Just quit a bad job--should I keep it on my resume?
January 12, 2017 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I left my job after 4 months, unhappy with my work and my boss. I need help deciding whether or not to keep this job on my resume.

About 4 months ago I quit my part-time retail job of 2 years to take what I thought would be a fulfilling, rewarding part-time job at a small non-profit, bleeding heart that I am. There wasn't a very clear job description (my first mistake) but my job title was Administrative Assistant and they seemed excited about the more creative strengths I had that I could bring to the organization.

Pretty much immediately the job started off badly and just got worse. My boss (the executive director of the non-profit), yelled constantly, gossiped and complained a lot. She never ended up being clear on what my actual duties were. I also ended up doing a lot of cooking and cleaning, not that I felt it was beneath me, but it wasn't what I signed up for. Boss was, in general, a huge micromanager who didn't want to hear my thoughts about, well, anything.

I was planning on toughing out this job until I found a new one, but I came into work yesterday morning to my boss who had stripped away the few remaining administrative tasks I had, and wanted to cut my pay and hours to the point where I'd be bringing home about $120/week. At that point it all felt so useless and demoralizing so I resigned. Before bringing up two weeks' notice, my boss asked me to leave immediately. She wished me luck, I said goodbye to the other employees, and I left.

I have some money and support to tide me over for a little while but this won't be a vacation. I definitely need a new job, sooner rather than later.

So now I'm not sure where that leaves me and how/if I should acknowledge it to future employer prospects. I did get some experience with MS Office and managing. Working in non-profits is not my life's ambition (my training is in media/journalism), but I'm concerned about other agencies contacting my former boss if they saw I worked for her, even though I wasn't planning on listing her as a reference.

Of course, leaving the job off would make it seem as if I haven't been working at all, even though I am a part-time (very part-time) freelance photographer, I've been helping my dad organize his files and update his website, and I've been volunteering. But I'm not sure if that "counts."

I'm a college graduate in my early 30s, and this is the first time since high school I've had a job that I regret taking and would like to pretend I didn't take at all, or had a boss that disliked me so much. This is the first job I've left after a short time, under these circumstances. Any advice on how to spin this into my favor is much appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would leave it off.

This is encouraging : 'I'm a college graduate in my early 30s, and this is the first time since high school I've had a job that I regret taking and would like to pretend I didn't take at all, or had a boss that disliked me so much. This is the first job I've left after a short time, under these circumstances. '

You have other references you can use right? It seems like it.
Can you spin it into taking a short career break?

"The only power worth snot is the power to get up after you fall down." - Ms Marvel.
posted by plep at 9:39 AM on January 12, 2017 [1 favorite]


You were only there for 4 months? I'd definitely feel free to leave it off, especially since you have plenty of other work experience and aren't looking to make a career of non-profit work.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:41 AM on January 12, 2017


Leave it off. Make sure your freelance gig and volunteering are on there. Can the work for you dad be spun as a freelance job as well? (especially if you have different last names).

Do not include the months of your employment on your resume. So your retail job employment dates should say something like "2014 - 2016 RetailPlace" rather than "May 1, 2014 to Sept 1, 2016 RetailPlace."

When asked in an interview why you left RetailPlace, you can say it was to focus on other career options, such as freelance photography and to learn X thing through volunteering -- or better yet, because you were wanting to sharpen your skills in Y thing and get a job in Z thing related to the interview you are in.
posted by OrangeDisk at 9:48 AM on January 12, 2017


Do not include the months of your employment on your resume. So your retail job employment dates should say something like "2014 - 2016 RetailPlace" rather than "May 1, 2014 to Sept 1, 2016 RetailPlace."

Most career advisors and hiring managers consider listing only years (particularly for shorter-term jobs under three years' duration) as being intentionally obfuscating for precisely the reason you've just been told to list it this way. I would not list only years; I'd just list all those things you're currently doing (freelance photography, working for your father, and volunteering).
posted by vegartanipla at 10:45 AM on January 12, 2017 [4 favorites]


I'd suggest filing for unemployment at the very least (if not a constructive dismissal suit). Changing your duties, cutting your hours and reducing pay means that you didn't quit, they just didn't have the balls to fire you.

http://www.humanresourceblog.com/2008/10/10/when-given-a-pay-cut-and-reduced-hours-can-employees-file-for-partial-unemployment/
posted by noloveforned at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2017


Unless there was a specific skill you can use from your last job on your resume (IE, that was the only time that you have ever used $SKILL in your life, and the job you're appying to mentions it), leave it off.

Even then, four months of using a skill isn't that much in the way of proficiency. I'd probably skip it.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:40 PM on January 12, 2017


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