…I have one big problem in my new job: I have no idea what I’m doing, and no one will answer my questions.
I have found myself in an unfortunate pickle. In my haste to get a job after moving to a new city, I took a job that seemed perfect at the time. I had been in residential real state for 3 and a half years, and an investment banker with a small staff hired me to work on a special project that would make use of my skills in residential property evaluation, to aid him in the pricing and acquisition of mortgage loans. I was excited to learn a little more about finance.
Well, the project never took off and while I am grateful that he has kept me on staff, I am doing nothing but making cold calls regarding commercial real estate loans all day long. Sometimes I get a filing project, but all of those are literally done now. I have tried to go into it with gusto, but given that I have no background in finance or commercial real estate (and majored in art history), I have a lot of questions. I am literally learning a new vernacular, and also a lot of slang, and doing it pretty much on my own.
There are two other staff members, and the CEO and principal of the company is out of the office most of the time. While he is communicative in terms of accessibility, he is not willing to teach me, and give me all of the background I need. He is dismissive, and has told me that no one expects me to know anything at my level anyway. I have tried very hard to communicate my ability and eagerness to learn by reading or taking classes in basic finance, but he does not encourage any growth and mocks my enthusiasm. The VP is in the office, and is stuck in the position of having to deal with a very inexperienced colleague, and makes no effort to hide his frustration with me. He is impatient, and often condescending in tone. The CEO’s assistant is usually busy with stepping and fetching for the CEO, and takes everything very seriously. She sighs a lot, and does not smile or talk much. The same for the CEO.
I am in a very quiet, very tense office with nothing to do but one task all day long, and no opportunity for growth. I get paid well, and have health insurance. I was able to lighten the mood in the office for a few weeks, but one afternoon the VP got so irritated with one of my perfectly logical questions (regarding a faulty software issue, completely out of my control) that he threw a bit of a tantrum and now has not spoken to me at all in three days. I have tried to reach out and acknowledge how frustrating it must be to have to assist someone like me with no finance background, but he literally ignored me. He often ignores me. I have long stopped bothering him.
I have gone from a job managing people in a thriving, communicative environment to being spoken to like a child in a silent chamber. I am looking for another job, clearly, but how do I deal with this in the meantime? It seems as if my relentless positive attitude, no matter how unoppressive, really makes things worse.
Help me before I jump.
OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY FRANKE JAMES
Dear Feeling Jumpy,
I’m replying to your letter at 11pm — reading through it quickly you’re doing lots of things right, but the culture and fit aren’t right for you. I’m glad to hear you’re looking for a new job.
I strongly suggest you read some books that will help you determine:
- Your key strengths
- A dream — and a roadmap to get there.
To help you figure out what your strengths are and what your big dream is (and how to get it), go to the library — or to Amazon and get these books:
1. Dreamcrafting — I love this book. I recommend it highly.
2. Erika Andersen’s book Being Strategic — it’s all about imagining your castle on the hill — and crafting a plan to get there.
3. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Also, do you use social media like Twitter or Facebook? Both of those sites can help you to network into a better job — but whatever that job is — make sure that it’s really something you LOVE and you’re PASSIONATE about. Life is too short for a dead-end job.
Get your foot in the door in the industry you want to be in — and then work like hell…. And have fun.
Good luck — happy reading — keep notes in a journal — you have a lot of work to do to but there’s a wonderful opportunity out there for you if you go after it.
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Franke James, MFA
Editor & Founder, Office-Politics.com
Inventor, Dear Office-Politics Game
Franke James, MFA is the Inventor of the award-winning Dear Office-Politics Game a dilemma-based social game that teaches you how to play, and laugh, at office politics. It’s used by HR departments, and corporate trainers worldwide. The Office-Politics Dilemmas have been inspired by the hundreds of letters submitted to Office-Politics.com.