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- The facilities were out of date.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!
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.