my new job isn’t what I was promised — can I quit?

A reader writes:

I recently finished my second week at a new job, and I absolutely hate it.

It was sold to me as an editorial writing role, and it’s turned out to be essentially admin and data entry, with most of my time spent on the phone trying to get information from people who don’t even pick up half the time. I’m already working into the evenings and weekends to get things done to the very tight timelines, and because I’m at the mercy of third parties, there’s not much I can do to manage my time better. I know it’s normal to be stressed about a new job, but I really don’t think this one is a good fit for me.

The salary is higher than my last position, but the title is much more junior and less aligned with my long-term career goals. Is it better, from both an etiquette and a resume perspective, to quit now and leave it off my resume, hoping to find another position quickly and let people assume I took some time off between jobs? Or should I stick around longer, and then have to include it and explain why I left after, for example, three months?

Even though I hate the work, I also feel bad quitting so soon when they waited through my notice period at my previous job and they have planned out my (packed!) work schedule for the next few months already. I’ve considered saying when I talk to my manager that I’d be willing to stay on until they find a replacement, but honestly I just want to be out the door ASAP.

I’d talk to my manager before formally resigning anyway, but so far it’s been difficult to raise concerns because she’s so busy and is always rushing or postponing our meetings, and also because I’m on the phone to suppliers most of the day. I’m also conscious that I raised both of those concerns (workload and the nature of the work) during the interview process, and both my manager and the MD assured me it wouldn’t be … well, exactly the way it is.

Should I just be grateful to have a job and wait to see if it gets better as I settle in, even though right now that thought fills me with dread? Or should I cut my losses fast?

You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today. Head over there to read it.

Posted in Uncategorized

{ 140 comments… read them below }

  1. Marny*

    I had a very similar situation where I knew almost immediately that I hated my new job. However, I also needed the paycheck and health insurance. I stayed at the bad job while applying for new ones and left the current job off my resume to prevent questions about it. It wound up taking a long time to find something new, so once I hit 9 months or so at my bad job, I put it on my resume so that the unemployment gap went away. When asked why I was leaving, I simply said that the duties didn’t match what I’d been told but at least it looked like I’d given the job a fighting chance. The 9 months sucked a lot, but at least I could pay my rent.

    1. introverted af*

      Yeah, personally even with my husband also working fulltime, my risk tolerance is low enough that I wouldn’t want to leave without something lined up.

    2. Mona Lisa Vito*

      I was in the same boat once and it took me six months in the position before I was able to find a new role. It sucks so much when you’re in it, I absolutely feel for the OP. I didn’t have anyone give me push back when I said in interviews, “I was told the job would be X but they’re really looking for Y” – I think for the most part people understand.

    3. Monkey Fracas Jr.*

      I’m in this position now. I’ve been at my current job for 7 months, and I’m just now admitting to myself that things aren’t going to change and I need to start looking. I saw someone on twitter describe job hunting as “one of the worst parts of being alive,” and I agree. But I suppose it has to be done. My current job is my “pandemic desperation job” that I finally found over a year after being laid off of my last job, so it wasn’t a perfect fit from day 1. I’m thankful for the paycheck and the health insurance, but my job is making me pretty unhappy.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        The reason job searching is the worst part of being alive is that as job seekers, we’re held accountable for things that are either not our fault or none of the prospective employer’s business…but pushback means we don’t get the job.

        1. Yet another job seeker*

          Yes, exactly this!

          Also I am so tired of being judged in interviews by people who were fortunate enough to get hired into a good workplace with reasonable management 20 + years ago. I just wasn’t that lucky / didn’t have the right connections. A little bad luck doesn’t mean I have a bad work ethic.

          1. Aitch Arr*

            “A little bad luck doesn’t mean I have a bad work ethic.”

            Exactly! Nor does losing one’s job during a pandemic.

            I am frequently reminding hiring managers that despite this hot market, a lot of people were laid off in 2020 and 2021.

    4. generic_username*

      Yeah, if LW is in the position that they can leave financially, then they would be able to devote full-time to the job search, but as the old adage goes: it’s much easier to find a job when you already have one.

    5. No name this time*

      It’s hard when duties and hours specified before hiring are misrepresented. I was contacted by a company that saw my resume on line; I had been doing a specialized function which is subject to government regulation requiring timely and constant tracking and has severe comsequences for poor or no compliance. The manager at this place responsible for doing it (and her temp help) had a poor understanding of the myriad of regulations and court decisions and there were mistakes and failures to be cleaned up; the necessary tracking was being done manually The company where I had most experience was in the same business and similar size. In my interviews I was careful to note that my former company used X software to track the workload and produce required correspondence effciently which freed me up to manage problem cases and conduct training to many company locations. I was assured that when I was hired I would be able to select software to handle the tracking and routine correspondence, so I took the job. I was reporting to the manager who formerly did the job. When I gave her the software options and costs (around $35k per year) for the kind of product needed, she said that the budget only had enough for Y software, a product that was little more than an Excel spreadsheet meant for really small businesses, not the 5,000+ employees we had. It’s tracking capabilities were minimal and it produced no correspondence. It went downhill from there. I hung on for seven months, beecoming very depressed, but I needed a job to support myself and for health insurance. When they let me go, it was a relief.

      OP, get your resume out there. When you get interviews, if they ask why you are leaving , you can say that the nature of the work and the excess hours neeed for the job were misrepresent to you when you were hired. When I was stuck in the same situation six years ago, the job market was different; there were limited openings. Understand that you hold the power now.

    6. Purely Allegorical*

      I am in this exact situation right now. Been here 5 months and I hate it. The job is wildly different than what they promised in the interview, as are the hours (calls literally 11pm-2am to match overseas offices). But I need the paycheck and I’m worried it’s gonna take a few more months before a new job pans out. Sigh. Solidarity.

      1. MCMonkeyBean*

        Wooowww, they’ve got overseas hours and they didn’t tell you that up front? That is wild, what an easy way to make themselves have to repeat the hiring process several times!

    7. The Other Dawn*

      I went through this same situation in 2014. My previous company closed so I needed a job, and an industry acquaintance had an opening for something similar to what I was doing, although it was focused in one area rather than me being Jill-of-All-Trades. I took the job, thinking it would be fine. OMG, this was the worst possible fit for me. Everything from the job, to the company, to the manager (especially the manager…). After a few weeks I was looking for another job. It took me about nine months to finally get an offer and I was gone from that awful job by month ten. I told the hiring manager that I was looking to go back to one specific area and that the one I was currently in just wasn’t a good fit at all, even though it was adjacent to what he was hiring for. After I’d been there a few months I told my new manager the truth, and since he knew my old manager from industry conferences, he totally got it as to why I couldn’t stay there. Her true self tends to show itself at these conferences–she’s THAT person who always in the front row, asking a million questions while others want to move on to a new topic.

    8. I'd Prefer Not To (Do Admin Work)*

      Oof. This is precisely what I am going through. Despite what the news sources report, it’s rough out there on the job market. My current position isn’t BAD per say, and I’ve been making the most of it, but it was misrepresented to me and is definitely a mismatch for me in the long term. Thankfully I have some awesome coworkers, but there has also been a mass exodus of quality people in the last 6 months (read: most people are paid pennies here, including myself.)

      I’ve interviewed with a few places over the past 3-4 months without much success. I am decent in interviews, but you never know who else they are talking to who might be more qualified. I would never quit without something lined up unless it was a super abusive situation.

  2. Omnivalent*

    The comment about being grateful to have a job makes me wonder if the OP is getting dad-gumption-advice sort of pushback. It’s 2022, let’s once and for all leave behind the idea that an employer paying for our labor is doing us a giant favor that we should be grateful for.

    I hope that the OP is able to work this out with her boss and that it isn’t the giant bait and switch it seems to have been.

    1. stillanon*

      Grateful to have a job isn’t the same as grateful for ‘that’ job. Even in 2022 it’s ok to be glad to know how your bills are getting paid.

      1. Michelle Smith*

        I respectfully disagree. I think it’s a travesty that people in my country are stuck in jobs they hate/toxic work environments to survive. I think it’s okay not to be grateful for the conditions we’re in and to wish quitting a horrible job didn’t mean loss of health insurance and potential homelessness.

        1. Mimi*

          It’s okay to not be grateful, but it’s also okay to be grateful for a bad situation if the alternative is worse.

            1. MCMonkeyBean*

              The *immediate* alternative if you don’t already have another job lined up is literally always “not getting paid.”

        2. Loulou*

          Sure, nobody is talking about being grateful for horrible conditions. OP is not dealing with horrible conditions, they’re dealing with job tasks that are different than what they expected.

          Also, there’s a huge difference between being told to “just be grateful” and feeling grateful on your own steam. When my union president told members we should “just be grateful we have our jobs” when we raised workplace safety issues, I saw red. But when I personally feel frustrated by work (not talking about safety issues) it does help to remind myself that I’m fortunate to make a living wage in a tight field.

          1. generic_username*

            100%. Being told to be grateful when you raise a complaint is diminishing/dismissing you and your feelings/expectations/etc. Telling yourself you should feel grateful is a way to be a resilient person who isn’t miserable in their life (and doesn’t preclude you from looking to change your circumstances!).

              1. WI Mom*

                I had a similar experience when the new employer promised one thing in the interview and after I started, I discovered they lied to get me in the door. The extra hours took my away from my children and included a 60+ minute commute one way. (Location was also different than promised.) They also had an expectation to mingle after work which would keep me away from my family even longer. I lasted a few weeks and gave my “today” notice. “Today is my last day.” I packed up my stuff and walked out. It felt great and I never regretted it. I had nothing lined up but I was sure my family and my mental health was worth more. I discovered that employers who are willing to exploit you do not care about you. You are a number and replaceable.

                I landed a new job within a few weeks.

            1. Fikly*

              Actually, telling yourself you should feel grateful is incredibly harmful, because if you don’t feel that way, you are now adding self blame and guilt over not feeling how you are telling yourself how you should feel to whatever toxic or terrible situation you are in.

              If you feel grateful naturally, that’s fine as a coping mechanism, but otherwise, no, whatever way you feel is valid and don’t impose on yourself that you should feel differently.

              Being resilient means you get back up and continue to function. It has nothing to do with your emotional state.

          2. Your Local Password Resetter*

            The job conditions do seem pretty bad though. They have short deadlines and are responsible for results that they can’t actually deliver on their own without constantly leaning on people they have no authority over. And then they have to work lots of overtime.
            There are worse jobs, but this isn’t exactly a good one.

      2. Loulou*

        Seriously. Maybe “grateful” isn’t exactly the right word, but I put a very high value on having a reliable salary and benefits and it isn’t easy to find a new job in my field. So if I started a new job and hated it, I would not leave before finding a new job. If I said I was “grateful to have a job,” what I’d really mean is “I highly value having a job and am willing to accept X thing I don’t like about my job if it means avoiding joblessness.” Rebutting this completely normal sentiment with a specious worker empowerment pep talk doesn’t sit well with me.

        1. Fran Fine*

          Me either. It gets dangerously close to policing the OP’s word choice, which is also against commenting rules.

      3. Important Moi*

        I respectfully disagree as well. Not trying to be pedantic, but “glad” and “grateful” don’t mean the same thing.
        Just because a situation could be worse, doesn’t mean I have to be grateful. I can be tolerant.

        1. Loulou*

          I mean, that is pedantic. I think in the context we’re discussing people use the terms fairly interchangeably. People commonly say they’re “grateful for” something like their health, family, a roof over their head. If you nitpicked it and asked “to whom are you grateful?” I guess, like, God? It’s a set phrase, you can say “glad” if you prefer, I don’t think we need to pick it apart so much.

        2. Anonym*

          I think you’ve highlighted a meaningful difference, not a pedantic one. Being grateful tends to nudge one in the direction of accepting the situation and not changing it. OP doesn’t need to focus on that, she needs to focus on getting herself into an actually acceptable situation, here or elsewhere.

          OP, sort out your situation however is best, and then focus on gratitude once you’re where you want to be! You’re not looking the gift horse of food and shelter in the mouth by not being grateful for a deceptive, bad-for-you job.

          1. Wisteria*

            “Being grateful tends to nudge one in the direction of accepting the situation and not changing it.”

            Only if you let it. But if you need a different word to avoid the trap of not changing a less-than-ideal to bad situation, then use a different word.

    2. Wintermute*

      The supreme court of the state of Illinois says it best– an at-will job is not deemed to be “consideration” in contractual matters. By that they mean that merely giving you a job that they can rescind at will is not considered to be “something of value”.

    3. Nanani*

      This! You can leave. As the meme says, if it sucks you can quit!
      You don’t need to be grateful for having a job that isn’t what you signed up for, LW. Continue the job search qualm-free. THEY did you a disservice by bait-and-switching you.

    4. PT*

      The letters Alison publishes in NY Magazine are old letters pulled from the archive, and she updates her advice to be more current. It’s likely this letter was originally sent in closer to the Great Recession than the Great Resignation.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        No — you’re thinking of what I publish at Inc. The letters for NYMag are all new content. (If you’re ever unsure, anything from the archives will always be labeled that way.)

    5. MsM*

      Honestly, I feel like employers right now are more receptive to “I’ve been taking stock of what I really want, and life is too short to waste on situations that definitely aren’t a good fit” than they’ve ever been.

    6. Me (I think)*

      I had a director tell our team once, “You should be grateful you have a job. You could be living in your car.”

      Yeah, she was fun to work for.

  3. Mockingdragon*

    I’ve been at that job where you’re getting yelled at because someone else won’t get back to you. (in fact, a lot of this sounds like the last job I lost before I started freelancing.) Cut your losses if you have the financial ability. It’s not going to get better if people aren’t understanding to begin with. Also, waiting out your notice period at your old job isn’t something you should feel grateful that they did! That’s just standard, it would have been a big red flag if they had tried to force you to leave WITHOUT working out your notice.

    1. TheSheriff*

      > you’re getting yelled at because someone else won’t get back to you.

      It’s such a bad situation – I’ve been there too. With the added bonus that the person not getting back to me worked in my department, and wasn’t getting back to me because the department head himself was dragging him to all sorts of meetings irrelevant to his work.

      2 months in that job and I started searching for a new one…

    2. Texan In Exile*

      That’s where I was in my job last year. I wasn’t yelled at, but I was responsible for getting feedback from SMEs and VPs on a deadline (I published the dept newsletter) and I woke up every morning dreading going to work, knowing I was going to have to nag people over whom I had no authority to do something they did not want to do.

      I was so miserable (there were a few other things) that I quit after only six months. I have never done that before in my life.

  4. Former Retail Lifer*

    If the position was vacant for some time, there’s definitely a chance that the admin portion got backed up and you’ll need to spend some time tackling it to catch up. As Alison mentioned, there may also be a learning curve and they’re not ready to assign you those important tasks just yet. If neither is the case, don’t feel bad about leaving. They knew what the job was and they know what they told you. They only have themselves to be mad at for misrepresenting the job.

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      I agree with this, but I would also add that if this is a case of work piling up because of the position being vacant, it’s not really okay for the company to pile so much on a new hire that they have to work evenings and weekends just to clear the backlog. Especially if the work is fairly low-level as OP is describing, there may have been other options like using a temp agency for part of the interim time. And even if not, I would see this huge of a workload at the beginning of a new job as a red flag; most places I’ve worked have given me less work at the beginning because it’s expected that as I’m learning the ropes, things will take me longer, and then the work ramps up over the first first months.

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        This 100%! It’s always slow for our new hires because we want them to focus on learning things and being thorough with what they are working on.

        Even if OP’s new job was doing something they liked, it’s nuts that they’re expected to work so much overtime right away to fill a backlog. Unless they’re going to quit right away (which I wouldn’t fault them for!), they definitely need to find time on their boss’s calendar to discuss expectations – because this level of workload right away is unreasonable and unsustainable.

      1. Yet another job seeker*

        Agree, it is far past time to normalize quitting!

        Continuing on any path when it becomes harmful to you makes no sense at all, but people keep doing it because that’s what everyone else does.

  5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    If this were in my field, I’d say you pretty much had to leave or change jobs asap. These jobs have a way of hurting people’s careers for years to come if they stay in them. One could leave them eventually, and five years later when trying to change jobs again, still be getting “but WHY did you stay at Llama Scratchers for three years when all you did there was scratch llamas?” But YMMV. I would talk to the boss first. The one bait and switch job I did have in my career, there was clear communication between me and my boss on what my responsibilities and my future prospects were. As soon as I heard him say “I know it wasn’t what I told you originally, but the CEO/owner wants you to scratch llamas fulltime”, I started looking. Ended up only spending three months in that job, and never mentioning it to any prospective employers after.

    1. Accounting Gal*

      This is an excellent point as well. I commented below about staying in a similar position and one of my main concerns is losing important skills in my field (both not using the ones I already had and also not gaining new ones or growing).

    2. Meep*

      This is fair. I went to school for engineering. I was hired to do engineering. I ended up doing sales and marketing for a real jerk who didn’t know how to do her job so she shoved it onto people straight out of college. Not only did I have a lot of resentment that people being hired after me were working on ACTUAL engineering and being promoted, I felt like I have two years on my resume that are basically a wash because I was stuck being a free therapist when I wasn’t doing her job. And I certainly cannot put “VP of Sales & Marketing” on my resume even when I was doing “VP of Sales & Marketing” work (and don’t it well), because who will believe that?

      1. Nanani*

        Even if they did, if you don’t want to do sales and marketing, putting sales and marketing experience can be deterimental so :||

      2. JSPA*

        You can still bullet point the tasks and skills; “day-to-day oversight of A, B and C” or “extensive hands-on experience with X, Y and Z on tight deadlines at VP level” etc.

        (Though that’s likely to get you back doing what you don’t want to be doing.)

    3. PT*

      A job this stressful will make it so you don’t have time/energy to apply for new jobs, too. I’ve been there as well and I was usually so burned out from dealing with Job Drama that I just wasn’t in a place to apply for dozens of new ones, and I ended up stuck there far longer than I would have liked.

    4. Dysfunction Junction*

      This is something I’m worried about. I took what I thought would be a job with growth potential just as Covid started. It’s awful. The Director that I thought I would be working with was let go four months after I started. I began job searching again a month later and had several interviews in the first year. But there have been fewer and fewer jobs for me to apply for. Aside from the lack of leadership (the Director position is still vacant 17 months later), it’s just a terrible mismatch office culture wise. I worry that the longer I’m stuck here, the worse it will reflect on me. I have always been a very, very hard worker and I find myself doing the bare minimum each day. (Sadly, my bare minimum is adequate.) I’m worried that my work ethic is eroding. I’ve worked a several toxic but functional places, this one is by fare the most dysfunctional.

  6. Accounting Gal*

    Like the above commenter I had a similar experience. When I started the job I’m (still) in now, I knew within a few weeks it was a mistake. I hated it. I was hired to do accounting-adjacent work, mostly supporting stakeholders with financial and budget related matters… it turned out to be a glorified admin position (my least favorite type of work), with maybe 1 hour of actual work a day (I hate being bored at work). My workplace offers tuition reimbursement and I wanted to get a Master’s degree, so I ended up deciding to stay, let them pay for my Master’s, and basically do all my schoolwork during work hours. Also, I could have gone back to my previous job but they ended up having to do a lot of layoffs during the pandemic and this place did not, so it ended up being an alright decision in the long-run. I also know that my current organization is huge, and has room to move around if you have a foot in the door already. I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s not an easy decision but there can be less-than-obvious reasons to stick around. Even if you decide you want to leave though I would at least get another job lined up first and then be very honest in your exit conversation about why you’re leaving. Hope you come up with a solution you’re happy with!

  7. Ben the PM*

    The advice from Alison is more or less exactly what I did last year, and it worked out perfectly. I’d just taken a senior level product management position where I knew that there would be *some* administrative work, but where the job title, interview process, written responsibilities, all focused on high-level problem solving, technical skills, business acumen, etc. I found myself spending 90% of my time doing work that, while important, was more appropriate to a junior-to-maybe-mid career project manager or coordinator. (The “why” is too complex to describe without revealing too much, suffice to say it was a good-faith misunderstanding on the part of all parties about what was really needed in the position, and I was better-equipped to identify and describe the gap than those other stakeholders.)

    That project coordination was actually incredibly necessary and important on this project – it just wasn’t at all what I’d signed up for. Doing it for too long would even be detrimental to my resume, because it was so far from what I “should” be doing. My boss heard me out, said it made sense, and within a couple of months we’d moved me to a different position and hired a more appropriate backfill, with a totally different job title.

    That said, I have a *great* company culture with a ton of transparency, and I’m in a highly-paid, hard-to-hire area. In other words, my employer had a really strong interest in keeping me happy and in-house. OP appears to be in a very different position. But I will echo what others are saying: The idea that you should be “Grateful” for a job is absurd. Any job needs to be a good fit for both parties, and you have no more obligation to be grateful for a job than they do to be grateful that they have you.

  8. The Dogman*

    I would start job hunting and bail as soon as possible.

    You owe no company any loyalty ever, especially not if they lied about what the job entails.

  9. Batgirl*

    It’s okay to need a job, any job…but you don’t have to be grateful for any job! This is the company’s mistake for selling you a pimped up description. If you can go, go.

  10. Karia*

    Leave ASAP. I ended up trapped in a similar situation due to financial reasons. It was work I found horribly stressful and I became increasingly resentful about the bait and switch.

  11. The Original K.*

    I know of someone who quit on their second day. My friend was leaving a job and this was her replacement. She was training her replacement and the replacement was like, “they didn’t tell me any of this in the interview [my friend had not been part of the interview process]” and quit on the second day because he’d been misled. He gave that reason for quitting.

    You can always quit, even if the reason is as simple as “I don’t want to.” Not wanting to do something is a great reason not to do it.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      Despite all the drawbacks and flaws of the American economy, the right to quit is literally encoded in the Constitution.

      1. Artemesia*

        A court in Wisconsin just literally barred 7 health care workers from leaving a hospital to take jobs at another health care facility. Apparently serfdom is lurking in our corporate captured court system.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          It got overturned yesterday; the employees should be at work today. The company filed a last-minute injunction which had to be addressed.

        2. Chilipepper Attitude*

          I think that is a very important case, even with the caveat that RabbitRabbit added.
          I hope Alison reviews it and maybe has lawyers or others to help explain it.

          1. Former Usher*

            I am not a lawyer, but I believe it was a temporary restraining order issued last Friday to prevent the employees from starting the new job the following Monday (yesterday). After the hearing on Monday, the judge denied the former employer’s request and the employees could start at the new job on Tuesday (today).

          2. L.H. Puttgrass*

            A court in the U.S. cannot (or at least, should not, constitutionally) ban workers from quitting. The 13th Amendment’s prohibition on “involuntary servitude” makes sure of that. The courts can, however, prevent workers from starting a new job or require employees to pay damages for breaching an employment contract. I haven’t paid attention to the Wisconsin case, but I assume(/hope) that as Former Usher mentions, the court didn’t order that the nurses had to go work at their old employer, only that they couldn’t work at the new one (until the decision was overturned).

            1. JSPA*

              The temporary ruling was not to force them to remain in the old job (that was a non-starter) but to stop them from taking the new jobs, based on creative reading of an (unenforceable) “noncompete” clause.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                It sounds like the courts got it all right in the end, but provided a juicy almost-accurate headline initially.

              2. Whaaa*

                My understanding was that the departure of that many employees at once would have left that region of the state without a trauma center, which is why the temp ruling was made (an emergency, over-the-weekend ruling). Not that I have much sympathy on the part of the previous employer.

                1. Curious*

                  Based on the stories, the old employer that the group of employees left made an argument (which the judge apparently initially found plausible) that having them quit would put patient health at risk. He made an order that required the new employer to either lend the old employer the services of some of the employees, or not hire the group of employees. A couple of days later, the judge withdrew the order.
                  As I see it, the judge made an order that was not legally supported. However, it appears that it was based on a fear of the effect on patient health, not an entitlement of the old employer, so, no “implicit non-compete,” and no “serfdom.” And, while the order never should have been issued (because no legal basis), at least the judge got it right a couple of days later.

                2. Ruby*

                  If ThedaCare was so worried about patients, they would have matched the salaries and kept their people.
                  It was about money.

                3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                  I heard the same thing Ruby did – that the employees had asked for raises, or counteroffers, and ThedaCare said no. Something about how it wouldn’t be financially beneficial for them in the long term to give those employees raises. Okay then, I hope they enjoy the financial benefits of having no employees.

    2. CatMintCat*

      I left a job at lunchtime on my first day once because the job on the ground was so completely different from what I was told in interview, and not something I was remotely interested in. I just told him at 1pm that I wouldn’t be back because he’d lied to me, and left. I was 17 and still lived with my parents. If I’d been dependant on the job for room and board, it might have been different, although it was a time of plentiful jobs for young people with secretarial skills.

      He still owes me that 4 hours pay but considering it was about 1976 or so, I’m probably not going to collect it.

  12. Chairman of the Bored*

    Sounds like a good time to back waaaaaay off on actually trying to do this job and enjoy the resulting lower-stress paycheck while LW looks for another better job. Just keep getting paid and help out where you can, but don’t stress about being an all-star or meeting unreasonable expectation.

    Any employer worth working for would understand a short tenure at a company if the explanation was that it was a bait and switch.

    1. Just stoppin' by to chat*

      Agreed. LW if you read this, please stop working the nights and weekends. I know it can be hard to leave things undone, but what’s the worst that can happen? You are already considering leaving. Please focus on what is best for you physically, emotionally, mentally, etc, and just work during whatever hours you feel are most appropriate (i.e. 40 of whatever is standard in your industry/country).

      1. Nanani*

        IF anything, letting the shit hit the fan might motivate the employer to solve the actual problems, which they won’t do while LW is bleeding themselves dry to cover the problems.

        1. Chairman of the Bored*

          Plus, what’s the worst they can do – fire you?

          You’re already halfway out the door and won’t likely be using this company as a reference, the only leverage they have is the leverage you give them.

          1. Cat Tree*

            I once worked at a place where our branch was shutting down. It was such a freeing feeling I can’t even really express it. I mean, I was stressed that I needed to frantically job search again, and super pissed because the hiring manager and the recruiter who first contacted me both knew about the closing when they hired me but didn’t bother to tell me. But those few months there until I found a new job were so freeing on a day-to-day basis. I parked in the close parking lot that was unofficially for executives. I wore jeans every day. I said no to unreasonable work requests from corporate. I had phone interviews on company time. I completely stopped thinking about work at 5 p.m. sharp.

      2. Your Local Password Resetter*

        Exactly, if the company really wanted this work done so badly they would have thrown money at it when the position was empty. And what are they gonna do, fire you?

    2. EPLawyer*

      I definitely support the backing off. If you are already working insane hours, finding time to also properly job search can be hard. You need to make it clear that OT is an occasional thing not an all the time thing.

  13. mlem*

    | I’m already working into the evenings and weekends to get things done to the very tight timelines

    OP, stop doing that, right away. Your doing so is letting them get past serious obstacles that they need to fix, and it’s draining you of the time and energy to find a better fit. If that means something goes over deadline or fails … let it. (If nothing else, maybe that’ll get your boss’s ear in a way asking for it hasn’t.) “Work to rule” is an important tool.

    1. Alexis Rosay*

      Yes!!! If you decide not to quit immediately (which you’d be very justified in doing, but also people have bills to pay), only complete the work that you can reasonably get done in your agreed-upon work hours.

    2. Cheap Ass Rolex*

      Agreed definitely. Set sensible boundaries around your time. You can’t be Atlas with the whole success of the department on your shoulders if other people aren’t planning or following up properly.

      Also, the sooner you quit, the more options you have for other places you had applied to during your job search, where you might still be in the running. That way you don’t have to start over for scratch.

      1. BookishMiss*

        Alright, your first paragraph did not need to come for me so hard. Ouch.

        That said, you are 100% correct.

    3. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, I think if you are near the point of quitting on the spot it almost always makes sense to start with just setting very firm boundaries for yourself. In this situation, it sounds like that wouldn’t fix everything if the work is still just not what you were looking for–but at least you won’t feel so burned out and you’ll have more time to job hunt for something that is a better fit! And if they decide that’s a deal-breaker and want to replace you because of it… well you wanted to leave anyway! But I feel like there’s often not a lot of risk of that if the reason you are working long hours in the first place is because they’re desperate for people to do the work.

  14. Generic Name*

    In a past job I realised by day 1 that I had made a horrible mistake (they were truly evil bees) and as great as it is to say “just quit” I had no choice but to suffer through to pay the bills. As well as focusing on how to get out ASAP I’d suggest looking at ways at looking after yourself – admittedly not something I’m really good at elaborating so hopefully other commentors will have ideas. What I can suggest from experience is to not jump into anything – I landed out of one fire into something that still stank.

  15. PricklyPear*

    Even if Alison is correct that they’re slowly transitioning you into the role so your current job duties don’t resemble what the role will eventually have you doing, I’d say it’s still a red flag that they haven’t communicated that to you explicitly. Regardless of their intention to bait-and-switch you, they’re still showing that they’re disorganized and neglectful.

    Also, please don’t underestimate how much you can be affected by the stress of getting pressured over job duties that you can’t control. I was in an admin position for 2 years where I was yelled or cursed at several times per week over work that was bottlenecked with coworkers or third parties. No amount of explanations or follow-ups helped. I still have terrible lasting anxiety from the experience. Trust me, it gets to you and it’s not worth it.

    1. Loulou*

      This stood out to me too. A well-designed orientation should give new employees a sense of what their day-to-day will look like once training is over! If that hasn’t happened, it’s a problem.

  16. Cheap Ass Rolex*

    Also don’t feel like your job did you some kindness by waiting through your notice period for the last one. That’s rock bottom basics.

    They lied to you about what this job was. You’re not beholden to them. Get out now before it gets stickier to do so. Good luck!

    1. Loulou*

      Yep, it seems like OP feels like they were doing them a favor by waiting through their notice, but this is really standard. It’s just what companies do to get the person they want to hire, not a perk.

    2. LW*

      Thank you! Just because a few people have mentioned the notice period, some context that I removed from my letter but probably should have left in – it was several months, which is really unusual for my industry and was a dealbreaker for some other companies I interviewed with around the same time. Thankfully won’t have to deal with that this time around, at least!

  17. HelloFromNY*

    I agree with Alison’s answer. You can absolutely quit if you want to. Doing it sooner rather then later would be a kindness to everyone involved (including yourself). I think it’s also important to consider your financial standing. Can you afford to not have an income for weeks/months while you look for a new job?

    1. Anonynon*

      I had a job in HR that was like this. My job title was recruiter and what that entailed was scanning ALL the employee files and resumes into the system because they were too cheap to by an online HR system. It SUCKED. I sat in on volunteer interviews and had to silence myself when they were trying to convince an Masters of HR student they should do their internship with us. After the first week i had to comfort the intern when I found her crying on break. Standing and scanning and moving files is physical so not only is it a bait and switch it was causing physical pain. It was absolutely terrible. And we were supposed to grin and accept it because it was a “non profit” and we were doing good work.

  18. Jen*

    Reminds me of a time I interviewed/got a museum events management job but it turned out I would just be sitting in a room for 8 hours a day to make sure no one stole anything. I quit the second day, but the supervisor knew it was coming. No clue why it was advertised as a totally different job.

  19. sofar*

    I used to work at a place (online media publisher in the finance realm) that lured in people with “editorial” jobs that were essentially research/entry of data/compliance-type work. It was a way for them to lure in English majors (who were supposedly desperate for work and had great attention to detail). The SECOND you list a “compliance” role with “compliance” in the title, the salary expectations go up. So they’d call jobs things like, “Editorial Coordinator,” “Web Editor,” and “Online Content Specialist” and other things that sounded vaguely editorial in nature. And we actually DID have an editorial team that DID publish articles, so any candidate researching the company would assume they’d be doing that. The acrobatics this company performed in interviewing and hiring candidates for these “trick” roles was … a thing to behold.

    So yeah…whether you start job hunting NOW while working this job to pay bills or quit without anything lined up, don’t feel bad. We had massively high turnover in these roles, and the company expected that for every person desperate enough to stick around for a year, we’d have 5 who quit within a month.

    1. AdequateArchaeologist*

      I’ve had two jobs so short that were both batch hiring where they expected 1 out of 10 to stay past 1 month. Both were very bait-and-switch call center jobs. I’m always baffled by this approach, because if they were just honest up front there would be a lot less wasted effort. Fewer applicants maybe, but they’d get people less likely to just up and leave. You go through on boarding, payroll processing, training, and more with a batch of hires in the hopes 1 will stick? That’s a lot of work to just waste everyone’s time.

  20. shalimar*

    I took a job one time–a job I worked my rear end off to get–and after a week I was throwing up in the bathroom and my hair was falling out I hated it so much. It was somewhat commission based–and they had promised a lot more help than I was getting.

    I talked to the hiring manager who told me — “oh, yeah, we will give you more help soon–we have just been short staffed” (yeah right) and “It will be like this for 6 months and then you will be amazed at how much easier and how different it will be–and how much $$ you will be making.”

    I decided I would probably be in the hospital if I stayed there six months and quit anyway at the end of the second week. I also didn’t trust that they would give me any more help tomorrow than they were giving me today.

    I couldn’t live on a promise of better times ahead. I was up front and said, thank you for the opportunity but this is not right for me–and I packed up my stuff and left that day.

    Take care of yourself. It’s certainly worth a conversation with the hiring manager/boss/whoever, but only you know what you can tolerate and what’s right for you. Best of luck to you.

  21. AnonInCanada*

    I wouldn’t give them any more of your time or effort, OP. They lied to you. Why reward them? The sooner you get out of this trap, the sooner you can get to finding a career that fits you. As long as you have enough money saved to be able to support yourself before then, that is.

  22. anonymous73*

    No reason to feel bad if the job isn’t what was promised. Period. I don’t know how easy it would be to find a new job in your field, but it took me 7 months to find a new one (9 months to start after obtaining a clearance) after being laid off so I personally wouldn’t quit without having another job lined up. But that’s something you need to figure out for yourself financially.

  23. L*

    I am 2 months in to a start up. A couple people are suddenly ‘not a good fit’ after helping to build the company, and now COO after a year wants to be spend time with family. Not sure what that is about, but another has an illness and leaving, so if it was that – I think they would say it. I have a big proposal that to me is so basic, but it’s a lot of money and I half expect to be denied it and still have to produce results without the investment. I just don’t feel secure here.

    1. JustForThis*

      This seems like a great question for the work issues open thread on Friday. I’m sure you’d get helpful replies if you posted it there.

  24. AdequateArchaeologist*

    I once backed out of a new job on the second day. It had been billed as an office/admin assistant with some phone stuff (the company it made it sound similar to a doctors office admin position; taking calls and such but also doing a lot of admin work). In reality, it was straight up call center customer service for a pyramid scheme.

    Lunch break on day 2 (too shocked/hopeful on day 1) I went back to my boss at my retail job and begged for my job back. Thankfully she otherwise thought highly enough of me and still needed people, so she re-hired me on the spot.

    Don’t feel bad about wanting to bail already. It sounds like the position was a bit of a bait and switch. Everyone else has already given good comments about job searching/how to handle it on your resume/etc. Give yourself permission to not feel bad about bailing.

  25. Esmeralda*

    Get out! get out get out get out.

    They were “nice” in waiting out your notice period? Please. They did not make that decision to be nice. It was a business decision.
    And in fact, they’re not nice at all, since they lied to you about the job.

    Find another job.

    In the meantime, can you push back on the hours? Just because they’ve set ridiculous deadlines, doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself to meet them.

  26. RB*

    I am reminded of a Bobs Burgers episode. Linda is talking with her sister Gail who is on her first day at a new job. Gail hates it and says how bored she is. Linda says, just give it one more day and see if you still hate it. Then just give it one more day. Then do that forever.

  27. L.H. Puttgrass*

    So, to recap: the job that was advertised as “editorial” is actually admin and data entry, the hours are painfully long, and you can’t raise concerns with your manager because they’re unavailable and always pushing your meetings back? Is there any reason other than money to stay in that job? If you can afford to do it, I’d say get out now.

    Also, since they’ve “planned out [your] (packed!) work schedule for the next few months already”—is any of that work the kind of work you thought you were hired to do? If not, that tells you all you need to know, IMO.

  28. Fikly*

    They told you the job would be one thing, even when you explicitly asked about it, and then it’s not. That’s called bait and switch. Now your manager is avoiding meeting with you when they know you will want to discuss it. You owe them nothing, If they didn’t want to wait to hire you, they could have gone with someone else.

    Keep the job if you need it, but aggressively job search, and don’t let anyone gaslight you that you need to be grateful for an employer screwing you over.

  29. teapot analytics manager*

    Run. My last job was a bait-and-switch on that level and I was miserable the entire time. If you can leave today, leave.

    One of the people in that team quit the first week and in hindsight they were geniuses.

    1. Monchichi*

      Me and a few others were hired into an organisation that sounded a little too good to be true at the time. 1st week into the role we realised how horribly dysfunctional the organisation was, there was little to know communication amongst management, and we could already sense brimming resentment from the staff that were already there – not at us, but at management for allowing problems to fester for so long.

      A few of the people that had been hired with me pretty much quit 3 months in. Back then I thought they were shortsighted and stupid to give up so soon. THE MONEY WAS TOO GOOD!! I believed things would work out if we just persisted and stuck it out.
      1 year later, nothing changed and I realised I should have just left when I had the chance.
      But the money was too good, ya know?

  30. Merovingian 2*

    OP, are you me? I’m in this exact position, same professional goal, but two months into what was billed as a robust role and the reality is much … smaller. The team is great but it’s not working for me. I hate it and am trying to get out fast. Good luck!

  31. Veryanon*

    I think many of us have been in the position where a job just wasn’t what we thought it would be, no matter how careful we tried to be during the interview process. At the job I had before my current role, I knew within 2 months that it was not the role for me and that I needed to get out ASAP. But I didn’t have the ability to just quit without something else lined up. Every day I had to drag myself in there was pretty awful, but I did eventually find another job. OP, if you *can* quit without having another job lined up, more power to you. If you can do temp work or something else to keep an income stream while you’re looking, more power to you.

  32. Phil*

    This is sorta OT but I’m always amazed that people think of jobs as some sort of indentured servitude. Of course you can quit if the job isn’t right. I once started a job and within an hour i knew it wasn’t for me. I didn’t stay for hour two. Nobody’d going to stop you from quitting.

    1. Switz*

      I think that’s simplistic. The issue is working in small industries, small towns, or just even who-woulda-known small worlds. For instance, after expressing concerns, needs, and safety issues to my boss, who dismissed everything I said over a period of months, I broke down and left that job without notice. I was immediately blacklisted at every local company (read: 50 mile radius) in that industry. My employer couldn’t force me to work, but they made sure I never worked in that field again. Employers can hold power over employees in more ways than salary.

  33. Who Plays Backgammon?*

    When I was looking for a writer/editor job a while back I was dismayed and sometimes shocked at how many job descriptions included admin assistant tasks. As if being a writer means you can type, so you can do both jobs! I made a conscious decision that I’d either hire on as writer/editor or admin, but I would NOT be a w/e who also does the admin work or an admin who also does the writing and editing.

  34. IT Manager*

    Nothing to add, just wanted to say how much I consistently admire AAM’s clear, actionable advice, with suggested wording added in! This one was as excellent as usual.

    I’ve been managing people for 20+ years, (successfully, based on my career journey) and I just last week used some of Alison’s wording to speak with a report. And I sometimes read a description of something a good manager would do and realize I’ve been slacking in some area and I need to step it up.

    I show my gratitude by recommending her book whenever possible, but just stopping by here too to say thanks!

    Signed,
    -A Fan

  35. Remotie*

    In a semi-related topic, I’d like to give kudos to companies that go out of their way to make sure the person really understands and wants the job. Years ago I was looking for work via a temp agency and they wanted to place me at a benefits administration call center. The company knew it was an incredibly difficult customer service role so they let me spend half a day talking to the hiring manager and gave me a tour of the office. This was during Medicare Part B rollout and there were literally people calling panicking because they couldn’t get their medication etc. The manager told me that many of the employees had been there 15+ years but everyone went out on medical\stress leave at some point in their careers. I was told that if I could stick it out I’d be moved into management in a short amount of time. The hiring manager was very nice and informative, and because of that tour I decided not to accept the role, I knew it would be too much for me to handle and I would have probably quit in a week. I always appreciated being able to think about it and then respectfully decline the offer.

  36. Isabel Archer*

    I’m legendary in my family for texting my brother at lunchtime on my first day at a new job: “OMG these people are clowns. This job is not doable.” Trust your gut, OP. You owe them nothing.

  37. BasketcaseNZ*

    Been there, done that, had the breakdown…
    Job sold as a leadership based role, basically a step up to management from the coordination role I had been doing (Project Management adjunct).
    Instead, it was a support role to the recruitment manager, and then later a writing role. Every single one of the tasks on the Job Description were being done by other members of the team.
    Also, I had been told it was a 6mo contract (and the “interview” supported that), only to find on day 3 that it was permanent?
    I eventually stayed just over a year – I went to quit at 6mo, but the job market dried up, then lockdowns hit. I really should have gone by the end of week 2 when it was clear that I wouldn’t really be doing any of the work I was told I would.

    What finally got me out what the gaslighting.
    “But you were told when hired that this would be a communications role, so why are we getting multiple complaints about your writing?” (I had drafted one piece, while on sick leave, as a favour to a manager and only 2 people had read it as far as I knew).
    “Oh, we’d consider you for extra work, but we know you are super busy” while at the same time, taking *every* single tiny piece of admin I had started working on off me to make sure other staff had enough work to avoid restructuring out.

    It took me the better part of a year to recover enough to job hunt again.
    On the plus side, they paid me a ridiculous salary to do maybe 3 hours of work on average each week for the year I was with them.

  38. Violet*

    I feel you on this one, OP. The question too is, how to avoid this in your next new position?

    Sometimes it seems, you don’t know until you know!

  39. Phoenix from the ashes*

    OP – any chance the job you left is still open? It’s not unheard of for people to return to their previous positions in this situation.

  40. Switz*

    Coming out of lurk to offer this. I took a “prestigious” job that I immediately knew on Day 1 was a terrible, dysfunctional fit. No training, high-stakes do-or-die stuff, and my new boss literally yelling at me for being too eager when I asked questions…on Day 1. Day 1. I thought about quitting, and either trying to go back to my old non-prestigious job that I’d loved or just not going back, like the person before me did. But, I couldn’t afford to walk out, and my pride/ego stopped me from going back to my old job. I told myself to stay for one year, so I could have it on my resume, then through various events and dysfunction was guilted into staying for another year, then was guilted into staying for another year, etc… Four years later, I went back to my non-prestigious company, completely and totally warped and burned, and stayed there for a little over one year before finally having a stress-induced mental breakdown, walking off the job, getting blacklisted from the industry, and finally landing a job that paid me $12.00/hour after seven years of full-time professional experience. I went back to school and got a new a career. But, over five years of my “career” was for absolutely nothing, except some loose skills I picked up and leveraged once or twice. That was about seven years ago now, and I still look back at that period as my personal Dark Ages and a complete and total waste of time, energy, mental health, career growth, salary growth, retirement savings, etc. I rebuilt from scratch and don’t even have any of the three jobs (prestigious company, non-prestigious company, $12/hr company) on my resume. I wish I’d trusted my gut and left that bad “prestigious” job the first week.

  41. Choripancito*

    I know this feeling all too well.
    At the beginning of the pandemic, Myself and a few others hired were given the impression that we were very much needed and in demand, and that the organisation was much looking forward to our contribution. There had been government funding poured into the services, which is why we were hired.

    Reality, however, was not the case. Not only were management completely unprepared for our arrival (it took them 2 months for them to give us access to the log in system), staff who were already there did not have a clue what our roles were and why we were there.
    (To be fair, staff were lovely and tried to help us anyway they could, but even they admitted management had handled this terribly.)

    Myself and coworkers tried to make ourselves useful but it became apparent that no one knew what to do with us.

    The money and benefits were fantastic, but being at work and not being able to utilise my skills was soul destroying.

    The role was only 6 months but we quickly job searched in the midst of the confusion.

  42. Anony5287*

    Similar boat as you. I started a new position at a new company and during the interview, hiring manager told me they needed someone asap as they were swamped with workload. I excitedly hopped onboard, but turns out for the first 6 months, I had so much downtime and wasn’t given anything to do. I was so bummed and decided I just had enough of sitting around and not being valued. Manager was busy as well so I pretty much did what Alison suggested: email asking specifically for time set aside although I didn’t specify what for. Well, manager called me next day and I laid out calmly that the job was not going as I had expected. Funny but scary thing was that manager thought I was quitting on the spot, so I had to spell it out that I didn’t want to leave but wanted to see some changes. Things actually got a bit better although not 100% as I hoped but I guess baby steps.

    Maybe have that conversation first before deciding on leaving. Perhaps your manager will get the clue if you let her know that you want to stay but you were promised something different. If things don’t change, then yes leave. At least you gave them a chance.

  43. Imanilana*

    I feel like I could have written this as I’m one month into the same hell. The org is cult like and I’m obviously the diversity hire/token. Except hiring me bait and switch and then turning me into “the help” probably isn’t really great optics. Looking for a way out already after I raised concerns and was told to give a “few months “grace” for adjustment”.

  44. LW*

    Thank you Alison (and everyone!) for the advice! I didn’t know anyone who’d voluntarily left an office job after such a short time, so I was worried it’d be a big no-no.

    I don’t think the job is inherently bad/unreasonable or that they intentionally misled me – they typically hire from a sales background, whereas I’m coming at this from several years in editorial. For most of my colleagues, the side of the work that I hate feels very comfortable, and the part I enjoy takes a lot of time and effort. So that skews perception of the balance pretty considerably.

    I’ve agreed to stick around for a few months while they hire a replacement, and they’ve agreed to try to assign me more writing-heavy work during that time, but then I’m out. Just one to chalk up to experience I guess, and I’ll trust my instincts more in future interview processes!

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      Thanks for the update! The only other thing I would recommend is if you haven’t already, make sure you have a firm date in mind for when you would leave. Giving them time to find a replacement is very generous, but if it takes longer than expected don’t feel like you have to postpone your own departure indefinitely!

  45. Evvie*

    I honestly thought I wrote this at first, haha!

    I brought this up MULTIPLE times with my bosses and HR. My job was not only not as described but it required at least 25% more work hours than promised–a deal breaker I told them about up front. I made it abundantly clear that if their end of the deal was not upheld, I didn’t see a reason to uphold mine (beyond reasonable notice).

    They still seemed shocked when I quit. Shocked.

    No regrets. I loved my little team and I hated leaving them in a lurch, but my mental and physical health deteriorated to the point where I couldn’t even leave the house.

    Plus, if they can lie about the basic job description… what else are they lying about?

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