Remember This During Your Job Interview

My new client, Tom, hired me as his Career Coach because he said he was very stressed by his job and wondered if perhaps he was in the wrong career.  His goals for the Career Coaching were two fold:

  • He wanted tips on how to alleviate stress
  • He wanted to determine if he was in the wrong career

He went on to tell me that he took this job in November of last year and felt lucky to have found something during a time when jobs were scarce. 

During the interview process Tom met with the CEO and some of the senior management team for the job interview.  He found them easy to talk to and engaging.  When the job was offered Tom accepted eagerly.

When I asked him what made the job so stressful now, he said that his manager kept committing his team to deadlines that were difficult to meet. This meant that Tom ended up working nights and weekends to complete the work and because they had to rush the work he felt his results were mixed. That disturbed him.

Tom did try to push back on the deadlines but his boss just got angry and refused to discuss it with him. The others on his team complained too but to no avail.

What kind of a relationship did Tom establish with his boss during his initial interview, I wondered.  His answer really surprised me.  He never met with his manager!  He met him for the first time on his first day of work in November.

I asked Tom to think about it from the manager’s point of view.  The CEO and other managers hire someone and never ask the manager to meet the person –never ask if the candidate is the right fit for the department or the job.  How would that feel?

Suddenly Tom saw things from a different perspective.  He actually understood why his boss had been so cool toward him.  Tom was still in a difficult situation.

Tom now saw that he needed to collaborate with his manager and get to understand the work from his perspective.  He had stayed away from his manager and his manager had not sought Tom out unless he had work to give him. Their working relationship was non-existent.

Then Tom told me that his manager confided to Tom recently that he (the manager) would be leaving his job on the last day of the month.  Tom was extremely surprised at that…maybe a little relieved too.

What did Tom learn from our coaching session?  He told me he would never take a position again unless he met the person who would be his manager.  He also said he was going to try to establish a better working relationship with his manager even if it was only for a month.  Having this manager in his network might be valuable in the future.

The job market is getting better and most agree that there will be many people looking to improve their situation by changing jobs.  If this is your situation, be careful to do all the investigative work you need to before accepting a job offer.  This means meeting the manager you will work for as well as some of the colleagues you will work with. 

After our discussion Tom realized that his stress level was directly related to the tension between himself and his boss.  He resolved to try to alleviate this situation even if his boss was leaving in a few weeks.  He also would try to immediately establish a good relationship with the manager who would inevitably replace his current manager.  Tom thought that without the stress of strained relationship with his boss, the work was in fact enjoyable and he was in the right career.


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