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New Job




A little over a month ago I started a new job. After over a year of searching, it was exciting to finally throw away the part times I've been working and start full time doing work that, maybe technically isn't what I studied in school, but still uses what I learned in school. My first instinct is that how great it is to finally, after years and years, have a job that I don't hate... and sometimes even really like. Sure the commute sucks, and they aren't paying me enough that I can afford to move closer, and the projects aren't meaningful to me personally, but I'm mostly enjoying what I'm doing. And I'm learning from doing them, and they will definitely make me more marketable for something in the future that more aligns with my interests. 

(And benefits. Job has benefits. A job with benefits is (almost) always better than a job without.)

There's only one big problem: I'm not sure why they hired me. Or wanted to hire anyone. The better part of the past month has been me struggling to find work to do to fill the nine hours a day I'm wanted there. The projects they've had for me so far have been quick ones, that I've deliberately worked slowly on because I learned quickly that there's basically nothing for me to do all day. The past few days have been a bit of fresh air because I actually have a task to accomplish, but its pure busy work, making me feel like I'm working a glorified internship. I've brought up my concerns twice now. The first time I was told not to worry about it, they're still working out what my day to day tasks will be. Fine. But never heard more about it. I brought it up again and was told, don't worry about it. Be patient for now, the busy season is coming. Which again, fine. But what about when the busy season is over? And what am I supposed to do until then?

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to have a job (with benefits), especially considering current events when most people are losing theirs and many still are struggling. But my concern is that eventually they're going to change their mind and decide my services are no longer necessary. It was clear to me even before starting that this is not an organized company. With my offer letter alone there was conflicting information about whether my job was seasonal, full time, if I'd get benefits and if I'd be paid salary or wages, and my new hire paperwork had two different forms listing two different hourly rates, one of which was meant for me and the other which was not. My very first week I came in on a Saturday (offer letter said weekend hours required), confirmed Friday that I was supposed to come in the next day, then was told on Saturday when I got in that I could have stayed home and they didn't have my contact info to tell me otherwise. Come on. We both know that's a pitiful excuse and a lie.

And then they messed up my timecard and tried to not pay me for a day.

The amount of red flags with this company are worrying, and I'm not about to recommend that anyone work there. But I'm also not really in a position to throw away an employment opportunity. So for now I'm just going to hope that things get better and that things pick up and I can keep my job despite the fact that there's nothing for me to do there at the moment.

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As someone who has been on the job hunt now for over five months, I feel your exhaustion and newfound relief at having employment. However, the red flags you pointed out here are definitely troubling. In a normal economic scenario, I would definitely say you should bail out as soon as possible. But considering how the COVID-19 pandemic's effects still haven't abated, it might be too risky. Perhaps best to stay on for the next four months or so, especially if the healthcare benefits (medical, dental, and vision?) are substantial enough to cover you in the worst case scenario (i.e. getting COVID-19). To be fair, this company might seem to be in such a disarray as a result of what has happened due to the pandemic, but I wouldn't give them that excuse for very long. If by four months you still see vagaries in their pay scales to you, miscommunications about basic duties, or worse, definitely look to find employment elsewhere that will (most importantly) utilize your abilities and skills to the utmost, not leave you bored or wondering what is going on.

I'm sure you did your research beforehand, but what is this company's reputation? When you do a Google search, what kinds of reviews and comments come up from past employees or other competitors? If the word is not good, you definitely don't want to spend too long there as the harm done to your resume will affect you almost as much as being unemployed with no benefits. Over the past five months, there were definitely opportunities where I could've said yes to jobs that were definitely beneath my skill level and for companies with less than stand-out reputations. In spite of my need to have income again, I rejected them in order to keep my career goals on track. But I understand that can be hard if you don't have other assets (IRAs, unemployment benefits, stock dividends) to provide you with essentials until you get that better job.

This is a tough time, but I hope for the best for you. Hopefully, my perspective helps you out, even if just a little.

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On 8/12/2020 at 2:08 PM, Bionicle Guru said:

I'm sure you did your research beforehand, but what is this company's reputation? When you do a Google search, what kinds of reviews and comments come up from past employees or other competitors? If the word is not good, you definitely don't want to spend too long there as the harm done to your resume will affect you almost as much as being unemployed with no benefits.

This was the very first red flag, believe it or not, raised even before the interview. There is barely a web presence online with them. Their website is barebones, filled with out of date information and broken links. There are no reviews or comments from past employees or competitors that I could find, barring a workers comp legal matter they were involved with 21 years ago. They are mentioned a few times in local articles, but that's pretty much it. They are very small. Your last sentence there is a good point, but for now I do not believe having the company on my resume will harm me more than the experience will help me. I've been turned down several times for not having paid experience (always emphasis on "paid"), so that is what I need to get under my belt, and believe me once I do I'll start applying again. I'd be surprised if anyone outside the industry has heard of them, much less has an idea of their reputation. And future jobs I'd look for would be outside that industry. (I'm in more of a technical support role. The skills I'm learning are transferable and applicable elsewhere.) 

I realize this is all very vague- I'd rather not give away too many details. Your advice is certainly sound. I was thinking I'd start applying again when I hit the 4-6 month mark. Any sooner and I think that would be a red flag for potential employers. Because if the work then is like the work now.... yikes. You wrote "bored or wondering what was going on" and that pretty much sums up the past month.

Thank you for your response, and I wish you luck with your own endeavors. 

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