Either dodging a bullet or burning a bridge.

My job search has taken an interesting turn in the past few days.  Like I mentioned a few days ago, I had an offer for a contract job that sounded really amazing. The start date has officially been pushed back twice. It was originally supposed to start two Wednesdays ago, and then last Wednesday, and finally this Wednesday. And it’s been beyond frustrating.

Since it was getting pushed back so much, and June 1st (=rent) is quickly approaching, I kept applying for other jobs. After all, this is a contract job that was only supposed to be four weeks anyway. And even though I had an offer, the fact that the start date kept getting pushed back made me feel like it wasn’t really a sure thing. I think that’s reasonable.

On Friday, while going through the many job alert emails I receive on a daily basis, I found one that looked great, and would be really similar to my last job in Indianapolis, which I loved. It was through the agency that I worked with last summer, so I knew what to expect (weekly pay and good communication from the recruiters).

Friday afternoon, I finally heard back from the recruiter for Job #1. They wanted to know if I have my own laptop that I could use.  Yes, I do have my own laptop. But… I’ve had it for almost four years. It isn’t very up to date with software, so I probably would have had to upgrade some of it (at least my OS and probably Office as well), because I would likely need a newer version of Excel.  And honestly – I don’t feel very comfortable using my personal computer in an office that can presumably afford to provide office equipment for me. Is that too much to ask?

But like I said, I need to start bringing in a paycheck. So I said I could use my laptop.

Then I get a call about Job #2, wanting me to come in for an interview Monday afternoon. I decided to go for it.

THEN I got an email back from job #1 saying they wanted me to start on Wednesday – in their Hoboken office. I can get there on public transit, but it would add at least another half hour each way to my commute (compared with their other office in midtown, which I was originally told I would be working at). I agreed to it, but certainly had reservations about it. No one wants to go to New Jersey unless that absolutely have to (okay, maybe not. But I didn’t.)

So I decided to plan on starting on Wednesday, but still go to the interview on Monday. I’ve always been taught that in job searching, it’s important to pursue all options until you have something concrete. That’s what I’ve been doing all along.

Then, this morning, I got a phone call from a different person from the staffing agency for job #1. She said that she would MEET ME AT THE HOBOKEN OFFICE on Wednesday morning at 9:15 to “walk me in.” Um, what? Seriously? That seemed really strange to me, but I said okay. I don’t think I would have had a choice. But it concerned me – what do employers think of that? Do the recruiters think I need a babysitter or something?

I’ve temped enough to know that there’s already a (MIS)perception that people who temp are incompetent or that they temp because they are not capable of getting jobs through normal means. I don’t think that’s true. I like being able to test out a job for a few weeks. I’ve accepted a long-term job after temping for a few months, and it’s a great way to get a foot in the door. And for someone who is in a new city, or not entirely sure what kind of company she wants to work for, temping can be great. The hiring process is generally MUCH faster in temp jobs, too. And it rarely requires negotiating about salary- I just say how much I want to make, and the agency negotiates. Perfect for me! I don’t think it makes me any less qualified because I choose to keep it as a tool in my job search.

So, this afternoon I had the interview at job #2. And it was perfect. I loved the company and the people who interviewed me. The type of work aligns really well with my experience, and the culture seems great. They have summer Fridays, which I’ve always dreamt about (even though they’re less exciting for hourly employees…). The interviewer said that she’d want someone to start TOMORROW.

I chose that point to come clean about job #1. I explained that I was really interested in job #2, but I had already committed to job #1. I also explained that I had some hesitations about job #1, and would consider not taking it if I was offered job #2. She said that she had another interview scheduled at 4:30, and was going to make a decision by the end of the day, so she’d need to know ASAP.

So I left the interview completely conflicted, and made pros/cons lists in my head:

Job #1:
Pros:

  • Pays more (a lot more..)
  • Email Marketing

Cons:

  • New Jersey
  • Bringing my own computer
  • Might be a little over my head technically (but I could figure it out)
  • Only had a phone interview, so I didn’t get to actually meet anyone or see the office
  • Weird vibe from the recruiting agency

Job #2:
Pros:

  • Nice office (across the street from a TV show hosted by a certain famous Ball State alum!)
  • Nice people who I felt like I could work with
  • MUCH shorter commute (only 3 stops into Manhattan!)
  • Work I know I can do and do well

Cons:

  • Lower pay
  • Part-time (3 days a week)

On the train on the way back, my phone instantly rang the second I was above ground (and this was probably 15 minutes after my interview ended). They loved me! They wanted me enough to cancel their other interview that they had scheduled this afternoon. I explained my dilemma to my recruiter, and asked if I could think about it for maybe an hour. So I did.

I picked job #2, and I start tomorrow. I felt terrible calling my recruiter for job #1. I know I probably burned that bridge. But I had to go with my gut on this one. Too many job searchers are constantly put at the mercy of employers, and I think it’s really important to think about myself above all in this situation. I chose what’s best for me. If I’m not looking out for myself in my job search – who will? I hope if any potential employers read this, they’ll remember that job searchers are people too, and deserve to be treated with respect. If you jerk us around, we’re less likely to feel any loyalty toward you.

I think I made the right choice, but I guess I’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

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4 Responses to Either dodging a bullet or burning a bridge.

  1. Rachel says:

    You sound like you made the right decision!

  2. Steph Auteri says:

    The peeps from Job #1 can’t be too pissed. They jerked you around for weeks regarding the start date, refused to provide you with a work computer, changed the actual job location at the last second, and were generally shady. You made the right decision.

  3. Seashell says:

    I think you made the right choice. You have to do what is right for you because the recruiters really don’t look out for you. I agree with you about how they treat the people doing temp work as if they need a babysitter! I called my recruiter on it and it embarrassed him a little, I think. I explained I was a professional, and if I say I am going to do something or be somewhere, then I will. I can’t help but wonder what type of people they are used to dealing with.

    Congrats on the new job! YAY Kristin!

  4. Marianne says:

    Right Choice!!!!!

    The red flag is “higher salary” but you have to “provide your own laptop”. If a company
    can not provide computer tools for the type of work you do then “change around” workplace locations like that, they don’t sound too stable. Very risky at the least. You did the right thing. Might have been ok, but then it might have been a disaster. You have too much to offer an employer to have to deal with that.

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