like I was trying to swim with my hands tied and my feet in concrete, to actually succeeding in my job! I do not go anywhere at work without my notebook where I have this stuff (I’m old-school, I like to hand-write things).

      One thing I did for new folks (we’re constantly bringing internal staff in on short-term job assignments; it’s the nature of the field) was to put together a binder of information they need. It has the SOPs, the formal project instructions, the informal “Here’s what you actually need to know” instructions, where key landmarks are, etc. Basically the goal is that any one of them could do 90% of my job with that packet in hand. This helps in a few ways. Most obviously it helps my crews, because they have the information and can function better because of it. It also helps me because I 1) know where all this stuff is, and 2) have actually read this stuff, which is something remarkably few people do. It also gives me a solid framework for dealing with change. Technically this was the responsibility of someone a bit further up the ladder than me, so it also showed that I was ambitious and willing to take on extra work to help the project and program.

      The biggest errors I have made in the last few years are directly caused by me not writing things down in that documentation. I think “I don’t need to write this down, I’ll remember it”–and then I screw something up and get a phone call from my boss chewing me out because I left out a critical step and now the whole thing is in danger of going sideways. When I do write it down, I both remember it better, and have that documentation to fall back on.

  33. Van Wilder*

    I would also consider asking your boss about his read on the culture. Is leadership aware that there is an underlying current of hostility? Do they care? Are they doing anything about it? It might be illuminating to get your boss’s read. You could ask those questions in a nicer way, like…

    “I’m having trouble adjusting to the culture here. I’m getting the sense that it’s a bit more on the competitive/individualistic end of the spectrum; could you give me your read?”
    “What’s the company’s vision for culture as we continue to expand?” (or something)

  34. The Starsong Princess*

    A few years ago, I sent a survey to my team asking what they needed to be happier at work. Once of my team replied “a chair”. Unbeknownst to me (I worked out of a different office), her chair disappeared a few months before. She mostly stood to work but she also wanted a chair. She said mentioned it to me and I told her to get another one but I didn’t remember that. The thing is, at our company, all you had to do was fill in an online form and whatever – a chair, monitor cables etc. would appear within 24 hours. She didn’t need me to do anything for her but she didn’t know that. Anyway, I apologized to her because I should have solved this or at least known about it and walked her through the form. Presto, she had a new chair that afternoon.

  35. Isabel Archer*

    LW, you are depressed:
    “I’ve lost all interest in the things we do”
    “All I know is that I’m miserable”
    “I feel completely alone, and I don’t believe anyone[…]can help me.”
    “I’m also feeling pretty hopeless.”

    Your new company does sound like it’s full of asshats, and the relocation might have caused some buyer’s remorse even if the job was everything you’d dreamed it would be. But that list above is textbook depression, especially when all of your behavior is the opposite of how you usually behave. Please see if your employer has an employee assistance program to help you find a therapist. Good luck and take care.

    1. Tangerina Warbleworth*

      I came here to say exactly that.
      I’ve bitched on this website before about awful, nasty, ableist coworkers who decided to hate me before I even started my job, because I wasn’t who theywanted for the job. The one thing that helped was psychotherapy. Just being able to talk about it with a neutral person is very, very helpful. So, yes, please see if your employer has an EAP and use it. This is not weakness. This is basic self-care in the face of rotten people.
      And yes, try to find a normal person — likely in different department — that you can at least share pleasantries with. It may take time, but I can tell you from experience that FINALLY finding a person who didn’t take “Good morning!” as personal insult and deliberate waste of their time, it was marvelous.

  36. MissDisplaced*

    Sometimes you can like the work you’re doing, but the culture of the place is frustrating and poor fit.
    And that can be really hard to put into actionable items to address. Because things are just the way they are there, and unfortunately bringing up subjective intangibles like that only make one sound like a complainer. You may get used to the culture and carve out your own niche in time, but if you’re really miserable, it might not get better with time.

    I’ve been with my company 3 years (also tech company). While I like doing the actual work I do, I find the culture extremely frustrating. I know it will never get fixed because that’s just how it is there. Whenever new managers come in, it’s like they try to fix it, but unfortunately they only make things worse.

    >It’s very big and very slow to make decisions.
    >It heavily favors one side of the business but not others.
    >If you’re in one of the sides not favored… no one ever understands what you do and they treat you like you’re an idiot because they don’t understand it (even if you do understand it very well) and you’ll just end up in a circle trying to explain yourself constantly.
    >People don’t read, or take time to understand. And there are tons of internal meetings just trying to get people to understand.
    >Everything is designed to STOP you from getting your work done and make it 3 times more difficult to do the simplest of tasks, such as creating a PO.
    >The job has a lot of ambiguity… no one says what they want, but heaven forbid if you don’t do what they want as if you were a mind reader.
    >There is a lot of “jumping on whatever is the flavor of the moment” instead of actually planning.
    >Very risk adverse to new anything: whether ideas, designs or processes.

    I came from smaller companies where there was much more autonomy to make my own decisions within my own area so this kind of atmosphere drives me batty. Still, I do well enough there in my area. I only wish I could actually GET more accomplished without all the internal time wasting that goes on.

    I don’t think you’re crazy OP. But you will have to make an assessment as to whether this is a passing thing you think will get better in 6-8 months once you settle in more, or if you really can’t see that happening. Based on some of what you’ve said, it seems like there are a lot of onboarding process issues (which are annoying, but fixable). As for mean people… well it’s hard to tell. I have a subjective, creative kind of job that requires I ask a lot of questions to find out what people want. One person actually got mad at me for asking these questions and said I was supposed to be the expert and why was I asking what they wanted (really mean, cause I’m not a mind reader and I’d be dammed either way). So, it’s kind of hit or miss with that kind of attitude, but if you see it a lot and from everyone, the place might not be your style ever. Still, I think you probably owe it a little more time, like at least a year.

  37. JJ*

    Sometimes when I have an impossible client, I just get as much info as I can and then just do something to put in front of them, whatever my recommendation is based on whatever info I could get. Seeing what I made can often spur them into giving me the details I need (Oh, you didn’t include X, Y, and Z things that I never mentioned? Oh, we actually don’t do it the way you have, we do it this way) and get things unstuck. Plus I’m “doing something” so even if it’s destined for the trash, you can’t not call me a self-starter.

    Any way you can adapt something like that to your situation? Maybe find a productive way to bring your onboarding issues to the boss + some ideas on how to solve them?

    And I know this is a high level of difficulty, but could you reframe people’s rudeness as something humorous, or turn it into helping you anyway? Like, “Oh you didn’t know X, why are you asking me you non-self-starter” “Ha, well can’t start the car without the keys, can you help me find them?”

    If all else fails just tattoo this on your brain as your new mantra: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  38. Boof*

    Oh my, based on what you describe, the problem is that the job is providing no training or support. I realize you didn’t get into it much but just the initial frustration with prior rave reviews, then the comment that everything is 10x harder; it’s not you. It’s that they are making everything 10x harder for no reason. At least, that’s what it sounds like. When you are assigned something, do you have a clear idea how to do it? If not, how do they expect you to know what to do? Were you trained, or did you have prior experience doing this exact thing? If not, someone should be available to walk you though any given task at least once, unless it’s totally new.
    Can you ask to get a mentor or trainer to be your go to resource for “it will take me 2 hrs to figure out this thing or a 2 minute conversation with someone who is willing to tell me” issues?

  39. CheeseWhizzies*

    I really feel for you, LW. My job sounds very similar to yours. Everything is unnecessarily difficult. Even getting coffee from the kitchen is A Process. Finding the information I need can take hours. I don’t even have a pension plan because I can’t figure out how to set it up and our HR department is a computer program. Because most of our services are automated, there’s no one to talk to when something breaks. For example, I got an email that all of my macros had been deleted for security reasons, but there’s no one I can talk to about it.

    Your reaction to the situation you’re in is completely normal. That kind of needless frustration, day in and day out, is exhausting and demoralizing.

    1. Same Boat*

      I relate the coffee thing. When I first when to the office of my current (and crappy job), I was trying to find basic office supplies. File folders, a staple remover, high lighters, etc. There were about 10 manila folders total. I have since come to realize there are no file folders because apparently, I am the only one who keeps files! WTF.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        Maybe they have a green imitative like my company and are trying to get everyone to stop printing? It’s not going down well with everyone.

        1. Same Boat*

          That’s definitely not the reason. Maybe for some departments that could be the case, but considering they didn’t have any IT systems in place when I started, I’m don’t think it’s that they’ve made a conscious effort to be green. It’s more like they don’t keep anything. (I have been searching for personnel files – digital or physical – for months and there are none.)

  40. Jane*

    Your post really resonated with me. At the beginning of 2020 I landed a great job – I felt like finally all my hard work was paying off and I was on the verge of achieving meaningful success. Unfortunately I hated the job and like you I struggled to articulate why. It wasn’t one big thing that made the job suck – it was lots of little things. From the teams culture & the awful depressing building we worked in, to feeling frustrated and bored with the work and even external stuff in my personal life. It was a truly miserable experience and it look a huge toll on my mental health. I forced myself to stick it out until the end of my 12 month contract because I didn’t want to be a ‘quitter’. But in hindsight I don’t think it was worth it. Any benefits I might have gained from seeing it through until the end where far outweighed by the damage that was done to my reputation, my mental health and my relationships.

  41. Keener*

    This sounds so frustrating. To help you weather the storm I’d suggest giving Betting on You by Laurie Ruettimann a read. Alison had a post about the book on Jan 14, 2021. I’ll reply with a link to the post. Once thing that the author encourages is “professional detatchment”. Professional detachment — the act of pausing, reflecting, and treating your job like a puzzle to solve instead of an extension of your identity.

  42. Raida*

    does the company have an Employee Assistance Program (EAS)? They are fantastic for being able to literally say “this sucks I don’t know why fpfpfppdpththt… Help.”
    They *can* include sessions with therapists paid for, non-work-related help, personal budgeting, stress, career changes.
    IF they have one, us it. Just talking out loud to someone who’s job is literally listening to staff experiencing hardships can be great, and they’re the expert at options available.

    Other than that – I’d say you do have another meeting with your manager, but be clear “I started with no chair. I bought my own cables. People aren’t open, friendly, helpful and even worse talk down to me when I ask for their advice – they’re the subject matter expert, I’m supposed to ask them. I feel like this office is an oppressive environment I need to escape, I’ve never felt this before and I honestly don’t know what I can do to make impactful changes.
    Have you ever dealt with the feeling your workplace is toxic before?”

  43. Nonprofit Lifer*

    With the hostile people… it might be useful to literally write a list of all of the people who act like this and see if they have anything in common. Are they all in the same department or the same clique?

    When I came into my current job there was one coworker who really loathed me and was friends with several other people in my department. Their hostility made my job miserable and at the time I thought all of them were hostile to me. The worst offender ended up leaving, partly because my boss called them out of needing to be civil to me, and then suddenly the others were a lot easier around me, and I got to be good friends with them eventually. The office climate changed dramatically, from feeling like I was bracing for a knife to stick into my back to one of the warmest, most supportive workplaces I’ve ever been part of.

    My point is, you might discover that the real hostility is only coming from a few people, or that there’s a single ringleader. If that’s the case solving the problem might be feasible, or it might be easier to change your own mindset when you know it’s just one person’s problem. Or you could figure out a way to avoid them or transfer to where they won’t interact with you.

  44. Formerly Clueless*

    I’ll second the recommendation to check in with your boss! At a former place of work, the “you’re an idiot response” was pretty common for my entire department for over a year. It turned out we weren’t being included on an important email distribution list.

  45. Cathie from Canada*

    I’m not sure if this is going to be helpful, but when I was in the situation where I was hugely stressed at work but couldn’t leave because my family depended on my paycheque and there were no other employers to turn to, I talked to my doctor and started taking anti-depressants – Zoloft.
    The workplace craziness didn’t really get any better, but I did — I just didn’t care as much anymore about all the things that had annoyed me, I slept better, I was able to leave work and enjoy my evenings without obsessing about the next day. All in all, the antidepressants helped me achieve a work-life balance that I couldn’t find on my own.
    So it might be worthwhile to talk to a doctor about your stress levels, maybe trying an anti-depressant on a trial basis, six weeks or so, to see if it helps.

  46. PspspspspspsKitty*

    Uhg LW, I feel ya. I made a recent move during the pandemic. My new job, while it’s much better than the place I came from, kinda sucks too. I ended up getting a Therapist because I realize that I had non-stop anxiety. She helped me a lot, but now I just noticed why things are dysfunctional. The lack of training, the lack of policies/documents to refer to for help, and my coworker’s crappy shift pass off is adding to the misery. I took a night shift job because I have a chance to move up. They know my set and skills really well. I haven’t used any of my skills and I’m constantly fire fighting all the time. My job isn’t what I thought it would be.

    It helps me to reflect on why I feel this way and how to reframe it. I have asked questions and a couple of people act like it’s stupid, but rest of my department is willing to help. My coworker who does pass offs to everyone is just a sucky coworker who treats everyone like this. Even though my skills aren’t being used, I try my best to support the 1st shift coworkers. The pandemic stress means I need to take a few vacation days more often than not. The lack of training and policies is something my department is aware of and is trying to work on it. I feel burnt out and that’s okay, I will take care of myself. The question is, if you reframe it, do you still want to work with the dysfunctional parts? If not, find a new job. If so, work with your therapist and create action plans. :)

  47. cncx*

    not excusing the coworkers but i know sometimes when onboarding is chaotic, there are always people (admin assistants, usually) who wind up doing most of the day to day onboarding in addition to their normal jobs because HR and management didn’t; or, in my case, i had a new user who was not only not onboarded at all, but also given wrong information by HR that every single computer problem she had was up to me to steward like i was her secretary even when it wasn’t my department. So I’ve been in jobs like that where i was the employee who needed help and couldn’t get it and in jobs where i was the employee acting annoyed and put out for being asked to do stuff that should have been done by their manager or HR. 99 percent of the time that is when i got or gave attitude.

    That said OP needs to go IMO

    1. Chas*

      I’m currently in a position like this- my boss isn’t here because of Covid and all the onboarding processes are different now, so I had to handle a lot more of it that I usually would for a new staff member who started a couple of weeks ago, plus a new student was starting her project today (Which had extra Covid-related problems as we have to keep a limit on how many people we can have in the lab at once) and we have a meeting with some commercial sponsors coming up on Friday that my boss needs me to scramble and assemble data for (because he told them the new person would have results to show them by now, but in reality that was never going to happen so he’s pushing me to show some barely-related data instead to save face.)

      As a result of all this, I must admit that I’ve grimaced/eyerolled a couple of times when someone called for my attention today (albeit while facing AWAY from them, and making sure I smiled when I turned to face them). Not that I’m saying it’s appropiate behaviour and if it’s happening consistently to OP then it’s absolutely not okay. But there are times when stress manifests as being rude to other people. (Though, again, if everyone is stressed all the time, that’s also another reason to get out.)

  48. N. Parker*

    A similar situation happened to me too: seemingly interesting job, friendly culture, fun environment. But it was totally different when I got there and I thought I was the crazy one.

    At some point I took to heart the quote by Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” My job had shown me – way beyond a first time – who they were, and I left. Took me longer than I had hoped, but it was the right move. It’s been almost 2 years and I’m still so thankful at my current position. Good luck to you!

  49. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    This sounds a lot like my older son’s first job out of college. He had a pretty impressive resume for a fresh college grad, and got an offer from a Silicon Valley startup (for more money than I was then making after 20+ years in the field). A company that was in the final stages of developing a new tech product, and about to go public. He had high expectations for the place. Heck, we all did. People were asking me when I’d relocate to be near both my son, and all the cool jobs.

    He quit after a year, and while he’s worked for startups since, he never had another office 9-5 job in a medium-sized company. The job turned out to be the usual corporate mix of boring busywork and office politics. (The manager who hired him was promoted after a few months of my son starting there, then promoted again, then fired. The company called an all-hands meeting to explain the firing – something I’d never seen a workplace do, but okay – and told the employees that the former boss had been fired for being too hands-off. Then in the next sentence they said he was too hands-on. The usual corporate stuff.) Which, even though it’s the MO of most companies I’ve worked at, came as a blow to my son because of the high expectations he’d had of that company. I wonder if it’s the gap between the expectations and the reality that is adding to the feeling of OP 100% hating their job.

    I’m reluctant to say that OP needs to go ASAP, because the place doesn’t sound all that different from a usual corporate swamp. Because the place has a good reputation in the industry, I am thinking it would be great to stick it out for like a year?, and then start looking, and use the experience of working at Sexy Popular Company as a selling point to OP’s next employer. I’d try these things before I started looking:

    1) Is there anyone in the office that OP can have a good and trusting working relationship with? IME, even at a place where 90% of my coworkers are hostile/backstabbing, there’s the 10% you can trust, and that 10% can stick together to work on their careers.
    2) What everyone else said about having a talk with the boss.

  50. BusyBee*

    OP, thank you so much for writing this. I’m going through something really similar and it absolutely sucks, so I have all the camaraderie for your situation, but unfortunately no advice. In my case it was an internal transfer, but very similar experience: I went from being a top performer to being treated like a complete idiot. My boss gives me tasks that are similar to things I’ve done before, but I lack basic info needed to complete them, and when I ask for that info the reaction is that I’m inept. Add a culture of rudeness on top of that, and it’s pretty much the perfect storm.

    I hope things get better for you soon, even if you end up having to find a new role. I really am rooting for you, friend!

  51. agnes*

    I’d like to share something I’ve observed in our own workplace–often the higher your expectations are coming in, the harder reality hits. The LW is using some language that suggests they had some very high expectations of this job and this company. Its why I cringe whenever I hear an interviewee talk about how this job is their “dream job.” They don’t know enough about the job or about us to know if it’s a dream job. I don’t know if our company and the reality of the job can live up to those kinds of expectations.

    There are also real issues here–the workplace culture sounds challenging at best. I wish the LW well and just want to put in a plug for managing expectations up front.

  52. CM*

    OP, get out, get out.
    I can already see you blaming yourself for a toxic culture — for people denying you basic respect and courtesy and you’re like, “I don’t understand, I really care, I’m trying really hard, maybe I can try harder somehow?”
    It’s not you, it’s them!
    It will be terribly inconvenient and uncomfortable but please, get out, because the longer you stay in a situation where you’re not valued, the more you convince yourself that you can get through it if you just try harder. And that is so damaging.

  53. SassyAccountant*

    THIS! I left a contract job 9 months in for this very reason. My desk was shoved up against someone else’s cubicle, no one talked, no one was friendly, you try to ask for clarification or help and you definitely were made to feel like an idiot. There were times where if my husband was a business trip I could go days without actually using my voice. The systems they used were almost 30 years old and difficult and confusing to use. Because of this you had to rely heavily on overly complicated excel spreadsheets. If you hadn’t said it was a tech business I would have sworn it was the same company. I feel your exact pain and if you can leave, leave. It won’t get better.

  54. moneypenny*

    I’ll never begrudge anyone for moving on from an unwelcome, unhappy work environment. I love my company, I want to stay with it through retirement, but my office is categorically unfriendly. It was part of an acquisition where everyone already knows each other and it’s so hard to break into any kind of circle. Working at home has been a huge relief from that, but the idea of going back eventually puts a pit in my stomach. Therefore, I’m looking around for remote work throughout the country and have an interview soon. It’s just not worth spending so much time of your life in an environment that is not nice.

  55. RebelwithMouseyHair*

    I get the impression, OP that this was a dream job? Getting knocked off its pedestal can hurt badly!
    Perhaps, since the company is being so successful, the employees are letting it go to their heads a bit, so as the noob you have to really prove yourself “worthy” of working at such a place?
    I would certainly let the manager know that the others are not being helpful, and that the training manuals are not helpful either, because this kind of thing will impact productivity and ability to meet deadlines.
    If someone acts like you’re stupid for needing to ask a question, ask them how you were supposed to know, is it in some manual they forgot to give you?

  56. boop the first*

    It’s so strange how something can look like a puzzle when you’re deep in it, but from the outside, the problem becomes so clear.

    This isn’t advice, I just wanted to say I think I get where you’re coming from. My last workplace started out feeling like I had a guiding light, and then it was snuffed out and I was alone with the big boss who “didn’t have time” to train me and I just had to “figure it out”. This was “skilled” work, where you only have one chance to do it correctly and if you don’t, the boss blows up. Also, he was a micromanager in the most useless way. I learned later that he just actually had no idea how his own products worked, but for months, I genuinely thought that I really was an “unskilled” person, and that I’d genuinely reached the limit of my capacity sooner than I thought, that I really was so worthless that anything above packing salads or working a checkout stand was simply beyond my intelligence.

    Turns out it wasn’t my fault at all, and this situation is certainly not yours.

  57. PunkRock Product Owner*

    Your post really resonated with me today – I’m struggling too. After moving into a role in my new to me desired field, I was assigned a new manager. Day 2 I was told, “I don’t think you are a good fit and had I interviewed you, it would have gone very differently”. This continued in this vein for an entire month.

    I’ve been assigned Sisyphian tasks (impossible to succeed) and essentially told that I’m looking at a PIP after my first 30 days with them as my manager; I’ve had open and honest conversations in the hopes of improving the relationship, and…while some things are admittedly mistakes on my part, it’s hard to operate with a target on your back.

    The only way out is through. There is absolutely NO shame in saying “this isn’t a good fit for me for reasons”.

  58. RB*

    I started a new job once, where it was absolute hell and the only thing that made it bearable was that there was another person in my department who was hired on the same day as me and we would commiserate together about how awful everyone was. Then, three months later he got laid off and I didn’t have any work buddies, but by then I could see that people were starting to warm toward me. I mean, it was just the tiniest glimmer of warming but I could see it happening. I had also started to make a couple friends in an adjacent department, and they confirmed that it wasn’t just me, that this group treated everyone new that way.

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