Tag Archives: blog conversations

recovering from bad work experiences: after the job offer

welcome to my last instalment of jacob share’s and my conversation on leaving bad work experiences behind. we started this in november and discovered the six stages of recovery from bad work experiences:

we’ve already covered

  1. resign: get the hell out of dodge!
  2. recover: get your bearings before you throw yourself back into the job search
  3. resources: make an inventory of your values, skills, knowledge and experience
  4. research: get the skinny on the people you’re next going to work with
  5. reapply: put yourself on an even foot with the employer
  6. results

so today we’re on to the “results” phase. usually this is:

get a job offer, accept it, phew.

this is how we usually do it, right? but if we’re smart it’s more involved – so involved that i’m thinking that “what happens after you get the job offer” could be a whole different series of posts …

however, i digress.

let me tell you a better sequence than get – accept – phew:

  • negotiate: once you get the offer, don’t say yes right away. this is the time for questions and negotiations: they want you and you are in the power seat. discuss benefits, vacation, work hours, start date and similar topics.
  • time off: when discussing the start date, unless you are totally strapped for money, build in some free time. you just left a difficult job, went through unemployment and a job search – one of the most stressful events in a person’s life – and you need to reward yourself with a day or so where you can take a breather. either take some time off now, before the job starts, or get a day or so right at the beginning of the first few weeks. you can tell your prospective employer that you had already booked day X and it would be difficult for you to reschedule. i’ve never seen an employer refuse that.
  • make a considered decision: unless you are 100% percent sure that you want the job and the chances of regretting it later are minute, give yourself some time. a graceful way of doing that that i have always seen work is saying something like, “thank you, this is marvellous! i have a policy of making important decisions within 24 hours. can i call you tomorrow at 10?” (by the way, that is a good policy!) if you have a feeling that this isn’t the right job, i urge you not to give in to panic and keep on looking.
  • stay alert: once you start your new job, don’t ditch your job search completely. there is a reason why the first 3-6 months are a probationary period. obviously, you won’t continue a full-fledged search – but keep your eyes open.
  • keep that resume fresh: even after the probationary period, never stop updating your resume.

why do this? of course, you want to be prepared. but more than that, doing this will remind you that you are in charge of your job and your job search. with that frame of mind, chances are you’ll never find yourself in a bad employment situation again.

(this post was included in the “i want to change my family tree” carnival) 

recovering from bad work experiences: out on the hunt again

this is another instalment of jacob share’s and my conversation on leaving bad work experiences behind. we started this last month, and pointed out the six stages of recovery from bad work experiences: resign, recover, resources, research, re-apply and results.

we’ve already covered

  • resign (get the hell out of dodge!)
  • recover (get your bearings before you throw yourself back into the job search),
  • resources (make an inventory of your values, skills, knowledge and experience) and
  • research (get the skinny on the people you’re next going to work with)

jacob and one of his guest bloggers, andrew rondeau, have some great advice regarding the “re-apply” phase – that’s when you go out there and look for a new job. a good job. a better job!

don’t forget that the job interview goes both ways – not only do they interview you, you interview them as well. in that interview, don’t be shy to ask smart questions like “when did you last ask for feedback on your management style, and what were the results?”

sounds pretty forward, doesn’t it? but if management style is important to you, why wouldn’t you ask such a question? of course, because you’ve inventoried your resources, you know what’s important to you in a new job, and you’ll craft the questions that will help you find out what you need to know about this organization.

apart from the background research and the job interview, there are many more clues that can give you a sense for your new work environment. pay particular attention to the receptionist: he or she is the organization’s human business card. how friendly, polite, upbeat and bright does he or she appear? again, what are your values? what type of receptionist would you like to have around? if the receptionist isn’t quite to your liking, ask yourself what that says about the organization.

another clue is how you are invited to the job interview. are you being told to show up at a certain time and place, or are you given a choice? what’s your first impression of the voice on the other end of the line? with the exception of large organizations, in most cases, the person you’re talking to will be a potential boss or supervisor. does that person sound like someone you’d like to work with?

do you have any more tips on how to tell whether an organization is good to work for?

(this post was listed in the carnival of healing at reiki digest

blog conversation: dealing with bad work experiences, part 2

yesterday we started a discussion of bad job experiences – part of a blog conversation i’m having with jacob share from the job mob.

so yesterday we set the scene – an awful, awful work environment with a boss or co-workers who make your life miserable.

what can you do about it?

here are the first steps back to career health that i’ve helped some clients take:

phase I – resign

  • if you’re still in that horrible environment and you’ve tried a few things to make it better – get out. if your boss or abusiv coworker walks like a monster, talks like a monster and quacks like a monster – guess what, she’s a monster! (well, probably not – but then you’re not his therapist; it’s not your job to help bring out the angel in that person) get away from the job, even if it’s going to cost you a few weeks’ worth of wages.

phase II – recovery

  • once you’re out of that environment, do whatever you need to do to bring your mental and physical health up to speed. if this takes you a few weeks – so be it. dedicate yourself to it. i’ve seen too many people say, “oh no, i can’t afford to go away for a few days/join a gym/catch up on my sleep because i need to look for another job.” jumping immediately back into the labour pool without replenishing your resources hugely increases your chances at landing yet another bad job.

phase III – resources

  • figure out what your values are, especially your social values. your values are a resource; something that helps you live well. most people who find themselves in difficult work environments don’t use this resource very well. questions are, what role does respect play, and how can you tell you’re respected? what type of personal boundaries do you need? which of your values are non-negotiable?
  • make an inventory of your assets. what skills, experience, knowledge, talents and attitudes do you enjoy using at work? in this phase, it’s really important to focus on that. never mind what you’re not so good at (i bet your old boss was very good at pointing that out) – what are you good at? what makes your heart sing?

let’s hear it from you – have you had bad jobs? did you recover from them? what were your first steps towards a better work environment?

i’m looking forward to what you, gentle readers, have to say about it, as well as jacob’s reply. in future posts, we’ll also talk about the last three phases: research, re-apply and results.

(go here for the next instalment)

blog conversation: dealing with bad work experiences

what was the worst job you’ve ever had? what are ways of surviving that experience – and not just surviving but learning from it and thriving in the next job?

that’s the topic of a blog conversation jacob from the job mob and i will be having in the next little while. jacob started it off in his post recovering from bad work experiences by mentioning a few very unpleasant work situations, for example

  • being yelled at by a receptionist for daring to follow up after sending over a CV
  • told 7 months in advance that i was going to be laid off
  • sitting in a tense meeting listening to one executive berate another one

these experiences leave a bad taste in your mouth, even if they happen only once. i remember once being bullied to tears at a meeting; it took me quite a while to get over that.

angry man

it’s even worse when these things happen on a consistent basis. being yelled at is a good example – i can’t tell you how many clients i’ve had who have told me that their supervisor raised his or her voice at them on a regular basis, like a few times a week.

consistently being asked to carry out a boss’s personal tasks and effectively being treated like a servant seems to be high on the list, too. (i once had a job where i was asked to take out the owner’s poodle. to this day i’m grateful i was fired from that job).

and the list goes on …

staying in these work situations is often like staying in a bad marriage. you try and try and try and it doesn’t get better. best case scenario, you learn to live with it. worst case scenario, you end up traumatized the same way people get traumatized by an abusive spouse. and i’d say that even the best case scenario is still pretty lousy.

how do you deal with the fallout, then? how do you get back your self confidence, enthusiasm and motivation so that you can look for better work, don’t go back to yet another bad experience and enjoy your next position?

we’ll talk about that tomorrow.

(image courtesy of orange_beard)
(this post appears in the carnival of life editing and  the december career and job advice blog carnival)