Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Job update

I should have known how things would go when I walked in for my first day of work at my new job and told the receptionist I was starting temping that day and she responded with, "They just can't fill that position," under her breath. Remember how I said I was temp to perm? I felt awkward saying I was the "new assistant" considering it wasn't exactly final. I also felt awkward saying I was temping. Everyone except my bosses and HR treated me like I was official.

Since I couldn't get a straight answer before I started the job, I decided to email HR on my first day to sit down and discuss a timeline for how long I would be considered a temp. They agreed to meet with me the next day. It was awkward, but I left feeling a little better when I was told they'd speak with my bosses and get back to me by the end of the next day.

Meanwhile, while I was in the office I treated my job as if it was permanent. I requested sit down meetings with each of my three bosses to chat about how they liked things done, meetings scheduled, travel arranged, phones answered, etc. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job despite the lack of personal interaction and warm feel I got from them. (When I say they treated me like I temp, I didn't mean in regards to work, they just couldn't have cared less about who I was as a person. It was strictly business.) I reminded myself I would never have a boss like my last, and focused on the fact that I really liked the other assistants I sat near, and pretty much everyone else in the office. I was loving the commute to work, the later hours (start at 9am, leave at 6 or 6:30pm), the amazingly stocked kitchen and daily catered lunches, and sparkly beautiful office. However, while I was out of the office, I was not going to stop interviewing until I had a permanent offer in writing.

Wednesday came and went without hearing back from HR. I decided I would give them until the end of the week. Friday came and everyone in HR was running around pulling their hair out. It was the day they were interviewing for summer associates, and did not seem like the best day to follow up. This was also the day I had a second interview at a hedge fund. I thought it went well, but I thought a lot of interviews went well. I've learned not to count my chickens before they hatch.

Monday came and went, as it was another summer associate interview day. I also went on a first interview that morning. Tuesday came and I emailed my HR contact again, to follow up. She called me on the phone and asked me if I'd had the chance to sit down with each of my bosses. Yes? Okay, she'll follow up with them and get back to me by the end of the week. At this point I was getting a little annoyed. In both of these discussions she focused more on asking me questions instead of answering mine.

Wednesday afternoon came and I received a call from my head hunter informing me the company I'd had a second interview with the week prior wanted to offer me a permanent position, and could I go to the office today to get the formal letter. I couldn't believe it. I did not see this coming. Yes, like I mentioned, I thought the interview went well, however from January 13th through February 18th I'd gone on twenty one interviews. Twenty one! Twelve of which were firsts. In case you're wondering, besides weekends and two holidays, there are twenty six business days between January 13th and February 18th. And that's not counting the second and first interviews I had after I started working. I made a point not to cut into business hours to interview (a perk with a 9am start time) but since someone else was giving me a permanent offer I informed my bosses I had an appointment that afternoon. (Thank you Lynette for teaching me at the young age of 18 to always say I have "an appointment" because it could be anything from a doctor's appointment to a lunch date but as long as you don't specify you're not lying and don't have to feel guilty.)

I went over to the new company for what I thought was just going to be a sit down with HR to receive the letter, but it turned out it was (yet another) interview with the head of the group. It was a little awkward because I'd basically already been told they had an offer for me, yet now I was being put through one of the tougher interviews I'd been on, for about forty five minutes. Luckily, it all worked out, and I received my offer.

I called my headhunter and told her the details of the offer, and that I wanted to give the company at which I was currently working a chance to counter offer. I had decided I would give them until end of the day Friday to make me an offer, as I'd told the other company I would give them an answer by Monday.

This is where it gets awkward. I went back to work as if nothing had happened. I'd conveyed my feelings to the headhunter who was on the other side of midtown, who called HR who was two floors below, who called my bosses, who were sitting ten feet away.

By that night I was 90% sure I was going to accept the offer from the second company. It just felt right. I basically only wanted to see if the first company would counter offer, and what the offer would be. In my gut I did not feel like they would, as it had only been ten days that I had been working for them, and during that time two of my three bosses had been on business trips, so they really didn't know me well. This is also the same company that had informed my head hunter they'd planned on giving me an offer two weeks before they actually extended the offer. Something tells me this company moves slow.

By Thursday afternoon my headhunter informed me HR had said my bosses were not in a position to move quickly enough to give me an offer. I was not surprised. So I formally accepted my other offer, decided Friday would be my last day at the current gig, and started planning my week off in between.

I know what you're thinking, "You'd two months off." But let me tell you, it was not a mental vacation in the slightest. Yes, Europe was amazing and I'm not complaining, but the whole time I had to face the fact that I was coming home to unemployment. And then the interviewing process. Interviewing is rough. There's a lot of emotions involved, frustration, and it's really really tough selling yourself over and over again. Imagine going on twenty one dates in twenty six days. Ugh. Not to mention, I realized it'd been five months since I'd spent time anywhere above 60 degrees.

So about two hours after I formally accepted the work day was ending and I was supposed to go to a drink thing with a bunch of assistants to welcome me and another assistant to the company. (Remember how I said everyone else was super nice, welcoming, and treated me like I was permanent?) Talk about feeling awkward. No one but HR even knew I was leaving. My bosses hadn't even brought it up. I broke the news to the girls I sat by and they were totally understanding, told me I should still come, and informed me I was dodging a bullet. Yep. I can't get into all the specifics but it is a very good thing I accepted this other offer. My gut feeling was confirmed. I was really sad to leave these girls. Even though it'd only been two weeks I felt like we'd been friends for months.

So Friday came, my last day. Still no mention from any of the bosses. Awkward city. To be fair, one sat on the other side of the floor and never talked to me (I'm talking he looked at me with a weird look on his face one day when I said good morning), and one was on a business trip. However, I did know they knew, because one of the assistants informed me one of my bosses told her he was very upset with HR, and would have liked to have made me permanent right away. At the end of the day when I was having this boss sign off on my hours I finally mentioned the elephant in the room. He was very understanding, supportive, well wishing, and told me he would do the same thing. He said he didn't know why HR was dragging their feet and would have loved to have given me an offer. Even though I knew it was best to leave, I at least felt some gratification and validation in my ability to do my job in hearing this. I also, once again, felt like my feelings were confirmed when I found out there was a girl who used to work at this company, as a temp to perm, and was given the runaround and temped for two years. No thank you.

Friday night I went out to celebrate and Saturday I was off to California to soak up some rays, relax (mentally and physically), and spend time with friends and family. This deserves a post of its own.

The following week I started my new job and am very happy. It's longer, earlier hours (8am-6pm, and no, we don't take a lunch hour, no one does in New York) but I'm really happy. I'm working with a great team, my bosses are very approachable, and I'm working with one of my best friends. Yep. When I initially interviewed it was just random my headhunter was sending me to this company. Emilee and I decided neither of us would mention our personal relationship. I did not want our relationship to influence my chances one way or the other. It was quite the surprise to everyone when they found out we were friends, but I felt like it was the most professional thing to do, and was told so by the head of the group as well. We were both a little apprehensive about how working together would affect our friendship, but we both feel like our work relationship and our social relationship are very different. I think we both make an effort to keep things professional and separate and for the last month it's worked out very well. And when I say my bosses are approachable, I was told on the first day to never be afraid to ask a question, even if it was something I felt like I should already know. At the last place? I was told, "The guys don't want to be bothered with questions, just figure it out yourself." Quite the change.

Some other perks: free breakfast and lunch, jeans on Fridays (can't tell you how excited I am about this), and my commute is still a simple 1 1/4 mile walk through Central Park. It's heavenly, I tell you. I snapped the photo above about two weeks ago on my walk in the morning. It was freezing that day (don't even get me started on this insanely long winter we've been having) but beautiful.

It's true what those Eagles say, in a New York minute everything can change.


Austrie said...

Hello again! Haha Your 1 1/4 mile walk to work (besides me being totally jealous) I think is beautiful! Gahhh like i've mentioned before-New York, i'm absolutely dying to visit!
I actually LOVE Reagan's blog! Along with her little girl, Piper. I'm not sure how I came across it but i've been following it for quite some time, love it!!
Oh, and i'm actually off track right now (oh byui....) But i lived in Kensington Manor.
And lastly, thanks for the hair bow comment Haha! It's totally fun-you definitely need to try it out ;)

melissa said...

I just read that whole post! Phew! Happy you get to partake in jean fridays. It is basically the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I wish I got free bfast and lunch. I swear that's where all my $$$ goes

nerak said...

wowowow such an interesting story! i am so glad it all worked out, and that you got some sunshine and a mental break in the middle of all that STRESS.

Katie said...

Oh my gosh, what a nightmare, but I'm so glad it all worked out! I've had similar experiences with HR and totally understand how frustrating they can be when they drag their feet.

chelse said...

Rae what a crazy story! I'm so happy you found another place to work and I hope it works out for you. And Wow I can't believe you had so many interview in such a short time. Applying for jobs and interviewing is so stressful I completely understand a vacation. I feel like I've been applying and interviewing for a year and I'm really hoping at some point it'll actually pay off. Plus free breakfast and lunch.. that's ground on gaining 10 pounds and so nice to only have to pay for dinner. Sweet.

Julie M. said...

Hey! I've been MIA for a while, and decided to pop in an see how you are. I'm SO happy you have a job you like! Hooray!! It sounds like it's great, and I'm excited for you! Hope everything else is going well.

Trish said...

First, gorgeous picture. I'd love to have that commute every day! ;)

Second, Holy cow, Rachel! I'm not sure what to be more shocked about--the interviews in such a short time span, the way the temp job treated your employment, or the luck of the new job. Things certainly have a way of working out and it sounds like you are where you're supposed to be. Hopefully you'll be around for a long while and not have to worry about this process again. Glad it's going well!!

Anonymous said...

Love this! I'm so glad you found a place that will appreciate you and be straight forward. And that park picture is so perfect! What a beautiful commute. You deserve it chica.

Michelle said...

I am so behind on blogs. Sounds like everything worked out the way it needed to. The commute is gorgeous!

Brooke said...

Crazy crazy life that you lead. I would be totally frustrated, but at least you had the balls to confront them about the job. Congrates on the NEW job!