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Old 09-15-2014, 04:24 PM
 
687 posts, read 543,491 times
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I'm curious how other would view this situation.

I work for a very small company, which has gotten even smaller as people have been fired/quit. It is now down to five people (from nine). Three people were "let go" about six months after I was hired. I was never actually told this straight but heard it from a co-worker who was hired about the same time I was.

The main office is where everyone else works, and I work alone at an office in another city about an hours drive away. This is also my first job out of college in my field (no previous experience). For the first 6 mo, I was on "probation" where they paid me a very low wage for the work I am doing. They let go of the three employees just before my probationary period ended and I was due for a raise, and then after a review I got a pay increase, but much lower than I expected ($26,600/yr where the average for my job title is $35,000/yr). It was very discouraging and disappointing. At this same time, because three employees were fired, they pretty much stopped helping me out at all because they were so busy covering their own work.

I have mixed feelings about all this because on one hand I feel abandoned and unable to do my job effectively or confidently (for a small example, one of the things I wanted from them was a reevaluation of pricing for our services, and they promised me they would provide it but never did... so I've been making up prices, and they don't seem to care).

On the other hand the autonomy and independence is nice. I can (almost) do whatever I want, and I'm learning a lot because of that, but I also came into this job hoping for guidance since they are "industry professionals" and I'm totally green. I get this very seldom, and then when I do something wrong they look at me like I should have known better when I've never been told/trained how they want it done and I'm flying by the seat of my pants because I don't get clear responses when I do ask questions, if any response (I've even been expected to handle billing issues with vendors even though I don't actually do the billing... I say "hey this vendor didn't get a payment and now they won't deliver" and my boss says, "well I sent it so it's not my problem" ... and then I have to follow up and figure out what happened...). So I feel empowered and yet like my hands are tied at the same time!

I'm not sure if I should be thankful or angry. If I should stick with this job (I've been here a year) or move on; if that would be wasting an opportunity. My friends say I should just take over their business! But there is low pay and no security (no benefits, either) and I don't see it happening in the foreseeable future... and the pay really bothers me. It seems like I could almost deal with all this responsibility and being left to my own devices if I was at least paid what I think I'm worth.

I enjoy the line of work but I am frustrated and feel like I'm not "advancing" in my abilities as much as I could be with more support. I feel like I'm running my own company but it's not actually mine and I don't know how solvent it is or what their plans are or anything. I don't get much response when I inquire about the future of this office, which kind of scares me.

What do, guys?

Last edited by Basilide; 09-15-2014 at 05:16 PM..
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Old 09-15-2014, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,878 posts, read 18,733,850 times
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Of course they wouldn't tell you how the business is doing, even listed corporations often blow smoke.

Were I you I would be applying for other jobs. While you are at it compile contact information on those who you might use for references and KEEP THAT INFORMATION AT YOUR RESIDENCE.

Do not use your employer's computers or office equipment in your job search. When answering the question as to why you want to leave simply say you are looking for advancement.

When you receive an attractive offer accept it and once you have written offer and on-board date give your current employer notice (2 weeks is customary) with a nice note.

Last edited by Nell Plotts; 09-15-2014 at 05:01 PM..
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Funkotron, MA
1,203 posts, read 3,610,773 times
Reputation: 1814
Especially when starting out, it's important to have someone with experience guide you. It sounds like the company is just using you for cheap labor. I'd absolutely look for another job.

Running an office by yourself when you have a lot of experience (and are getting paid more) would be nice though.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Missouri
6,045 posts, read 22,871,289 times
Reputation: 5146
You're out of college and now you have a year of experience under your belt. If you feel you are underpaid, plus uncomfortable with your employer, I'd definitely start job hunting.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
30,731 posts, read 14,537,488 times
Reputation: 28534
I think they're really taking advantage of you and not teaching you anything. So what are the advantages for you other than being independent?

I agree with those saying you should start looking for an opportunity with a real chance to learn something, with an appropriate salary and benefits.
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Old 09-15-2014, 05:50 PM
 
6,099 posts, read 7,040,600 times
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I would abandon ship as soon as possible. It looks like the company is about to go under. They laid nearly half the staff.

I am more interested in fast growing companies with room for growth, not shrinking companies in a downward spiral. You aren't going to be paid market level, because they can't afford market level. You aren't going to move up to higher salary grades or management positions, because the company is shrinking.

You can learn more at a small growing company, if you had face time with people who aren't too busy to teach. Right now, you are just making up prices.

Nobody wakes up one day and says "You know what, I want to work for that company that's losing business and laid off half their people. They are down to 4 people and the owner. They are paying $10-20k less than everybody else and they are going downhill fast."
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:11 PM
 
687 posts, read 543,491 times
Reputation: 999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
Of course they wouldn't tell you how the business is doing, even listed corporations often blow smoke.

Were I you I would be applying for other jobs. While you are at it compile contact information on those who you might use for references and KEEP THAT INFORMATION AT YOUR RESIDENCE.

Do not use your employer's computers or office equipment in your job search. When answering the question as to why you want to leave simply say you are looking for advancement.

When you receive an attractive offer accept it and once you have written offer and on-board date give your current employer notice (2 weeks is customary) with a nice note.
Thanks for the advice! Compiling contact info is a great idea (I've had clients ask me to apply for jobs with their company... but not work I want to do. Those persons might be good references).

I did some numbers and found they are paying me ~25% of the revenue from their biggest contract at this office. In another contract I am estimating my pay will account for about 25% - 30% as well. Although the last project we did for this client was poorly thought out so I ended up putting a lot more hours in fixing things. The hours they demand are pretty extreme to begin with, so with all that taken into account my pay might actually account for a lot more in the end. My supervisor said he wanted my input about how much labor it would take but then he never sent me the project documents and put in a bid without my ever seeing it until I asked when he planned on putting in the bid.

Bottom line, I don't really feel taken advantage of, just that the way the business is run doesn't allow for decent pay because of how they bid their contracts, what their priorities are, and how they run the business in general (serious lack of organization and communication, for instance). At least, that is what it seems like with my limited knowledge. But really, what small business isn't like this? Is that pretty much the same everywhere?

I was told of a job opening from a big company offering a position somewhat similar to mine except with less responsibility that is entry level, with benefits, starting at $35,000. It just made me wonder what the heck I'm doing.
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Old 09-15-2014, 06:13 PM
 
687 posts, read 543,491 times
Reputation: 999
Quote:
Originally Posted by move4ward View Post
I would abandon ship as soon as possible. It looks like the company is about to go under. They laid nearly half the staff.

I am more interested in fast growing companies with room for growth, not shrinking companies in a downward spiral. You aren't going to be paid market level, because they can't afford market level. You aren't going to move up to higher salary grades or management positions, because the company is shrinking.

You can learn more at a small growing company, if you had face time with people who aren't too busy to teach. Right now, you are just making up prices.

Nobody wakes up one day and says "You know what, I want to work for that company that's losing business and laid off half their people. They are down to 4 people and the owner. They are paying $10-20k less than everybody else and they are going downhill fast."
When you put it that way...
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:19 PM
 
687 posts, read 543,491 times
Reputation: 999
Ok... I'm still with this same company. One contract fell through and the other is being renewed. If we don't get the renewed contract by the end of the year, they are closing the office and I'll have to commute to their main office to work (and getting all this information out of my supervisor was quite awkward but I'm glad he told me because bringing it up myself was going to be even harder).

I'm still just as indecisive as ever about what to do. I'm struggling not to become bored out of my mind because of work tapering off and there are few opportunities to do other things. I'm basically cleaning the entire building and all the equipment to pass time, by myself all day, and it's mind numbing and lonely as all hell.

I met with a job recruiter that services my field and that didn't go anywhere (he'd called me about a job offer, but I've long since learned that these hardly ever result in even an interview and it's mostly a waste of time). I'm in a situation where the only way that I could get a different job in my field is to either move or commute 2+ hrs.

How do you get out of mental blockages brought on by disappointment? There is this tiny voice in me that says, "Go find some clients! Try to find ways to make the company better!" but then I remember all efforts to do something like that felt like beating a dead horse, and all motivation to do anything here is gone. And that sucks because I'm supposed to like my line of work and I was so excited when I started, and I don't think they're bad people or they don't provide a valuable service. I just have such a hard time trusting them or having faith in them, and perhaps I'm being unfair in that. I asked if we could purchase a real sign for the window (making the office better), instead of the banner that's been folded in half and is hanging by paperclips and suction cups, and the response I got was, "let's wait to see if we get the next contract." So I have to keep putting the sign back up when it falls down -- in front of clients, and it's embarrassing. What is the point? I want to be that person that keeps going and makes everything better than it is just by sheer will, but I feel like I falling into a state of depression.

After a couple months of pestering, I finally got them to start training me to provide a new service; one that should fill me with glee and happiness to do. But it doesn't. I don't know why. It should and it make me really sad that my heart just isn't in it. I don't know what is happening to me.

Has anyone else just, pushed through this kind of situation and how did you do it? How do you decide? How do you believe in yourself instead of second guessing everything?
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Old 11-11-2014, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
30,731 posts, read 14,537,488 times
Reputation: 28534
I have chosen to push through situations that were tough if they had components that made the struggle worth it. Great pay (not good pay), great benefits (not good benefits), learning in detail how to do various tasks.

They're paying you slave wages and you have no benefits. Not only that, but any hesitation to share news about closing the office you're in, makes me wonder if they're planning on letting you go when they close it.

My advice from September remains the same. I'd get out.
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