“OK to leave?”

Dear Andrea:

I accepted a new job through a headhunter. It had the perfect title, nice salary increase and chance to rock and roll professionally. It’s crystal clear the actual tasks I’d be performing are only distantly related to that wonderful job description. The job spins me far away from the kind of work I care about. I doubt a heart to heart with the boss would fix anything. There may be an opportunity to go back where I was. Am I doing my career worse damage to stay? How much of a blot will this be on my resume? How do I explain a two-month gap? Would I be wrong to send the headhunter a nice letter telling him what turmoil he’s created in my life?
–Going Nuts

Dear Going Nuts:

No wonder you’re going nuts. You’re trying to decide what to do according to how it will look on your resume or to others and you’re risking even more damage–to your health and well-being. Let’s look at the only way you can sensibly address this by examining what’s the best thing to do for you.
How is the situation affecting you? Are you so stressed you’re not sleeping well and your unhappiness is just about all you talk about? These are signs you need to either:
A) Change the way you view this situation while you’re still there.
You’d be committed to finding a new job elsewhere and see your present situation as temporary. Therefore, you don’t put energy into complaining or getting stressed out. What’s the point? You made a choice. It didn’t work out. You’ve decided you’re moving on.
B) Leave.
If you feel you can’t stand being there another day and it’s affecting your health and your attitude in finding a new position, you would do yourself damage to stay and get sick over it.
Either way, this doesn’t have to be a blot on your career. If you list the job on your resume (because it adds value to your career or gave you experience you want to talk about) only list the year, not months. If it comes up in an interview, tell the truth about why you left: once you got in the job the duties changed, taking you away from the type of work you’re good at. After your boss made clear his priorities, you couldn’t see any point in staying in a position where your skills wouldn’t be utilized. If you genuinely explain what happened and how disappointed you are–instead of griping–most people can understand. It may even have happened to them.
Let the recruiter know what happened by calling him. But don’t start off telling him what turmoil he’s created in your life. Refer to the documentation he sent you and how different the job actually turned out. He needs to know this for his relationship with his client.

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Talking about workin’ for a living with WGRR hosts Janeen Coyle and Chris O’Brien.