SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Hacking employment, improving work, professional skill development
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plantingourpennies
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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by plantingourpennies » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:21 am

Three things:

1. Don't get down on yourself about this. You've got more going on than 95% of the people that work at fortune 500 companies, and are wealthy enough to laugh it off.

2. Figure out what the areas for improvement are. There is a small chance that they are legitimate concerns...to me the situation reads more like a cultural mis-match between you and your employer. Offices are tribal and the tribe fears what it doesn't understand.

3. Take the severance. Between 2008 and 2010 I was fired from a auto repair shop and quit two retail jobs. I didn't include any of that on the resume that got me my current job.

I've been on the other side of the table, and have had to tell a dozen or so new college grads that it isn't working out. The improvement/coaching period at my company is just so HR can show that you received coaching so you can't sue later. The 5 weeks of severance is a way for everybody get out of the situation with their pride and honor intact. If I understand the situation correctly I would hold my head high, gratefully accept the coaching, and try not to giggle too much when they walk me to the door.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by C40 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:22 am

BRUTE wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:38 pm
C40 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:20 pm
unresponsively chatty
what is that
Ha, whoops. I meant unresponsiBly -- err - actually, irresponsibly. ugh

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Ego
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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Ego » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:35 am

Could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

This is from another thread from a long time ago.
TopHatFox wrote:
Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:18 pm
If I can combine that with some work I like for those years (working on a research sailboat by leveraging my two sail boat study away adventures, then I'll be externally fulfilled for those years and externally wealthy).
If there is anyone on this board who could achieve their post-ERE life without actually spending years grinding away at some miserable job, it is you.

Here's a job that might require less sailing into the wind to get where you want to go. I'm sure there are many others like it.

https://www.adventureindustrypro.com/jo ... s-manager/

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by TopHatFox » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm

The results are in. Below is the feedback they gave me.

Pros of me:

1. Has a can-do, optimistic attitude
2. Fixes mistakes soon after they're mentioned
3. Arrives and leaves on time or earlier/later
4. Works throughout time at work, no social media or other distractions
5. Goes out to social outings with the firm; is liked by people in the office
6. Asks for new projects and extra work
7. Dresses professionally and comes prepared for work

Things I was told to work on:

1. Excel training was had and was still asking about certain formulas and how they work, made a few calculation and misspelling errors
2. Was given a training project and did not follow an instruction for that project the first time around
3. Said "he's not here right now, can I take a message?" instead of "He stepped away from his desk. Would you like me to take a message for you?"
4. Used earphones while working and didn't pick up the phone enough
5. Did not adapt previous feedback to new problems the first time around, instead asked how to solve the new problems directly
6. Did not internalize feedback right away, and asked for a few extensions while working on other projects
7. Asked for a refresher on bond pricing after training was had on the subject

------------------------

Commentary:

In my defense, I used earphones to focus on getting projects done in an open floor plan. I also think being expected to adapt previous feedback to new problems the first time around is a tall order. Not being able to ask for refreshers is too. I asked for a few extensions because I needed to focus on my first client meeting coming up. I agree with what another poster said - the private wealth management culture is cutthroat. They need the best of the best at their best at all times for long hours. That's just not where I fit in. I tried my best to meet their standards, but nothing I did was enough, even while trying to be as "can-do" as possible. It was particularly difficult to be as detail oriented as I was being asked to be after working for so many hours day after day, week after week.

I think part of the mismatch here was that I am strong Intuitive Feeler. In my opinion, the job role was best suited for a Sensing Thinker. I originally thought something like financial planning would best benefit from someone who can think about big ideas and be good with people. Instead, the job was more about making Excel models and client meeting preparation materials on time and with 100% accuracy.

Now looking back, I felt "fragged" after a week of work. My partner noticed and mentioned this a few times. I would feel immediately better after a weekend of hiking and spending time with friends or her. This "fragged" feeling only got worse as the weeks went by. After not working today, that feeling is dissipating and I feel like I can go in and work there again. This is a trap, as that feeling and the problems would only return. Perhaps this also has something to do with the amount of time worked. Maybe working 40 hours instead of 50-60 would be better. Maybe working 20-30 would be even better.

I think the ultimate lesson to take on all of this is that I should find work that I like and am suited for, with people that I like, in a place that I like, within a reasonable number of hours. I also do agree with them that being even better at internalizing feedback immediately and permanently would be good. Same with improving detail-oriented work. Better yet, focus on work best suited for an INFJ, rather than trying to get better at work suited for an ISTJ.

What do you all think?

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Scott 2 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:04 pm

Find a place with a 37.5 or 40 hour week, the culture will be completely different. You don't need the high pay that comes with that type of anal retentive behavior.

Do not miss dates. Predictably is the single most important aspect of being an employee.

Under promise what you'll do, so you have the time to figure problems out on your own and never miss your agreed upon deadline. It's irritating to have junior employees bother you with basic stuff they could figure out doing some research online, talking to their peers, or double checking their work.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by BRUTE » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:51 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm
I should find work that I like and am suited for, with people that I like, in a place that I like, within a reasonable number of hours.
this sounds good. it's hard to change the self. it's easier to go to a place where the current self is already a good fit.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by GandK » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:41 am

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm
Better yet, focus on work best suited for an INFJ, rather than trying to get better at work suited for an ISTJ.
Best conclusion for lifelong pursuits, although you may find, as I did, that the work you most enjoy as an INFJ is not particularly profitable:
Where INFJs fall flat is in work focusing on impersonal concerns, mundanity, and high-profile conflict. (More...)
This sentence is painfully true, and eliminates most white collar work from theoretical consideration as it perfectly encapsulates corporate America. But I've found it possible to happily pursue almost any task as an INFJ if my focus is on the people I'm helping by accomplishing it, rather than on the specifics of the task.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Seppia » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:23 am

Reading the feedback and your comments it really seems that it just wasn't a good fit.
What happened is good I think, you would just have been miserable there.

Please allow me a suggestion: I don't want to sound arrogant or similar, but I will probably. Sorry about that in advance, believe me I'm just trying to help.

Many young people choose their first line of work base on the money they can make, some perception about the status the job will bring, some peer pressure (family) or idealistically something "they love".
I would recommend a more pragmatic approach: try your best to find something you're GOOD at, even if it's not the first choice that you would pick.
If you work in something you're good at you will
- enjoy it more. Human beings are basic, we tend to like stuff that we naturally excel at. Think sports: I never enjoyed soccer. Guess what: I am probably the least talented Italian on the planet for soccer.
So if you'll work in something that naturally comes easy to you, it will immediately be more fun (or more bearable: I like my job but I'd rather be hiking the Alps than in the office)
- probably be among the best performers: this will have the obvious advantages of 1) helping you do better financially faster and 2) increase your leverage in any type of future negotiations (going part time, sabbaticals etc). Employers are always more flexible and accommodating with the requests of the employees they don't want to lose

In bocca al lupo!*

* Italian for "good luck". It literally means "in the mouth of the wolf". I know this doesn't make any sense

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by IlliniDave » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:27 am

Well, the good news is that you received a good bit of positive feedback along with the negative, and the positive shows that you show up every day and work. In the long run that's huge for you. It seems like the crux of the issue is meeting deadlines and the tendency to ask people for help maybe more frequently than is normal.

Deadlines are always important, but I think for entry-level people it is easier to stay below the radar in that respect in a larger corporation with more of a teamwork culture. In my little microcosm, which exists inside of megaCorp America, asking questions is viewed as a plus, but once the information is provided you have to run with it, and any issues that might impact the schedule need to be socialized ASAP rather than waiting until the day before the deadline to announce more time is required. Not saying that's what you did, but in the tiny corner of the corporate universe I am familiar with, little is worse than sitting on bad news until the last second.

I personally don't buy into Briggs Meyers enough that I would rely on it to select the optimal job for me. I never spent any time looking for an optimal job. I got by through the luck of getting onboard with a large company which offered many opportunities beyond what I was hired for, and being naturally flexible. I was raised old school so I viewed it as my responsibility to be what my employer wanted if I wanted them to give me money, rather than expecting my employer to accommodate my personality and give me a paycheck to boot. I know people who stay unemployed and/or under-employed most of the time because they hold out for some sort of perfect job that will reward them extraordinarily well for just being themselves. Nothing wrong with that unless you are trying to sprint to ER.

I didn't see if you said whether you took the severance or not, but like they say, 90% is bothering to show up. The other 10% will come in time.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by BRUTE » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:26 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:27 am
I personally don't buy into Briggs Meyers enough that I would rely on it to select the optimal job for me.
brute is also a MB denier, but it's very possible just to get a "feel" for a job, or a vibe of the office, when interviewing. for example, how do humans talk to each other? are they very relaxed, stressed out, uncaring, friendly, uptight, what are they wearing? if the office immediately seems as a place THF could imagine himself hanging out and being successful and happy, that's at least not a red flag.

for example, brute has interviewed with companies that seemed so stressed out and uptight over trivial (to the interviewing brute) things, and they talked about other employees and ex-employees so ruthlessly and disrespectfully, that brute has declined job offers. similarly, brute has declined offers where the company presented itself as very greedy and disrespectful towards brute (not greedy in the money sense, but trying to nickel and dime brute, pressure him towards making a decision, other high pressure sales tactics).

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by FBeyer » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:58 pm

Reading the feedback it seems to me like your pros are really great pros, and the cons are ridiculously minor, to the point of needlessly anal retentive.

My list would look more like:

Cons of me:

1. Has a fuck off-Im-busy-enough-as-it-is, attitude
2. Rarely fixes mistakes after they're mentioned
3. Arrives and leaves like he's perpetually on LSD
4. Never, has-he-ever responded to direct verbal communication in the office
5. When asked to join a meeting, happily tells people to fuck off with reference to point 1 above
6. Openly asks people to finish their shit so he's not the one stuck with documenting their shitty-as-fuck software
7. Where are your GOD DAMNED SHOES? AND SLEEVELESS SHIRTS ARE NOT ACCEPTED ATTIRE. YOU SIMIAN!

Pros of me:

1. Can always relay down to the minute when he'll stop telling his superiors to fuck off due to work overload
2. Sometimes (grudgingly) fixes mistakes. Sometimes also fixes other people's mistakes... Sometimes.
3. Arrives at work most days
4. Wears headphones with concentration music that completely 'zones him out' from office chit chat
5. Is funny (as long as he's not working)
6. Always comes up with more ideas than he can research for himself in a lifetime.
7. Never complains about rain

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by jacob » Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:26 pm

What are pros in one line of business/project/situation/profession/team can be and often are cons in another and vice versa.

Employers everywhere are looking for employees that 1) get the work done; and 2) are easy to work with.

Recommendation is to match the pros/cons (=requirements) of the business/.../... to your personal pros/cons thus resulting in the minimum amount of friction. If that's not possible, then match the pros and mitigate the cons.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by BeyondtheWrap » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:00 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm
Things I was told to work on:

1. Excel training was had and was still asking about certain formulas and how they work

5. Did not adapt previous feedback to new problems the first time around, instead asked how to solve the new problems directly
Considering your posting behavior in general on this forum, the above does not surprise me in the least.
FBeyer wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:58 pm
the cons are ridiculously minor, to the point of needlessly anal retentive.
Agreed. They should be more understanding, considering that TopHatFox is still new and this is his first job of this kind.

Since TopHatFox is about at the 3-month mark, that makes me think this is one of those companies that simply hires new employees and fires them after three months in order to avoid paying the benefits associated with permanent employment.

I agree with everyone else saying, find a company that is better suited to your personality.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Augustus » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:03 pm

I'm going to come in contrary here, my read on this is: you fucked up.

The most important thing you can do here is understand why.

The list they gave you is full of shit for the most part, they aren't Chinese so they aren't going to just level with you, besides, that could net them a lawsuit so there's no benefit in being honest, yay legal system!

Knowing that you aren't going to get the truth directly, you can approach it from other angles.

From what I gather you pissed off multiple people and dropped the ball. Not being reachable or not listening and doing a quality job sound like the primary complaints. It doesn't sound like this was a one off, you were trained multiple times and did not follow the training, that is a serious problem.

Nothing you can do about that job now, it's over. In the future you need to be A LOT more attentive to other people and their impression of you. What decision makers think of you is far more important than doing the actual work, don't let anyone fool you into believing otherwise. You should never be blindsided about being let go, there were many warning signs that you missed in this job.

If it makes you feel better I was fired from a job when I was closer to your age as well, same kinds of problems. Do better, and don't blame other people, this is on you. You missed warning signs, next time pay more attention, and respond appropriately.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:44 am

@Augustus, the problem wasn't with not listening. I understood they needed error-free work and my phone on me at all times. The problem was with actually being able to execute that day after day for 10 hours a day. There's a reason why their staff is tiny, and all early twenty-somethings from top-tier schools. From overheard conversations, they have significant difficulty finding people that can fit the bill.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:19 am

Based on reports from my DD26 and her peers, I believe that TopHatFox is accurately describing the situation and his experience. It is commonplace theseadays for graduates from top schools with not immediately useful skill sets to be run through some sort of strange wringer. My DD26's first job was in a contract position for a corporation that held a contract with another much larger corporation. The new hires were given assignments for which they were given scores and prizes, almost in direct analogy to a video game. The assignment my daughter was given required the ability to read VERY quickly and accurately for many hours, so she earned the top score for the entire pyramid of corporations for a few weeks, and was eventually offered promotion to a "permanent" managerial job on this basis. Then the subsidiary corporation which employed her was outbid by another small corporation for sub-contract with larger corporation, so at the age of 24 she was left with the responsibility of shutting down all operations of her branch, and then exiting her own no longer existent position.

I don't think that any of us who retain any notion of the era of gold-watch-presented-at-party after 40 years of service careers are quite yet grokking the "just-in-time" present day employment market.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Ego » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:20 am

Augustus wrote:
Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:03 pm
What decision makers think of you is far more important than doing the actual work, don't let anyone fool you into believing otherwise.
@olaz: New jobs are hard because it can be extremely challenging to figure out what they really want from you vs what they tell you they want. Kinda like a marriage. :? It is hard to figure out what is a priority and what box-checking can be ignored. Often the person telling you what they want (HR) has no idea what they really want. That's where your social skills come in.

Augustus did you a favor by giving you bullshit-free advice. Maybe he is not precisely correct in every detail, I don't know, but in my opinion the quote above is 100% accurate.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:31 am

@Ego:

It's not like a marriage anymore. It's more like a 3 month stand. The Way We Live Now. Bankers, engineers, and educators are now like punk musicians in the 80s, living "Job to Job. Body to Body." And the fact that the employment market is largely gender egalitarian means that the "Job to Job" is to a fairly large degree dictating the "Body to Body." For instance, if my BF were to decide to accept a lucrative year-long contract in Dubai, would I choose to go with him? I don't think anybody who has not been active on the employment or dating market for a number of years quite has a feel for this yet.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:13 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:19 am
I don't think that any of us who retain any notion of the era of gold-watch-presented-at-party after 40 years of service careers are quite yet grokking the "just-in-time" present day employment market.
This is true, although I think that despite my being a bit of an anachronism, I get it to some degree via intuition. That's one of the things that's put me off about the option to leap first, then go find another job that pays professional-level wages if it proves to be a mistake. The world has passed me by. Luckily I'm not racing.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Scott 2 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:27 am

. What decision makers think of you is far more important than doing the actual work, don't let anyone fool you into believing otherwise
Yes, dance for the king's amusement!

IMO better to be enter a firm with an agenda for your career, and an expectation to use them to further it. The relationship is a mutual exchange. They do not hold all the strings, and once both sides recognize it, the relationship is waaay better. Over the long term, this makes you very valuable, with minimal BS in your life.

If they're looking for a one sided, "we hold all the cards" relationship, get out. It's not worth it.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Augustus » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:44 am

TopHatFox wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:44 am
@Augustus, the problem wasn't with not listening. I understood they needed error-free work and my phone on me at all times. The problem was with actually being able to execute that day after day for 10 hours a day. There's a reason why their staff is tiny, and all early twenty-somethings from top-tier schools. From overheard conversations, they have significant difficulty finding people that can fit the bill.
If other people can do it so can you, just figure out how. When I start new projects my first priority is determining how productive other staff members are, how much they work, etc. The key to survival is being as good as or 10% better than your peers. I have found this usually means I end up doing about 3 real hours of work a day. This is the importance of perception, you need to be perceived to be as good as or a little better than anyone else. If you get that perception established to decision makers, you're set.

Most people probably worked less time than you, but looked better.

If they truly demanded 10 hr days then it's a positive that you left. But when you leave you need to be the one quitting, not getting fired. And you need to be perceived as awesome until you do quit, always leave on a high note. Riggerjack is correct, the pool you're pissing in is small. Getting fired means you fucked up.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by distracted_at_work » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:04 pm

TopHatFox wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:07 pm
Now looking back, I felt "fragged" after a week of work. My partner noticed and mentioned this a few times. I would feel immediately better after a weekend of hiking and spending time with friends or her. This "fragged" feeling only got worse as the weeks went by. After not working today, that feeling is dissipating and I feel like I can go in and work there again. This is a trap, as that feeling and the problems would only return. Perhaps this also has something to do with the amount of time worked. Maybe working 40 hours instead of 50-60 would be better. Maybe working 20-30 would be even better.
I didn't realize you were looking for a 2nd job as a result of this event taking place. I'll have to line up with Augustus and say welcome to reality. You fucked up. Of course you feel better after a weekend of hiking and being with friends... we all do. The workday is time to buckle down and work. Early retirement isn't some freebie. You need to put the hard work in. We all want less hours.

Relevant experience. I had a summer student use earphones in our open floor plan and it was enraging for all of us in the office. Between that disengagement with the work, the people on top of constant mistakes with easy, trained-for, work; I would have fired her in two weeks. I couldn't because it was the daughter of the boss. I see a new hire the same way. You haven't earned the right to put headphones in. Ask yourself.. what value did you give the company in three months? Was it all training time? Did you make them any money? Did you work as hard as the people around you? You got let go after a probationary period. Time for serious reflection on what went wrong and how to move forward.

If I'm being harsh it's because you are roughly a year younger than me and I see this behavior in some of my peers. The workplace isn't university.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by TopHatFox » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:29 pm

I'm not going to argue here. Honestly. Getting to FI takes hard work, yes, but working 50-60 hours a week in a high-stress environment is not a pre-requisite. I've already acknowledged areas where I can do better, and the goal as always is to improve.

That said, I'm looking for a new job now, one that I'm suited better for and that doesn't treat me like shit. "The real world" is big, and there are less-stressful jobs in better places than NYC. I don't give a shit if it may pay less, the better quality of life is worth it.

I completed or help complete 50-100 projects for clients in 3 months. Technically, I decided to quit after the trial period. ;)

---------------------

Also, I think there's a large problem in a lot of the FIRE boards. It's all "let's stick it through for 5-10 years in hell" to be free later. Fuck that. I used to be in this camp until trying to live that day to day. I'm now more staunchly on Joshua Sheat's wagon of building a career/life you wouldn't want to retire from.

I'd turn the question around on you both and ask whether your careers are worth having around if they may or may not make you miserable daily?

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by Seppia » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:21 pm

When I hire new people that have zero working experience I don't expect them to "make me money" or "provide value" in the first three months.
If they do, the job is too easy or I'm not giving them challenging enough stuff.
If a company expects a new inexperienced hire to immediately be productive in the real sense of the term, well, I think the problem is with said company.

At the beginning for junior employees I'm looking for potential and social skills.

Mostly:
- can I trust you
- are you proactive
- do people like to work with you

Can I trust you means that if you say "I got this" is because you got this, and if you don't, I expect you to say it well before shit hits the fan.
This seems like a possible area for improvement for THF based on what he told us.

Are you proactive means mostly that you are never allowed to come to anybody with a problem if you don't have a proposed solution. It may be a suboptimal one, but that's ok because you're inexperienced.
You can't buy experience at the supermarket, so it takes time.
Being trained to offer a solution helps in building the right mindset.
Apparently the feedback he got mentioned some "asking too many questions he should have the answers already".
Based on my superficial reading of this forum it does seem like THF asks way more questions than the average user.
This may be due to attitude, or just to his age (I suspect he's younger than the average)

The third one is fairly obvious.

The most important thing for THF is to understand WHY this happened, maybe he fucked up, maybe that was just a place full of assholes.
I don't know, and we definitely don't have enough elements to say for sure.
I give it a 50-50 chance.

Who was to "blame" though is completely irrrlevant, as long as THF has learned something from the experience.

There was a Brad Stevens (Celtics coach) quote that I love
"I never lose: I either win or I learn"
Last edited by Seppia on Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: SOS: 3 hours to decide whether to quit career or "improve"? / :

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:22 pm

Why am I thinking about a recent conversation I overheard between a couple older men who were in the same Fraternity? One was recollecting the experience of going through hazing, and the other one replied "Uh, yeah, I didn't do that."

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