Should I return to this job?
January 30, 2014 10:24 AM Subscribe
I am moving back home to save up money for grad school, and I’m wondering whether I should return to my first real-world job. I wouldn't mind doing so, but I’d like some perspective on the work environment I found myself in. (Warning: long post ahead)
posted by dean_deen to Work & Money (8 answers total)
Thanks to past posts here on the green, I’ve learned a lot about the reality of office politics and unglamorous first jobs. However, I also wonder whether what I’ve encountered at my first job is really standard, or is it unusual? I've encountered the normal stuff that most people deal with—boring work and drinking Kool-Aid that I personally don’t believe in. That's whatever. But there have also been other things that have made me wonder whether I should return to this job or not.
1. High turnover-It’s a small, year-and-a-half year old marketing firm that’s never employed more than fifteen people—the actual size of the staff has shrunk quite a bit over the past year. In the nine or so months that I was working there, seven people quit. In the four months following that, four more people quit. Some of this was because of personal circumstances or bad culture fit overall, but others just grew tired of the boss’s work-a-holism and his tendency to tell people that their work sucked and spout insults as jokes. (He also has unreasonable standards—the writing team was expected to regularly crank out 600-word blogs post in one hour. On the whole, I was never able to do this.)
2. Q is for Quitting- One of the former employees—let’s call him Q—had been with the company almost since its beginning. He left after I moved away. I took his departure as a major warning sign. Q was always positive and let things roll off of his back when the boss seemed particularly overbearing. He was in low spirits about the boss in the days before I left, so I thought it was a good thing that I was leaving. Several co-workers who are still at the company have also said that I was smart to leave when I did.
3. The boss-In addition to what I’ve stated above, there’s this anecdote, which I admit I don’t have the full facts about. However, given what I know of this person’s strong personality, the alleged story isn’t too hard to believe.
We worked with a very profitable company that accounted for a third of our revenue. The owner of the client company was very good friends with the boss of ours. Out of nowhere, something happened between the two that ruptured the friendship. Those of us lower on the totem pole never learned what it was, although Q, who was the person closest to the boss and his partner, knew and wouldn’t tell us.
One of my coworkers (whose word I trust because she was the most mature, emotionally stable and oldest out of all of us) said that Q told her the following: Apparently, our boss jokingly said something that offended one of the client’s employees. Word eventually made it to the client, and they fired us. This resulted in three of our company’s salaried employees being let go. All the hourly/recent graduate employees, despite our fears when we heard there would be lay-offs, were safe. And so was the company's bottom line, I later realized.
4. The environment-The CEO tries to make the workplace seem really friendly and laid-back and millennial-friendly; but this seems more like a ruse for cheap labor. All of the fresh-off-the-boat college graduates were started as paid interns getting $10/hr. But then they only get $2 raises when their internship ends. I know this because I was their very first intern, and they tried to raise me to $11 after my three-month internship ended. I asked for more and got $12. An intern who also started after me at the same pay also got a $2 raise after our manager prodded our CFO, who was reluctant to give her a raise at all because she was still a student.
Furthermore, any company outings we had during my time there were just emergency morale-boosters when either the team’s morale seemed to be crashing down or some mass employee exodus had just occurred. There’s a cool office space, but that doesn’t seem to matter much when the boss is so intense that you never feel comfortable taking time off, for any reason. It was that kind of environment.
I am aware that all of this may be just a normal fact of life, and in this economy, you have to take what you can get, so I’m trying not to sound too whiny here. I'm fully willing to go back because it’s steady, full-time work. I also wasn't there a full year, so it might look good to employers if I return and show some consistency, instead of finding another job (since moving, I've only temped and interned) for just a year before school. But I honestly don’t know if this is something that occurs often in a business, since I don’t have a lot of work experience. Is this kind of situation pretty common?