Bait & Switch: When the Job Isn’t What They Promised
You accepted the job offer with excitement and couldn’t wait to begin the position. But then shortly after the first day you were being asked to do a variety of tasks that had nothing to do with your role, and the responsibilities in your job description seemed to be a world away. What next?
1) Wait Two Weeks. It could be that your first two weeks are chock full of onboarding procedures, meeting colleagues, and training, with the real meat of your work coming shortly thereafter. Mention to your manager the tasks outlined in the job description you are specifically looking forward to working on and ask for a time frame of when you’ll start on them. If they say, ‘In a few weeks’ or ‘Not long now,’ ask for a concrete time period, such as mid-June.
2) Still Stuck. If the date you were meant to start on the core tasks has come and gone, ask your manager for a time to discuss your concerns. Have a copy of the job description (or contract if applicable) in hand and outline what it says versus what you are doing. Keep the conversation positive and emphasise how you are looking forward to contributing your specialised skill set.
3) If the Job is Partially What They Promised. If you were hired for an accounting role but they are allocating half of your time to cleaning up a messy membership database, let them know that the database portion is not a fit for your skill set. State that it was not mentioned in the interview or description and while you value being a member of the team, a qualified database manager is the best person to assist and ensure the job is done properly.
4) A Skittish Boss. Is it possible that the higher level tasks haven’t been handed over because your boss has trust issues and fears you will make a mistake that reflects badly on them? If you feel micromanaged and your boss is drowning in work, this could be the root cause. Discuss how you would like to work more closely with them and learn from their expertise. Offer to assist on any projects and state you would be happy to be a second set of eyes or a person to bounce ideas off of.
5) Irons in the Fire. If you seem to be getting nowhere and this role would be damaging to your career overall (a large back step, menial work, etc.), start applying for other jobs. Remember, in many workplaces, the first 90 days are a trial period for both parties. This is a time for you, as much as for them, to see if this is the right fit. Don’t feel guilty for wanting to pursue the next opportunity that truly has the ability to advance your career.