I made a big boo-boo
March 22, 2021 7:20 AM   Subscribe

The saga of escaping from my current job continues, but I've made a bit of a snafu and could use some info as to how to mitigate it.

Please see my last questions for more context...

I landed an interview via a recruiter for tomorrow morning at a company with a promising position (contract to hire with strong possibility I'd be hired given that they are expanding and their current accounting person has been there for 20 years and refuses to adapt to new technology). This position also pays per hour quite a bit more than I am making in my current nonprofit job, and while their industry is different than what I'm used to, they seem like a solid place to work, with good Glassdoor reviews. (Of course I will suss out more in the interview.)

But here is the rub: I have worked with this recruiting agency before - in fact, back in 2013, they placed me in a six-month contract-to-hire position at a company which resulted in a direct hire after three months. This agency remembers that (they got a fat commission when the company bought me off of them) and are inclined to work hard to place me again as I am a proven entity. HOWEVER - I did reach out to them last year after I lost my full time job to COVID and at the time (April 2020) sent them the most recent version of my resume. I have just found out they have submitted my profile to the company I am interviewing with tomorrow using that resume, as opposed to the one that reflects my current job.

On the one hand, I've only been at my current job for 3 months, I've learned absolutely nothing of value that would apply to this potential position, and I'm not sure how valuable listing this position on my resume is aside from the fact that it demonstrates that I was able to land a job in the thick of the pandemic. On the other hand... if this contract-to-hire job wants to take me on, and expects me to start, say, next Monday... I will either have to have an awkward conversation with the recruiter about how I need to put off starting for two weeks, which will reveal that I was a dumbass who forgot to follow up on whether she had my most recent resume, which I fear won't reflect well on me, or I will have to tell my current job that I need to leave without notice (which I fear would also reflect poorly on me.

That said, I have no intention of ever asking my current job for a reference, like, ever.

What do I do? I feel like a prize idiot right now.
posted by nayantara to Work & Money (31 answers total)
Best answer: So what's the problem? You have even more experience than they think? That's not a bad thing. That you can't start at the drop of the hat? No one expects that. Even if you're unemployed, you need some time to tie up loose ends before going back to work. That you might need to leave your current job with less than two weeks' notice? That actually sounds like it's a good thing. I'm not saying you should no-call no-show your current job, but I'm also not not saying you should no-call no-show your current job.

One of the most uncomfortable things about Ask Metafilter is reading questions from people who say things like "I feel like a prize idiot" when they're actually a highly competent and diligent professional who is so qualified that people are coming to them rather than having to send out hundreds of resumes hoping for a call back. You're quite obviously not a prize idiot, quite the contrary. I am quite happy to hear this update and you should be too!
posted by kevinbelt at 7:27 AM on March 22, 2021 [30 favorites]

I have no intention of ever asking my current job for a reference, like, ever.

In that case, and especially since you've only been there for three months, feel free to cut bait. No worries, you're no idiot for missing the resume thing.
posted by miltthetank at 7:28 AM on March 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: You do not owe your current job 2 weeks notice. You've barely even started there. 2 weeks is 16% the time you've worked for them. That would be like expecting someone with a 20 year career to give a transition off period of 3 years. Ridiculous. You owe them nothing. You give them one day of transition time max.
posted by phunniemee at 7:32 AM on March 22, 2021 [12 favorites]

Your resume at any given point in time may be slightly out-of-date. If you're wanted to start immediately, you could just say, "I'm currently working at another gig, let me see what kind of notice I can give to smooth everything over," and if they push back, just give an immediate notice and bag out.

Most places, even if they're looking for contractors, understand that new hires need a bit of flexibility in start dates, unless you're filling in for, say, someone who needs replacement immediately due to illness or unexpected circumstances. It doesn't sound like this job you're interviewing for is that type of position.
posted by xingcat at 7:36 AM on March 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

This seems like a non-issue. If they're looking at a resume with experience only through last April, they'll ask what you've been doing since then. You can say you got the new job as a stopgap but you're still looking for a better fit. And then if they want to hire you, they'll ask when you can start, and you can say you have to give notice. I don't think anybody will expect you to start tomorrow, and they might not be ready to onboard you tomorrow anyway.
posted by fedward at 7:59 AM on March 22, 2021 [8 favorites]

Have you and the recruiting company even been in touch since you got this most recent job, until the moment the recruiter reached out about this interview? I don't think it was even especially on you to keep your resume with the recruiting company *that* up to date unless you were actively poking at them telling them you were looking for a job again.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:03 AM on March 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

this is not a big deal.

to the extent that a mistake was made, it is a tiny one. Your recruiter wanted to err on the side of speed (this is always a priority in recruiting work) so she submitted the resume she had, rather asking you to prepare an updated one. It's really not a big deal.

It is likely that she or they will ask you to submit an updated one at some point. Whatever.

As far as your start date, see what they say and do what makes sense. If the interview is a strong match on both sides, and their need is super urgent, then you can certainly decide to leave your current job without an entire two weeks' notice. It happens all the time.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:14 AM on March 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

The recruiter should have gotten the newest possible resume.
posted by theora55 at 8:17 AM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I guess what's niggling at me is that I should have been more proactive, perhaps, in giving the recruiter an updated resume, but then she reached out with the opportunity and I agreed to an interview without confirming she had an updated resume. So I just worry this makes me look irresponsible or disorganized, both of which are not valuable traits in a finance position.

But it sounds like there are ways to work around this and truthfully since my dotted line manager seems so passive aggressive about my supposed lack of speed (I spoke with someone else in the company who has been tracking data and she says that the volume of transactions I am entering has QUADRUPLED since last year when my predecessor was in the job - in which case even one temp to help is barely going to make a drop in the bucket) that there is a spiteful part of me who would love to just drop this problem in his lap so he can see for himself how unreasonable his expectations are. But that's not particularly professional either, is it?

At any rate, thanks for the answers so far on this question and my last, and feel free to keep weighing in if you think there's something else that I should keep in mind as I move forward.
posted by nayantara at 8:28 AM on March 22, 2021

This makes *her* look irresponsible and disorganized. It says nothing about *you* at all.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:40 AM on March 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

Look, as someone who deals with recruiters from both sides, the hiring entities on the employer's side are thrilled if the recruiter gives them the correct documents for the right person in less than three tries. The expectations level for recruiters is not super high.

And nobody cares if your resume was slightly out of date - most people's resumes, especially as filed on job-seeking sites and in many recruiters' databases, are at least one job old. And a resume is NOT a Permanent Record, nobody is going to rise up screaming J'ACCUSE if you need to give notice at a job they didn't know about because it wasn't on the resume they saw and also they don't care and aren't paying that much attention.

IF someone was sharp enough to catch that, they still can't assume you can start immediately, probably aren't organized enough for you to start immediately even if all of y'all wanted to do that - very few companies have their onboarding workflow that tight. But in any case, the standard expectation in any company is minimum two weeks if you could give notice the moment you received an offer, and the soft expectation is 3-4 weeks.

I have dozens of accounting and finance departments as customers, and while many (eh, some) of them are fairly into accuracy they are also very aware of file-versioning issues and would be unlikely to hold a recruiter's mistake against you unless you made the mistake of making a big deal out of the tiniest possible miscommunication because nobody wants to work with a self-flagellator. If it comes up in some direct and important way, say, "I think you may have seen a slightly older copy of my resume," and if it's appropriate offer to directly send them a new one (bonus: it won't have had all the formatting ruined by whatever weird mishandling recruiters always do to them).

I also hope you get to walk out of the current place with both middle fingers flying high, but don't let the toxicity of your current job make you way too intense with regards to a potential new one.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:46 AM on March 22, 2021 [17 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing that this doesn’t make you look anything, another vote for it being an absolute non-problem. You’ve perhaps got so used to being criticised in your current job that you’re in a state of high anxiety and over-responsiveness.

You can talk about it during the interview, but whatever you do, don’t go into that discussion apologising or trying to explain why it’s happened as if you’ve made an error. You haven’t. It just needs a simple: “I think the resume you have only runs to (date) as that was the one the recruiters have on file. Since then I’ve been keeping busy by working at x,y,z while I wait for a job to come along that feels like a great fit, and I’m excited by this job of yours.” I agree with Lyn Never that nobody wants to have to expend energy trying to make a self-flaggelator feel better, so definitely don’t put that task onto your interviewers by apologising for something that doesn’t require an apology. Just treat it like the non-problematic administrative matter that it is.
posted by penguin pie at 9:07 AM on March 22, 2021 [14 favorites]

Best answer: I mean, no one's to-do list in their first three months of a new permanent job can be expected to include "update my resume with all the recruiting companies." The recruiter, as the one that reached out and who has definitely been in this situation more times than you, should have it as part of her script or checklist to ask about. But it doesn't sound like it will be a big deal anyway.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:09 AM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't intend to use current company as a reference (and based on some of the information you gave in your question three days ago about your current company), I would not feel at all bad if I were you in giving them less than two weeks' notice, and possibly no or very little notice. I'm generally pretty courteous and diligent about this stuff personally, but from the sounds of your most recent question about your current job, this is a bridge that even I would not be concerned about burning. You leaving at short notice would be yet another problem that's their business problem to solve (like not hiring enough people to keep up with the task load expected of your role), not your personal problem to mitigate, smooth over or avoid.
posted by terretu at 9:20 AM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: From your previous question:
My manager, though she did take action to help me by bringing in the temp, now doesn't even acknowledge me when she comes in in the morning - she says hello to the receptionist and then walks away.
New job: hello! Old job: buh-bye. Two weeks schmoo weeks.
posted by flabdablet at 9:39 AM on March 22, 2021 [8 favorites]

"she reached out with the opportunity and I agreed to an interview without confirming she had an updated resume"

Again, you're beating yourself up for no reason. Consider:

Guy on street: "Here's $50,000 in cash."
You: "Oh I don't know, it might not all fit in my wallet. I wish I would have gotten a bigger wallet in case a random guy on the street gave me $50,000."
posted by kevinbelt at 10:09 AM on March 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My two cents as a hiring manger:

Agree with everyone else that the recruiter sending over a stale resume is a complete non-issue for you—the recruiter should have asked you for an update first given it's nearly a year since you last interacted with them. You can just bring/send along a current version when you interview, no problem at all.

That being said, you have been with your current company for a short enough time that you might be better served to just leave that job off your resume entirely. The part the interviewer might be concerned about is why you're leaving your current employer after such a short period. I took a look at your previous job-related question and yeah, that place sounds like a real shitshow and I agree you should bail out—but as an HM I'd definitely flag it. A resume isn't a legal document or a strict accounting of how you've spent all your time to date. Especially if your current work doesn't map well onto the role you're applying for, you have the option to handwave a little along the lines of "took on some interim work while continuing to search for the right long-term opportunity."
posted by 4rtemis at 10:43 AM on March 22, 2021 [3 favorites]

I'm a hiring manager who works with multiple recruitment agencies. They FREQUENTLY provide bad information - out of date resumes are the tip of the iceberg, imagine telling applicants the entire wrong time and address to report to for their first day of work! In no way do these mistakes reflect on the applicants. Shit happens and when you're a recruiter dealing with dozens (hundreds?!) of employment candidates a day, you can get a little mixed up sometimes.

I would think absolutely nothing of it if one of the agencies reached out to me and said they'd accidentally sent me an out of date resume and provided an updated one. It wouldn't be a blip on the radar.

Please don't be so hard on yourself. You seem like an incredibly thoughtful and conscientious person, and any manager should be lucky to have you on their team.
posted by srrh at 4:29 PM on March 22, 2021

Response by poster: You guys are the best. Thanks everyone, I feel a lot less anxious about this. Interview at 9:30 tomorrow, wish me luck!!
posted by nayantara at 6:40 PM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ack, one last question, for whether tomorrow's interview works out well or whenever I find another position. Let's say I don't want to give 2 weeks notice (phunnimee's comment above makes a lot of sense). Let's say I want to say "my last day will be tomorrow." Is it okay to just put that in a resignation letter? Is it worth it to try to explain why I am leaving if I'm giving them one day's worth of transition time? I guess what I'm asking is, do I owe them ANYTHING, at this point? Or should I just leave things at a polite but perfunctory two sentences and let them figure out how to manage the incredibly mismanaged department/position I am fleeing from?

(I'm bad at this stuff guys, I'm sorry. I had a really traumatic experience with a hostile workplace (in the legal sense) about six years ago and it's made every job I've had since feel fraught and anxiety-making. I'm in therapy but I haven't quite mastered how to move on from bad workplaces with aplomb (vs fear) quite yet.)
posted by nayantara at 6:47 PM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Never explain why you're leaving a job in writing. The general wisdom is if one sentence was enough for Nixon to resign as President, it's good enough for you.

"Dear Ms. Boss,
I have to leave XYZ No-Pro-Co, and Friday, March 26, 2021 will be the last day I am available to work.

If your boss wants to talk about it, I still wouldn't tell much, beyond that you don't think it was a good fit for you. I would recommend against telling them where you're going or even that you have another job lined up if you can avoid it. There's not really any information you can give them that will make the situation better -- if they wanted to treat employees well, they would, so telling them they are not treating employees well isn't going to effect change.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:04 PM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've never written a resignation letter or seen one written. In every office I've been in, the SOP is either an in-person meeting with your manager, or a phone call. Be prepared for them to walk you out (i.e. get your important stuff out of the office first before you talk to anyone about this.)

Don't give them any information, just "this isn't the right fit."
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:33 PM on March 22, 2021 [2 favorites]

get your important stuff out of the office first before you talk to anyone about this

is super good advice.
posted by flabdablet at 10:02 PM on March 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I remember your last question and I'm SO GLAD you're going on this interview! Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
posted by gakiko at 4:43 AM on March 23, 2021

You don't even have to say it was a bad fit. All you need to say is that you're "pursuing other opportunities". If they ask you for more detail, say you got a better offer. Making more money is a universally accepted reason for leaving. If you were leaving for less money or without a new job in hand, they might ask more questions, but every boss I've ever given notice to, no matter how toxic, when I told them I'd gotten a better offer, was like "yep, good for you, you should probably take it".
posted by kevinbelt at 7:05 AM on March 23, 2021

Best answer: I always write a succinct resignation letter (so I have documentation, and I CC my personal email account, along with HR if I know who to contact there) that states my last day, just in case I need to prove it later. "Manager - I will be pursuing other opportunities and my last day here will be 3/25/2021. I am available to discuss a handoff plan as soon as you are available. Best wishes in your future endeavors. Regards, Me."

Do not pressure yourself or be pressured to explain. Just like Emily Post's classic demurral: "I'm sorry, that won't be possible," don't explain and they cannot attempt to argue you into a different response. I will be leaving as of Thursday. I cannot stay any longer. I understand you are inconvenienced, but I cannot stay beyond that day. It won't be possible (unspoken aside: because I will burst into flames and the screams will be heard for miles) for me to do anything other than that.

You don't even have to tell them you have another job. You could be booked on a rocket to the moon for all it matters, it's not their business.

Nothing you can say to them is going to save them from themselves, and they are not paying you management consultant fees to tell them what's wrong with them anyway. They can talk all the shit they want about you once you're out the door - and they probably will - but you know and they know that you're not the problem here.

If there was anybody there you actually like, of course you can tell them concisely why you're leaving if they want to know, but from what you've said they would know why already.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:17 PM on March 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Guys the interview went really well! I had a really great conversation with the controller and he said he thinks I'd be a good fit for the team... just gotta wait to see how things shake out once he chats with the recruiter, but I am cautiously optimistic...
posted by nayantara at 3:58 PM on March 23, 2021 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: I got the job!!!!

Now to write an awkward resignation email saying my last day will be Friday...... *anxiety spike*
posted by nayantara at 8:09 AM on March 24, 2021 [9 favorites]

No, not now. Now is get your personal stuff out of your workplace. Once that's done, send an email to the manager who has been ignoring you from your work computer, cc'd to your personal email address, that reads
Manager -

I am leaving to pursue other opportunities and my last day here will be 3/26/2021. I am sorry for the short notice but my new employer needs me to start right away. Best wishes in your future endeavors.

Then say goodbye to the nice receptionist and go home.
posted by flabdablet at 9:57 AM on March 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: hey flabdablet! so, I basically did exactly that, and within 5 minutes of receipt of the email my manager told me that she would prefer that I just call today my last day, so I said goodbye to the receptionist and to the one colleague here with whom I had a good relationship and went on my way! Such a feeling of relief as I walked out the door the last time, and now I have two days of freedom/relaxation/getting some errands done before I start the new job on Monday.

I am really optimistic about the new job - the controller already is scheming about getting me into some career development courses to build my skills more and is also excited that I will be able to hit the ground running in the AP position that I've been hired into since I already know the accounting software they use. I really enjoyed my conversation with the controller yesterday - we clicked right away and I get the sense that he will be a pleasure to work with. He also felt that my personality will mesh well with the team already in place. I know there are no guarantees, but things feel like they are looking up, and I'm just so happy to never have to deal with my negligent manager, my jerk dotted line manager, and the racist dogwhistle lady ever again. I'm back in a career track that excites me now, which is a really nice feeling, especially in these crazy times.

Thanks to you all for the support, encouragement, and advice!
posted by nayantara at 1:02 PM on March 24, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Well done you.

So the thing to do now is tell yourself, over and over and over again, the story of how a situation you initially thought of as some kind of colossal fuck-up has actually turned out perfectly fine for you, and remind yourself that the kind of spurious self-doubt you've recently been experiencing is nothing more or less than a natural consequence of workplace abuse.

This will do a number of useful things. First, it will give you some well entrenched personal history to fall back on and ground yourself with if you should ever find yourself in similar circumstances in the future.

Second, it will help you work through and identify the structural features of the sick system you've just left, figure out how it got its hooks in to poison your confidence to such an extent, and remind you that putting up with that kind of shit is very much one of those Only Ever From Dire Necessity things. Life is too short to spend more of it working for arseholes than you can avoid, and having a properly calibrated set of sick-system spidey senses is really helpful for that avoidance.

It's not like you should walk into every new workplace actively seeking out sick system symptoms, because that risks finding them when they're not actually there; some degree of workplace personality conflict is inevitable and misreading it doesn't help. But when you next find yourself enmeshed in an organization that really is sick - and it might not even be a workplace! - having spent time reflecting on your exit from the last one will help you remember why getting out of this one as fast as you can is also the right thing.

Again, congratulations on the new job and I'm sure I'm not alone here in hoping it turns out well for you. From what you've said about it I think there's every chance it will. Well played!
posted by flabdablet at 7:12 PM on March 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

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