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To be disappointed that my best isn’t good enough...

(42 Posts)
Donatello68 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:02:00

I have successfully run my own little business for 10 years but, due to a recent divorce decided to apply for a job for financial security. There was a shortlist of 3 candidates. I got the job but, suspect that I was only offered the job after someone else turned it down.

I started the job a month ago and have been working 50hr weeks (I am contracted to do 39) as the previous person who had the job, left months ago, and there is a backlog of work. I get the impression that they are still disappointed that the person they originally offered the job to didn’t accept as they keep mentioning this ‘other candidate who they also liked’!!! I have worked flat out to get everything up together without any handover... not sure whether to stay...

Columbine1 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:04:54

Why do you suspect that? Is it your insecurity talking?
Also one month is usually too short a time to decide to leave - can you stay till Xmas & think about it again then?

Twitchingdog Wed 29-Nov-17 21:05:07

If you need the money stay
Get your self employed business up and running again then leave
Look for another job
Only work 40 hours

Dozer Wed 29-Nov-17 21:07:29

Being second choice doesn’t mean “your best” wasn’t good enough, just that they had a candidate they wanted more. V rude of them to mention this.

50 hours a week isn’t easy: is there scope to reduce this?

Dozer Wed 29-Nov-17 21:08:07

I wouldn’t leave without something else lined up.

NoSquirrels Wed 29-Nov-17 21:11:36

They don't sound like great employers, if they keep mentioning other candidates - deeply unprofessional. Could this be why the previous postholder left with such a backlog of work?

Have a frank conversation around your workload, the steps you have taken, and priorities. Say you have been working 50 hour weeks but this cannot continue - what is the plan. Go from there.

Don't just quit.

Donatello68 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:16:13

The guy who did the job before was there for 12 years. No one really knew what he did and he didn’t leave any notes or workings. They expect me to be able to carry on where he left off. I have since discovered that he asked for an assistant before he left and didn’t get one!

It is upsetting that they keep mentioning the other candidate. By the sounds of it, she wanted more money than they would pay.

Jamontoast123 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:19:22

It’s early days , you’ve only recently divorced . Give yourself a break !
You got the job ! Don’t presume that the other one was chosen first.
Whoever this employee is who keeps mentioning the other candidate .... perhaps ask her if she knew the person. She will say no - then reply - ‘well let’s carry on with the job at hand then not speak of a non existent employee. As there’s so much work that I need to be getting in with’
Stay put for at least 3 months (if you can) by then the workload should reduce ... I hope x

1Wanda1 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:20:14

It's hard starting any new job.

Don't measure yourself against your imagined ideas of what your employer wanted. You can't know that. Just focus on doing your best. And if you need the money, definitely don't jack it in without another job to go to!

Donatello68 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:21:12

I have 20 years experience in my area so know what I am doing. I think that I am going to try and pick up some contract work. It is tricky when I am working such long hours and am a single parent. I used to work 4 day weeks with my own business.

mishfish Wed 29-Nov-17 21:23:37

OP in my previous employment I was told (not by my manager who hired me) that she felt she made a mistake hiring me. It hurts when you’re trying your best.

My only suggestion is to be very transparent with them- there is a massive back log, you haven’t had a handover, this is unsustainable going forward. flowers

Butterymuffin Wed 29-Nov-17 21:29:40

Yes, be upfront about the backlog, don't let it go unmentioned. Do not do beyond your contracted hours. Tell them you can only make inroads into the backlog bit by bit so they will need to say if there are things they want you to prioritise.

Long term I think you're right to look for something else. But stick it out till after Christmas, when you'll have done over two months, and there will be a New Year flurry of jobs up for grabs.

Donatello68 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:29:57

Thanks for your advice and support everyone! It is so demoralising when I am trying my best and am working very hard. It was a difficult decision to have wound up a good business but, I thought that it might give financial security for my children.

Donatello68 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:31:57

They just expect the work to be magically done. They make me feel like I am letting them down by taking longer as I have to try and work it all out myself.

mishfish Wed 29-Nov-17 21:36:20

Do they have a clear understanding of the extent of the backlog?

Viviennemary Wed 29-Nov-17 21:37:44

It is a bit insensitive of them to keep going on about the other candidate. I agree that you should mention the backlog. And stop doing any more than your contracted hours give or take a reasonable amount of time. Certainly not 11 hours a week over your time. Give it a bit longer at least till after Christmas and then think again. They do sound unappreciative.

If they do keep going on and on about this other person it might be worth saying something but sometimes when you do you wish you hadn't said anything. IYSWIM.

topcat2014 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:39:30

What line of work is it?
Is it Finance?
If so I could offer some advice

RemainOptimistic Wed 29-Nov-17 21:39:33

Eh? This all sounds very unprofessional of them. Why are you working more than your contracted hours at this early stage? Is there a plan agreed with your manager for your first few weeks in the job? Training, feedback sessions, team meetings etc? All specific dates and times?

Push back now or you're fucked, they'll expect you to work like this for ever.

topcat2014 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:40:27

When you start is the only time you can mention this backlog (which you inherited).

After you have been there a problem, the backlog moves forward in time a bit to your era, and becomes your problem / fault.

user1486076969 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:42:02

I started a new job with a 3 month gap, therefore no direct handover. I'm now 8 months in and only just beginning to feel I'm on top of it! The worst bit was no one being able to explain procedures that only my predecessor had knowledge of. After several months of asking questions to be told "oh, I don't know because X did that" (i.e. more fool you for taking on the job, we're not going to help") did I finally say "I am not X, I've had no handover from X therefore any help/prior knowledge would be much appreciated!"......and they finally got the measure of me.

AlpacaLypse Wed 29-Nov-17 21:46:13

Hmm they're in cloud cuckoo land, I've had clients like this, the upside of running one's own business/being self-employed is that you can find a plausible reason to leave. Sorry OP probably not helpful in your situation...

You need to make it clear that 11 hours + beyond contracted hours is not going to be happening long term.

NoSquirrels Wed 29-Nov-17 21:46:13

Look, if they've had 12 years of someone just sorting it without them needing to be involved, and that someone thought they needed an assistant and didn't get one, then they are probably the types to think it will "get magically sorted".

You can present them with a plan of exactly what you CAN achieve in 39 hours, and if they ask for more, tell them how long each part takes and ask for their suggestions on priorities. Be clear about your boundaries - both of the role you have to perform, and of not being disrespected when they mention the previous candidate. It's OK to say "You have mentioned them a few times and it's starting to feel a little awkward - perhaps you don't mean it to come across that way, but it makes me feel you're doubting my ability."

Look for another job in the meantime, but don't quit just because you feel you're not good enough. It's very likely them not you, but it's helpful not to jump too soon from this first employment after winding up your business, because you don't want to inadvertently create a suspicion in any future employer's mind that a very short stint at a job means you're not suited to being an employee after so long self-employed.

Donatello68 Wed 29-Nov-17 21:47:59

User - that is exactly the situation!! It is an old fashioned company so everything is done a very manual and long winded way.
Topcat - yes, it is finance. Although I have 20 years experience, they have very unique and overly complex systems.

Marmighty Wed 29-Nov-17 22:00:15

Now you’re a month in you have to good opportunity to go to them and give an assessment of your position, including backlog, and present a plan of action. E.g. ‘I’ve had a month to assess the situation and very worked hard to get that done as quickly as possible. I can now see that there are X tasks which were outstanding from the previous staff member, and they will take X weeks/months to complete on their own. That is of course in addition to the current day to day work. To get this role fully functional I also need to write various procedures, create assess and refine Y processes, blah blah. I therefore would like to agree priorities, and propose that I blah blah and aim to deal with the backlog within the next three/five months. Obviously if there are competing priorities then I am happy to change my focus but that will impact the timeline.’

You need to make your position clear and transparent but also offer a realistic solution that you think you can deliver without completely burning out. Just try to keep everything professional and about the tasks that need completing. Ignore any comments about the other candidate or respond with a tinkly laugh and ‘oh I wish they did work here, they could help me sort out this dreadful backlog and mess!’.

Maelstrop Wed 29-Nov-17 22:06:42

I think having a word with whoever is banging on about the other candidate might be useful. Why do they keep raising it? And what part of there being an unsustainable backlog do they not get?

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