Monday, August 2, 2010

Work Woes

I like my "new" job. I've had it for 7 months, and unlike past jobs, it's permanent. I had 3 one-year contracts in a row with three different employers. The first and third were great companies to work for, but there was no chance to become permanent. The middle job was a good job but not a great company to work for. There was a slight chance it could become permanent, but I wasn't interested in pursuing it.

This job, my fourth job since finishing grad school, is a good job. I'm a consultant, which I didn't think I'd like. It's not as rewarding as working for a company - I just go in, do what I need to do, write a report, and leave. Working for a company means you get your hand's dirty, you create the project, you identify solutions, you work it through, you implement, you follow up, you evaluate its effectiveness, etc. You really own the project. Being a consultant means you do your job, regardless of what they need, you just do what they ask. (Of course you suggest if there's a better solution, but ultimately the client chooses what you do.) Then you leave. It's not as satisfying for me. Some people prefer to just do the consulting role. You don't leave your comfort zone as much, you do what you're there to do. Sometimes, a client brings you into the project at the beginning and involves you form the start to finish, but often you're there for a specific, small piece of their puzzle.

I'm not always happy because there are times I feel that there are certain individuals who taking advantage of me. I don't want to get into in on my blog, just in case my employer were to stumble across it. I don't link friends to my blog in any way (I've sent select people the link); but since I'm not blogging anonymously, I should be cautious before divulging too much information.

Basically, among other things, I was asked my past salaries in my interview. I know I don't have to answer that question, but it's very difficult to deflect that question in a polite and respectful manner during an interview for a job one wants. The interviewer acknowledged it was a difficult question, and asked me anyway. I answered, and was told they wouldn't be able to offer me that high an amount. Fine. I presumed, therefore, that the amount I was offered was the highest they would go. I realize I shouldn't make that assumption, and I knew it at the time. Since I made myself vulnerable by declaring what I made at past jobs, I thought they would be honerable by taking that into consideration when formulating their offer. Upon having some idea of what coworkers make, I know they could have come higher. I negotiated for more vacation (which is great) and accepted the offer. Now that I know more about the company, I know I should not have been so naive. Of course, I knew it at the time, but it all comes down to me not being able to deflect a question I should not have been asked. My feeling of being minorly exploited is partially due to my own mistakes and assumptions, which (naturally) makes me angry with myself. And yet it all comes down to the interviewer, now one of my bosses, asking a question that person knew they shouldn't ask (and said so) but asking it anyway.


  1. I know, I've been there. The other thing that irks me is having a feel that since you're a woman of childbearing age, they want to casually assess your potential to have kids or not in the near future, usually just in informal conversation, but you still know where they're getting at. I understand mat leaves can be tough for companies to manage, but still, I hate that double standard.

  2. It feels good to be understood. Thanks, Marie-Ève.