Dis­ap­pointed new hire should take bet­ter job of­fer

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Marie G. McIn­tyre is a workplace coach. Send in ques­tions to www.yourof­fice coach.com.

Marie McIn­tyre

Q: Af­ter four months in my new job, I am ex­tremely frus­trated. I was hired to help man­age projects and pro­vide ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port, but now I seem to have be­come my boss’ per­sonal as­sis­tant. While I don’t mind do­ing gen­eral ad­min­is­tra­tive tasks, I don’t think I should have to run her er­rands and make per­sonal calls.

Al­though I was clearly told that project man­age­ment would be a large part of the job, I have yet to be given a task which re­quires those skills. When I asked my man­ager for more com­plex as­sign­ments, she seemed to un­der­stand. How­ever, her idea of a project seems more like ran­dom busy work.

Be­cause this ex­pe­ri­ence has been so dis­ap­point­ing, I re­cently be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing other jobs. It now ap­pears that I may get an of­fer for a more suit­able and re­ward­ing po­si­tion. How­ever, I feel guilty about quit­ting so quickly. If I do get an of­fer, should I ac­cept?

A: Even the most dili­gent and ex­pe­ri­enced ap­pli­cants may en­counter un­pleas­ant sur­prises once they start work. Be­cause it is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine the ac­tual re­quire­ments of a job from out­side, new hires fre­quently suf­fer from un­met ex­pec­ta­tions.

Un­for­tu­nately, such mis­un­der­stand­ings can eas­ily oc­cur dur­ing the hir­ing process. In an ef­fort to at­tract de­sir­able em­ploy­ees, in­ter­view­ers nat­u­rally tend to em­pha­size the pos­i­tive as­pects of the job. Since ea­ger ap­pli­cants tend to be will­ing be­liev­ers, they of­ten ne­glect to ask prob­ing ques­tions.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view process, you were ap­par­ently told that your po­si­tion would in­clude both project man­age­ment and ad­min­is­tra­tive sup­port. But since the re­al­ity ap­pears to be per­sonal er­rands and busy work, I doubt you will ever be happy there.

So if a more suit­able of­fer should hap­pen to come along, don’t feel guilty about ac­cept­ing. Just be sure to ex­am­ine the job care­fully be­fore com­mit­ting, since you don’t want an­other short­term stay on your re­sume.

Q: My co­work­ers con­stantly ask me to help them solve sim­ple prob­lems. When­ever they en­counter an ob­sta­cle, they au­to­mat­i­cally come to me for as­sis­tance. Be­cause I have more than enough to do in my own job, this has be­come very frus­trat­ing.

My man­ager said we should work this out among our­selves. How can I stop these an­noy­ing in­ter­rup­tions?

A: You must de­velop your own strat­egy, and then tell your man­ager what you plan to do.

For ex­am­ple: “I’m al­ways glad to help my co­work­ers solve dif­fi­cult prob­lems, but they keep ask­ing me to do very sim­ple things. While this may be faster for them, these re­quests are in­ter­fer­ing with my own work. I plan to show them ex­actly how to re­solve these is­sues so they can do so in­de­pen­dently in the fu­ture. I would ap­pre­ci­ate your sup­port on this.”

Tell your needy col­leagues about the re­vised ex­pec­ta­tions, teach them what they need to know and pro­vide writ­ten instructions. Af­ter that, you must re­sist any temp­ta­tion to con­tinue help­ing. Oth­er­wise, they will never learn to fly solo.

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