Bait and Switch Jobs

by Evil HR Lady on March 28, 2011

Dear Evil HR Lady,

After two years of unemployment, desperate job hunting and massive amount of resumes sent, I was finally HIRED! And now I am miserable. The job is in my career field but it’s a linear move which can be seen as over-experienced issue (not an over-qualified issue). My daily work consists of administrative assisting for an Associate Director which was not included in the job description, as well as working as the Scholarship Coordinator.

After a week on this job, I am bogged down by the immense disorganization in tracking scholarships and donations. The student/recipient money tracking borders on fraudulence. After a recent staff meeting, I realized why my initial suggestions/ideas on improving the system and promoting the program were not encouraged. In the staff organization chart, my position is next to the interns and secretaries. After ten years in the Non-Profit profit, I honestly feel like I was hired on a lie. I was under the impression I would have far more autonomy and not be a paper pusher. My frustration is starting to reflect in my attitude and my performance which is uncharacteristic to my personality.

After finally recovering from a terrible job market, I want to be grateful for this position. But the non-creative, clerical workload, topped with the outright dishonesty in the job description has left me in tears on a daily basis and already planning an exit strategy.

Any suggestions or words of advice on how to proceed with this delicate issue?

To read the answer click here: Bait and Switch Jobs

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

newresource March 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I would advise you to be patient, its hasn't been that long. Change takes time. Do whatever you need to do to relieve stress and blow off steam, but be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day.
You don't want to be the person that comes in like gangbusters trying to change things too quickly, because even if you are right, the perception is that you are new and don't know enough. You will get your oppurtunity.

Be cool.

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Mike C. March 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm

So what do you do about actual bait & switch jobs?

Here like like to tell scientists they'll be doing research in their area of choice, and them have them anything but.

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costofwork March 29, 2011 at 12:20 am

It depends, after you have accepted the position, if you knew in the interview process that you didn't really want it but you went through the process and got the job, and now you hate it. You can keep looking while trying to stomach through it.
If you were told one thing in the interview process and once hired the job is different, then you need to speak to the hiring manager immediately. Maybe its a misunderstanding or a temporary situation.
Now if you are applying/interviewing and you are not 100% clear regarding your responsibilities or you want to be certain, ask for a job preview, or shadow the person currently handling the job, ask to see the work area. Ask questions, ask questions, don't be afraid to ask questions.

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Mike C. March 29, 2011 at 4:09 am

@costofwork

I'm not exaggerating here.

This isn't an issue of "they had a bad feeling" or "they didn't ask enough questions" but "they were hired to do research but are stuck doing the exact opposite". And no, it's not a misunderstanding when the owner yells at someone for complaining, and the owner himself is the hiring manager.

Look, it's great that you have all these strateges to try and prevent bad things from happening. Those work really well when the manager/owner is making a good faith effort in hiring. But when you travel across the world on an H1-B visa being told one thing and you find yourself in another "asking a few more questions" or "talking to the hiring manager" isn't going to cut it.

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costofwork March 29, 2011 at 11:37 am

Mike C

okay, So I will ask you (and I am being sincere) what do you do about bait and switch jobs?

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Suzanne Lucas March 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

Mike C.,

Sometimes bosses are jerks. Sometimes the needs of the company change and therefore the job changes.

If it's truly a situation where they purposely lied to you to get you in the door, I'm not sure what you can really do. If the person is dishonest to begin with, you can't really trust them to change when it's pointed out.

I suppose you could sue them over the false information, but it's doubtful that would be worth your time.

Sometimes people are just not nice.

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Anonymous March 31, 2011 at 9:01 am

@ Mike C: In science, at least, there are a wealth of Internet blogs written by postdocs (many working under H1b visas) about the nasty working conditions which are common in that situation. Postdoc'ing in general is known to be a fairly difficult/exploitative job, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that academic PIs rarely have any managerial skills–it's just a different skill set.

Given the poor employment situation for PhDs in any science field these days, I guess my question would be, "why do they feel they need to sponsor an H1b for this position"? There are thousands upon thousands of citizens looking for even a postdoc, who are completely qualified. That's not an exaggeration, there are at least tens of thousands of scientists, possibly hundreds of thousands, who have been laid off from industry and government scientific jobs. See, for example, Doug Prasher of GFP fame. If a PI still insists that he requires someone from overseas in that situation, well, I've seen the bait-and-switch get a lot worse than merely not doing science; typically, scientists sponsored on H1b are getting paid significantly less (like, half) of what a citizen would be paid, and treated worse than citizens, specifically because they can't leave easily for another job. Mostly I've seen H1b positions filled because the boss is worse than merely "not nice," he's so awful he can't keep anyone in the job if they have any other options whatsoever.

It's a bit like advertising, "Botanist wanted: field work necessary, housing, transportation and food allowance included in salary, previous experience in Gossypium spp. required, H1b visas accepted" and it turns out the job is picking cotton on a slave plantation. There may indeed be personal reasons you would take the job anyway (many indentured servants sold and re-sold their contract labor regardless of working conditions), but don't expect much.

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Rachel - former HR blogger April 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

A new hire need to be able to perform the basic tasks before anyone is going to hand over the bigger tasks. It's about building confidence in your work. The more you do well, the more will be assigned to you.

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tunatofu October 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

It is complete CRAP that PHDs cant get jobs in science. The truth is that the companies would prefer to bring in foreigners for pennies rather than pay an American PHD a decent justified salary. My hat is off to them for putting all that time and money into getting the degrees. I am ashamed that our companies and even government labs wont pay them enough to pay back their exorbitant student loans.

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