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Hi all,

I passed the phone interview yesterday and will be having a face-to-face interview with the firm I mentioned yesterday. There is a bit of a problem though--I happen to know there are very few candidates for this position and they want to fill it quickly. Therefore, if they want me to work for them, I will probably know very, very soon.

What's the problem, you might ask? I'm not at all sure I WANT this position. I think it might be a little farther over my head than I'm ready for, considering the department is small and there are very few people to support the system. Also the firm is the result of a merger which was fairly recent, meaning there is still that standard confused environment which results after a merger.

Why am I worried about it? Because I am TERRIFIED that I will get offered this job and reject it and not find something else for MONTHS AND MONTHS. Perhaps I'm being irrational, I don't know. I do have some pretty good marketable skills, but I am still worried. One of my friends told me "oh, just take it and then leave in a few months if you don't like it" but I've ALREADY been laid off twice--I DON'T want to go looking for work for the THIRD time in just a year!

Help me out here guys! I need a little emotional support!

d
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I'm not at all sure I WANT this position. I think it might be a little farther over my head than I'm ready for, considering the department is small and there are very few people to support the system. Also the firm is the result of a merger which was fairly recent, meaning there is still that standard confused environment which results after a merger.

=======================================
Diana,

Is it that you don't think you're ready? Or that you're concerned about having to work too many hours with a small group? Or is this the fear of accepting a new position speaking?

I'm currently a manager of a large UNIX and INTEL operational group (77 employees). I'd rather hire someone who isn't as knowledgeable but seems coachable rather than someone who claims/is an expert, but seems arrogant, unwilling to take coaching, unable/unwilling to admit that they don't know something.

My 2 cents,

Aaron
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Is it that you don't think you're ready? Or that you're concerned about having to work too many hours with a small group? Or is this the fear of accepting a new position speaking?

There are several probelms here.

First off, I am interviewing to be the person responsible for user support/enhancements/etc. to the firms sales system. I am certified in the software that they use, but I don't have deep experience with it. I am not honestly sure exactly how deep my technical skills need to be, but I do know that I would be the main person in charge of the system support. The manager of the group used to do this job. I am not sure how willing he will be to help me to learn.

I have NO PROBLEM learning. I am very coachable. I have been told that by every boss I've ever had. However, I don't know if this outfit is going to be committed to spending the time helping me get up and running like I'll need. When I spoke to the manager on the phone, he didn't give me the vibe of being the sort of person who would be up for helping. I think he wants someone who knows everything from the get-go. I have every confidence in my ability to learn the skills necessary, I just don't have every confidence that my time line to learn will be in line with my manager's expectations, which sound like they are "i want it NOW". Of course, everyone wants it now, but this particular situation makes me uncomfortable.

The other problem is a comment the manager made on the phone yesterday. "We don't even know if this department will be here when all is said and done". I don't like to hear things that could spell another layoff in a few months. I have already been let go from TWO companies where I did VERY well and had great evaluations and bigger bonuses than I was supposed to receive. I don't want it to happen a third time in a few months because this firm doesn't know what it wants to look like. Of course, this happens all the time, but hell--if you know ahead of time that it could be a problem, maybe it's a good idea to consider that factor with the position.

My biggest concern isn't whether I can do a good job. I am concerned that if I turn down the first job I'm offered because I don't think it is a good fit, that I'll be screwed because I'll have to wait forever for another opportunity.

I know taking a job that I don't want isn't the right thing to do for me or the company in the long run, but i gotta eat and I can't do that forever without working.

Diana

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Quite a quandry, Diana. In reading your posts about this position and what you've learned so far, it seems you can boil the issues down to this:

-- You are a quick study, but concerned that your ability to learn what you need to know is out of whack with the company's expectations.

-- The company has as much as said that the position/department is unstable and cannot be relied upon as a long term deal.

-- You gotta eat.

If it were me, I'd address the "how quickly must I know what you need me to know" issue clearly in the interview. Be upfront about what you know and don't know, what your concerns are. If they're actually capable of listening, they'll appreciate your candor and will be able to make a decision based on what's most important to them: your ability to learn vs. what you know right now.

I go with gut feelings in all areas of business. Whenever I've ignored my gut, I've always been really sorry. So I don't ignore it anymore. If your gut says this is not a good match, listen to yourself.

However, if taking the position fills a short-term need (eating), and the company has communicated that this may be a short-term move on their part (meaning you may get laid off again) -- you're both sort of in the same position, so there is no expectation of long-term loyalty from either party.

If you've really got no other irons in the fire and you need to eat *now*, you can always take the job and keep looking in the meantime.

...doling out free advice since 1902...
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Diana,

I've got to agree with everything jthrelkeld put in her post. Keep your head high, go into the interview like you are the best thing that could happen to this company.

My guess is that they didn't spend the money on this software/product only to not have someone who knows how to support it.

Aaron
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Hi Diana,

Three thoughts for you:
1) Since you are nervous/worried about future layoffs (the comment of the manager wasn't that encouraging:), have you considered looking at position in an academic arena? The pay is usually less, but the benefits are generally better and layoffs in academia are by far the exception and not the rule. I've worked in IT at universities for 11 years now and it's been great.

2) Have you considered going into the consulting/temporary field? There are a ton of openings for qualified IT folks on a per job basis (at least in the Boston area).

3) Have you looked at getting a weekend and/or after-hours job to hold you over so that you can be a bit more choosy? I work at a furniture store on the weekends (and still work a normal M-F job) and I have been doing this for over 3 years. I started during my last transition from one university to another and it's allowed me to accelerate my debt reduction schedule by 3 years (will be completed next month, woo-hoo!). I've also got great furniture for extremely great prices.

Good luck!

Shawn
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Diana, it sounds like you are getting "that feeling" about the job. "That feeling" is what led my husband to turn down a well-paying position that SEEMED to be what he wanted, after 6 months of diligent searching and finding nothing. He was offered the position, accepted it, and then woke up in the middle of the night certain that this job didn't feel right. Now, we have a baby on the way, so this decision wasn't made lightly, but he turned ultimately turned the job down. Sometimes you have to trust that your subconscious mind sees problems that your conscious mind wants you to ignore.

I would NOT take a job that you think you'll leave in a few months. That looks like job hopping, and hurts you worse than frivolous inquiries on your credit report.

I'd say that with your doubts, you're in a unique interviewing position. Unlike other candidates who go into a job interview willing to promise and impress their way in, you walk in saying up front, "I don't want to waste your time. Let's figure out whether this is a good match." Use the interview process to interview THEM. You're free to turn down any offer they make and walk away.
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I LOVE this board. That is why I posted my dilemma on it.

Everyone has made excellent points in their replies and I SO appreciate it.

Callykait, you are right that I am getting "that feeling" about this position. Who knows? When I ask the key questions that were suggested by other posters in this thread, I may get the answers I want, or I may find out quickly that "that feeling" is correct. Just like Mr. Callykait, this is probably going to be a very good-paying position for me, but I cannot take it if it I have "that feeling"

The people who pointed out that I'm in a unique situation where I don't have to be in "please love me because i HAVE to have this job" mode are right! Sometimes it is easy to forget that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Thanks for the reminder. :)

As far as academia is concerned, that is a good suggestion. However, if I go into academia, I know EXACTLY where I want to go and what i want to do, and it's not working for the IT department. At some point in my life, I would be interested in working for a university fundraising/development office--perhaps even my own alma mater's. I don't know that I am ready to make that career change yet though. It's just on my list of "what i could do after i'm sick of IT list".

As far as consulting type jobs are concerned: I have been laid off from 2 consulting firms now. I know that it can be very lucrative to take such positions, and I am very selectively considering opportunities in that area right now. I have a possible lead on a job in Houston with a consulting firm that I would be very interested in. I also have a lead on a job in Kansas City that seems cool enough that i might be able to forget that I am not that wild about KC.

Talk at y'all later,

Diana
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Hi all,

I passed the phone interview yesterday and will be having a face-to-face interview with the firm I mentioned yesterday. There is a bit of a problem though--I happen to know there are very few candidates for this position and they want to fill it quickly. Therefore, if they want me to work for them, I will probably know very, very soon.

What's the problem, you might ask? I'm not at all sure I WANT this position. I think it might be a little farther over my head than I'm ready for, considering the department is small and there are very few people to support the system. Also the firm is the result of a merger which was fairly recent, meaning there is still that standard confused environment which results after a merger.

Why am I worried about it? Because I am TERRIFIED that I will get offered this job and reject it and not find something else for MONTHS AND MONTHS. Perhaps I'm being irrational, I don't know. I do have some pretty good marketable skills, but I am still worried. One of my friends told me "oh, just take it and then leave in a few months if you don't like it" but I've ALREADY been laid off twice--I DON'T want to go looking for work for the THIRD time in just a year!

Help me out here guys! I need a little emotional support!

d


D;

As a fellow technical professional, let me ask you a couple of questions for thought:

1. Do you think the merger confusion will straighten itself out in less than a year? If so, I wouldn't worry about that part.

2. Do you feel like the fact that it is a small shop will allow you to grow and develop your skills? (Used to work as part of a 110-person IT department, now we have 8, and I love the challenges. There is just so much more to learn and take charge of in a small shop.)

Let's look at a bad situation: Let's say you take the job, and it sucks royally. Given what you know now, do you think you could tolerate it for a year? If not, I wouldn't take the job.

Sorry, no answers, just food for thought. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

RkeFool
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Diana,
Take a deep breath - try not to panic. Now listen to what you already know.

I spoke to the manager on the phone, he didn't give me the vibe of being the sort of person who would be up for helping.
The other problem is a comment the manager made on the phone yesterday. "We don't even know if this department will be here when all is said and done".

Trust your instinct, and don't take the job out of fear. Leave the way open for a better opportunity, don't clutter the path. I'm not trying to spout platitudes - I really believe this, having just gone through a similar situation earlier this year. I turned down an offer after being out of work for a month. The next day, I got a call for another opportunity, which paid alot more and was a step up my career path for me. Tune in to yourself, listen to what you're gut is telling you and trust it!

Good luck!

Lori
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Help me out here guys! I need a little emotional support!

Diana,

I also used to be terrified of making life changing decisions, but I read a little tip somewhere and I will share it with you. It has truly changed my life by allowing me to make decisions without fear.

It is called "Worse Case Scenario" decision making.

Now I know this sounds drastic, but it really works great. When making your decision, try to envision the worse case scenario of your choices.

For example, envision taking the job: The place is a disaster, which is why your previsous counterpart left. You are way over your head and look incompetent with no one there qualified to help out. Finally, they get frustrated with you and let you go after only a short time.

Now envision turning down the job: You are out of work for another nine months. You are broke and the creditors are hounding you. They start shutting off the utilities and you get kicked out of your place.

Now here is the secret to ridding yourself of fear and guilt in your decision making process. If you can accept the worse case scenario from making your choice, then you are free to persue it without that nagging feeling that it will all go wrong. If you can't accept the worse case scenario, then you shouldn't be making that choice and risking that which you cannot accept.

The bottom line is, when you get rid of the risk, you will also get rid of the fear.

I sure hope this helps.

Good luck with your decision.

Bret

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If you don't take the job then you will wonder "what if " But if you take it then at least you have an income and just because this company is small doesn't mean that they aren't going to help you. Keep your chin up and all will work out.
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Welllll, it could be a tremendous learning opportunity, too. I've had a couple in recent years where I was taught to swim by being tossed into the water, and I've always come out with an even better resume! And if you did take it and hate it, you could have the luxury of surfing www.dice.com while still getting a paycheck! ;-)

Seriously, though, if your gut is yelling, "Wrong! Wrong!" you probably ought to listen. Sometimes our subconscious picks up on something we don't like about the people around us (like this manager), and it doesn't share the precise reason but instead sends us into this little spiral of "well, it's perfect but, well, I just don't know, but, well, er..." instead of just coming out and saying, "This guy(gal) is a complete schmuck and I'm going to hate every single second in his/her presence because s/he is going to constantly be expecting me to hang the moon on 38 seconds notice but will never give me a pat on the back for actually accomplishing it!"

Hang in there, and keep your chin up!
Tamarian
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Diana,

Don't sell youself short. You've been here on the Fool for a while
now, so we all know you've got the ability to focus and work hard
toward your goals. Work is no different than finances in that you
have the background, you know the basics. Give yourself a chance to
apply what you know. So maybe it requires a bit more effort, maybe
even a little self-development of new skills or fine-tuning exiting
abilities. Its just another challenge to overcome and another Happy
Dance waiting to be had.

So go and take that job! Let yourself be challenged, excel at it,
and report beck to us at the Fool so we can share in your victory!

Best of luck from someone else who jumped in at the deep end of the
pool (and who now feels like a lifeguard).


Dave
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