5 warning signs this job will become one to hate

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Hey, I know there’s a recession happening, but that doesn’t mean you have to take a job you hate. Well, it might mean you have to take a job you hate. But at least TRY to avoid doing so – because you and I both know that if you take a job you hate, you and your new employer both may as well start looking again right away. Do you love job searching so much that you want to do it all over again? If not, then heed my warning, and don’t take the job if you notice one of the following five red flags:

1. It requires you to play a role that isn’t you. Unless you are an aspiring actor or actress, taking on a job that requires you to play extrovert when you’re really an introvert, make phone calls all day when you hate to talk on the phone, or spend your day chained to a computer when you are itching to get up and walk around won’t make you happy. Frankly, the latter job will make you feel like a caged beast. And no amount of appreciating your job’s perks and benefits, or listing the things you like about your work, will make you feel better. There is a reason why the North Jersey Record called practicing gratitude about your work “Survivor Syndrome” – it’s because when you do it, you’re surviving, not thriving.

2. It calls on you to spend too much time outside your comfort zone. Everyone should spend SOME time outside their comfort zone, if only for the sake of personal development. You should have to screw your courage to the sticking point on occasion. But you shouldn’t have to do it every day, all the time. If you have a social phobia, you shouldn’t be working as a receptionist, and if you are claustrophobic, you probably don’t belong in a cube.

3. It calls on you to spend too much time inside your comfort zone. As I just said, you should have to spend at least some time outside your comfort zone. If you do the same work that you’ve been doing endlessly for the past five years, I don’t need to go to a tarot reader to learn that you’re going to get bored. You need a job that challenges you personally, professionally, or both.

4. You don’t respect the person who interviewed you. I know, at an interview you feel that you’re the one who should be trying to impress the interviewer – not the other way around. My feeling, though, is that if you don’t respect the interviewer, or even like him or her, chances are that the culture in this particular workplace isn’t going to be a good fit for you. You may be able to hold your nose and vote for a politician you don’t respect, but you can’t hold your nose and work for or with someone you don’t respect. Trust me, they’ll notice.

5. You can’t stand the commute, the hours, or the compensation. Any one of these items, which many analysts call “lifestyle factors,” could be a dealbreaker – unless one of them is something that you have to live with, like it or not, because you don’t have a choice. In some ways, this is just a variation of point one above. Don’t try to make yourself into the kind of person who can sit in traffic for an hour twice a day and listen to audiobooks, if you’re really the kind of person who can’t stand traffic for more than a few minutes. You’ll succumb to road rage long before you make it to work! Likewise, if you are not a morning person, you’ll never be happy – or even fully awake – in a workplace where you have to show up by 8. There isn’t enough coffee in the world to change an owl into a lark. Why would you want to try? You’ll only be jeopardizing your mental health.

I know we all need a job, and there’s only so much time you can spend looking. But on the other hand – you won’t find your dream job – you know, the job that will make you HAPPY! – if you stop looking and settle for a job you hate. Think about it.

Brendan Cruickshank (Vice President of Client Services) – Brendan has worked in the online job search industry for 8 years in senior client services roles with major sites like Juju.com and JobsInTheMoney.com. He regularly gives his expert insight on topics in employment and job trends in media outlets including the Washington Post, Forbes and US News & World Report.

  • […] April 7 Don’t Accept that Offer April 7th, 2011 Does the offer you’re considering not feel quite right? Are they trying to fit a square peg (you) in a round hole (the job)? Are you not happy with the commute or the compensation? Do you not quite respect the person who interviewed you? Then you should run from the offer says Brendan Cruickshank in an article on Cube Rules. […]

  • Okay, so you look for a job for 3 months and only get one offer. You have to feed your family. Will you care whether “the role isn’t you”??

    • Csonger — a good question.

      You won’t care when you take the job. You will care once you have it.

      That said, one needs to feed the family — but don’t stop looking.

      Thanks for leaving the comment.

  • Corollary to #4 – you get a “bad” feeling (play twilight zone music) about the person who would be your boss.

    • Easy to ignore those “play twilight zone music” times, too, isn’t it? I always get in trouble when I don’t listen to that little voice in my head.

  • Nice post Scot.

    Point #4 is a big one. I once had an interview for a large consulting organization. I was extremely excited about the interview and opportunity to work for this company…I thought it would do a great deal for me and my career.

    I showed up for the interview and announced myself. The security guard at the front desk called up to let the person know I was there. 20 minutes after the call, the person I was interviewing with (and would work for if hired) finally showed up to ‘retrieve’ me from the front lobby. He led me to a conference room and then said ‘I’ll be right back’. He came back 10 minutes later.

    At that point, I’d waited 30 minutes for an interview to begin. To be clear, this was 30 minutes after the scheduled interview start time.

    One thing I really dislike is people that are late. Being late shows disrespect for another person’s time and this person was showing his lack of respect for my time in a major way. Now…if this interview were to happen today, I wouldn’t have waited…at 15 minutes, I would have walked out and given some very negative feedback to this person, the HR person and the organization…but that the time of the interview, the thought of walking out never occurred to me.

    The interview finally occurred and lasted for about 30 minutes. The interviewer used a generic form questionnaire with about 15 to 20 questions on it and would read word-for-word from the paper when asking me questions.

    Needless to say, the interview was horrible and I by the time it was done, I had zero respect for the interviewer.

    A few days after the interview, I received an offer letter. I was ecstatic. I accepted the offer. Big mistake.

    To make my long story shorter than it could be, my manager was horrible. He had no respect for his team and we had no respect for him. The organization’s culture was one that looked at employees as a resource that were to be used up and discarded once used up. There was no respect for work/life balance, no respect for time and no respect for individuals.

    That was the worst job I’ve ever had….and I’ve had bad jobs. I would gladly take my job as janitor from college before doing this job again.

    So you’ve hit the nail on the head with Point #4 (and the others as well). If you get that ‘hinky’ feeling about the person(s) you are interviewing for, you’ll probably have that ‘hinky’ feeling if you were to go to work there.

    • Fortunately, in my family, my wife had one of those types of interviews — including flying her 900 miles for the series of interviews going from when she got there until 5 PM and then flying her back 900 miles home. People didn’t show up, people were late, the hiring manager talked to her for ten minutes after arriving late for the lunch and then they discovered the afternoon people had conflicts for the interview.

      She ended going to the airport early, got on an earlier flight and was home in time for supper.

      She got the job offer. She turned them down. The recruiter was aghast. The company was too. Tried to get her to come down for two more weeks to get to know the company better — but she’d have to pay the expenses while there; they would just pay the air fare.

      Seriously. Run, don’t walk.

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