Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Out Of The Frying Pan, Into the Fire

Three years ago I was commuting 70 miles (one way) on a busy and somewhat dangerous Pennsylvania Turnpike to my job. I had worked at my previous job for almost 2 years and the daily commute to work along with the daily incompetence of my management at work were getting the best of me. I decided a change was needed so I began my job search, hopeful to find a more fulfilling position that was closer to home.

Shortly after beginning a search a higher level job popped up. Better yet, the job was with a company that was located only 10 minutes from where I live. I applied for the job and that same week received a call from the HR department wanting to conduct a phone interview. I was elated and aced the phone interview and went on to ace the live interviews. I was offered the position and readily accepted. In doing so I had ignored some warning signs and flaws during the process. The thought of escaping one bad situation blinded me and in fact led me to another bad situation. The thought of eliminating my lengthy commute completely overruled the alarms that were going off in my head about the culture and management of the company I would be going to. Unfortunately I had jumped out of the frying pan, into the fire by ignoring all of the below issues with my company up front:

  • The Human Resources department was completely un-organized during the hiring process. They could not provide me with a complete job description (I still don’t have one) as an example. When I asked for the benefits information so that I could take into account total compensation (salary + benefits), they acted insulted and took their time with getting it to me. This is because they didn’t have a pre-printed summary of benefits pack.

  • The interview process was also completely un-organized as my boss didn’t have interview questions prepared. There were many uncomfortable pauses as he tried to think of questions to ask me. I also interviewed with other executives and the same held true with those folks. The one executive talked about himself and what he has done for the company during the interview, instead of asking me questions or allowing me to ask him questions.

  • The facilities were out of date. As I was touring the company I noticed artwork that looked like it was from the 1970’s. The cubicles and rugs also were dingy and worn. I also noticed the PCs and monitors looked old and beat up, almost like they were refurbished models. The kicker was the use of wood paneling in many of the executive offices. Real Nice!

  • The people were out of date. Much like the artwork, many of the people I interviewed with seemed stuck in the 70’s or 80’s. Bad ties, bad haircuts and a not up to date on latest trends in management. One executive when looking at my resume asked me what Six Sigma was, while another executive wrongly explained Six Sigma to me, trying to act like he knew what he was talking about (see Regurgitator)

  • The terms of the offer of employment were not negotiable or flexible. I tried to negotiate for slightly higher pay. NO! I asked for a few more vacation days. NO! I asked if a bonus was included based on performance. NO! I asked if training dollars could be allotted for my development. NO!
Although I had removed the long commute, there were far more negatives involved in joining my new company, than positives. It has been 3 years since that decision and in those 3 years I have pretty much encountered all the things that were obvious warning signs during the hiring process. The culture is stagnant, the executives are clueless, the departments are disorganized, there is zero teamwork, and innovation is non-existent. I had eliminated my commute frustration but by ignoring obvious warning signs I had increased my work frustration.

Advice from the Turtle:

If you are stuck in a bad situation and are looking for another job, make sure you take inventory of what you want in a company and your career. Do research and try to figure out what the company is about and determine if you and the company are a good match. During the interview process be observant and ask questions on things that are important to you like work environment, training, or management style of your future boss. If you fail to do these things you’ll be stuck in a situation like me and become a Turtle at Work.


That's terrible! I used to work in a place whereby everyday was pure stress. There was nearly no time-off for working on weekends unless we requested for it.

Even requesting does not mean it's equivalent. There was no overtime pay thus we had to ask for time-off. To get that time-off, we had to plan and if we didn't use it within the given month, it was forfeited. It was a real pain as we were burn-out and needed to rest but the relunctance to grant us rest was too much.

Yes, it is terrible. I live it everyday. I seriously get tired physically tired and drained after the first hour I'm at work.

Thanks for the comment Wishbone!

Turtle King

I have an idea !!!!!

Ever hear of moving ?!!!!!

Rules to live by:

1. Never leave a GOOD job :)
(i.e. -- better pay, shorter commute, etc)
2. If U ever have any problems refer to rule #1

there is something about the written word (posted comments) and the fellowship among my co-turtles that inspires the wolf in me. i could not have said it better. better yet you've said it beautifully.

normally i prefer not to shoot from the hip. did i say that????? well i did, and that's just skimming the surface. ask and you shall receive he(my boss) says. yeah right.i have to wear old shit kickers to work just to walk through the daily bull.i ask and ask for time off (have earned 48 PTO hrs) yet i continue to get ignored. i'm looking for a new job and by the hair on every man's chin (i'm a woman) i will get that job and i will be heard. and i will get rid of those damn boots.

gosh, i feel five pounds lighter. anyone have a cigarrette i can borrow?

Well today I became a Wolf. I resigned from my job. There is something inspiring me, in your words, and I too saw the incompetence in management. The useless HR manager, well isn't that the truth

Trying to do too much with too little and blaming the staff for their short comings. Everyone is a manager in this organisation. Just the few Turtles to do the work.

Viva la Wolf!

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