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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Show Up and It's the Wrong Job

I am a 19 year old college student about to start my first internship tomorrow. In January of this year I began sending resumes out to various golf courses/clubs (I am a professional golf major). I had several interviews and was offered what I thought was the 1st assistant professional position at a local country club. The job that I applied for as stated in my cover letter was the 1st assistant professional job. During my interview we discussed my experience working with junior golfers and also my working two days inside the pro shop.

Yesterday when I arrived home from school I went to the club to sign the necessary paperwork and was given my job description and schedule. I was told that I was going to be a bag attendant (a job that any high school student could do) not the job that I was expecting. The pay rate and experience that I will get from this job will not meet my necessary requirements for my college program since we are required to write various papers etc about working in the pro shop.

I did not say anything to my new boss when I saw this.
I just didn't know what to do. I am supposed to start tomorrow, it is too late to look for another internship at this point but I feel that I was mislead about this position. I had several other offers for the 1st assistant pro that have since been filled and now I am a bag attendant. Should I say anything? How should I go about it. This is really my first full-time job and I don't want to get fired before I even start but I really want the other job! Please help me if you can.

I'm going to say some things that might sound a little harsh. I'm doing it so you don't make the same mistakes again and trust that all of us made mistakes as we entered into the job world. (In one interview that I'd like to forget, when the interviewer asked if I had any questions, I said, "Doesn't this job get boring?" Ummm, are you shocked I didn't get the job?)

I put three phrases in bold above. I want to address them.

The job that I applied for as stated in my cover letter was the 1st assistant professional job. Please note that this is the job you applied for and not the job they offered you. Recruiters are attempting to fill positions and they may think you are a better fit for a different position than the one you applied for. There's nothing that says they can't do that. Your mistake was assuming that because you applied for the 1st assistant professional job, that was what they were going to give you.

It's not a bad assumption, it's just that one should never assume anything in the job search.

The pay rate and experience that I will get from this job will not meet my necessary requirements. Did you get an offer letter, or was salary discussed before you accepted? It should have been. Again, if the job you applied for paid $15 an hour, did you just assume that that is what you were getting? All offers should be in writing--even for summer internship jobs. If they balk at doing that, you don't want to work there, as they are unethical. You should not turn down other offers until you have a clear offer letter in hand, which spells out your title, supervisor and pay rate. Otherwise, you end up like this!

This job won't fit the requirements for your school program. Did they know you were applying for an internship, or did they think you were applying for a summer job? Did they understand the requirements of your program? It's not uncommon for internships to require special things--as someone who has managed interns before, I've had to write special evaluations so they could get academic credit, for example.

I did not say anything to my new boss when I saw this.
This, I totally understand. Sometimes we're so shocked we don't know how to respond. (This happened to me on Saturday when some random woman came up to me at a park and started talking to me. She was complaining about the child in the stroller. She then said, "It's not even my child. It's my husband's girlfriend's son." Pause. "Our relationship is complicated." Umm, yes thanks for sharing!)

Situations like this need to be addressed as soon as possible. It should have been addressed immediately, but you didn't. So, let's go from there and work on a possible solution.

Your problem is that you don't have another job to go to, so you feel stuck. But, this job won't meet your requirements either, so you need to address this. Call up your new boss and ask to come in for a meeting. Explain that you thought you were being hired for the 1st assistant position and you were so surprised to find out that you had been slotted into a different role. "I understand that you probably have that position already filled, but what can we do so that I can get that experience?"

Then work together to come up with a solution. Be flexible and not accusatory. If you start out with "You guys screwed up" you won't get anywhere. But, try to brainstorm with your boss. Make sure you are clear on your internship requirements as well.

I don't know your manager. Maybe he did this on purpose in order to get a less than pleasant job filled, but maybe it was an honest mistake. If it was an honest mistake, your manager will be willing to work with you to come to a solution. If it was done on purpose, you may be better off working for a different company, even if it doesn't involve golf.

If they officially registered with your college as someone for interns, you may be able to get your internship coordinator to help out.

Good luck. I'd use some golf phrase, but I got hit in the face with a golf club when I was in 5th grade and I've avoided it since.


Alex Cantu said...

This is a horrible situation that you have gotten yourself into. The good new is your 19 years-old. I started my first internship at the same time and it’s a smart idea to start that early. You will get more internship opportunities. Think of this as a trial internship. I can’t even remember what I did at my first internship. If you have a problem with your position you should talk to your boss. Be honest but reasonable. If you need money keep the job and the next internship that comes your way tell them you’ve already done the entry-level work (referring to bag attendant). Good Luck.

Mariaelena said...

I disagree with evil HR lady in that the recruiter may be attempting to fill a position that is a better fit. When you are applying for internships through a program expectations for companies that are participating are very clear. If you have 2 possible internship positions then you have wiggle room, if not, then you don't.

I echo the "contact the intern coordinator." It's unfortunate, but some places pull the bait and switch, advertising for interns for 1st assistant when what they want is a bag attendant. They let students think they are applying for the one job when they are getting the other. Particularly since the OP turned down other suitable positions, the company needs to be barred from participating in the internship program.

Amit Bhagria said...

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Despite a marginal difference, the tools used for outer and inner development are the same. If one can identify with this general principle of mastery in personal life, one is at the helm of mastering his career. Personal mastery deals with living life with purpose, career mastery deals with working with a purpose effectively.

Graduating from college is a significant rite of passage. For most graduates, it signifies an important transition into the real world of being totally independent and earning a livelihood full-time.

The thought of making it on your own can make you anxious and uncertain about the future. Or, it can make you positive and rosy about your expectations. The difference depends on how well you prepare for the mental and physical things every move requires, especially from college to the workplace.


Sandi Mays said...

Who knew that you could major in golf?

Bottom line - you learned a great lesson. Who can put a price on that?

Hopefully your take away was that you need to make sure you get the following in writing before you accept any job:
Job description
Exempt or Non-Exempt
- Pay frequency
- Pay type (salary or hourly)
- Status (full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal, commission only)
Bonus, if any
HR Policies

Sandi Mays

Tor Hershman said...

it's hittin' a ball with a stick

Jill HR said...

We're all assuming the worst (i.e. that the OP did not get the job he applied for) but administrativ errors happen all the time. This may simple be the case of someone filling out the wrong job info on the offer letter, when the intent really was to hire him as Assistant whatever #1.

Anonymous said...

Mariaelena - not all internships are acquired through a formal program. This golf club may not have a relationship with the school. I have a BS and I never had an internship. I did a job shadow once, but that was it.

Amit - Comment spam doesn't make people want to visit your site, yo.

Sandi - I was thinking the same thing (majoring in GOLF? Nice!)

I totally feel for the OP. All I can say is do your best to not burn a bridge here.

Andres V Acosta said...

Did Evil just say, "I'm going to say some things that might sound a little harsh"? Who are you and what have you done with the real Evil? Is having a baby making you soft?

To the "pro golf major" ... stop your belly achin'; what Evil is trying to say is you need to speak up or take your lumps. Welcome to grown-up world.

jaded hr rep said...

Agree with the advice, and am shocked the offer was made with no clarification on what the offer was for (title, salary, etc.). Recruiters should always be clear s/he is slotting the candidate into another job. Never have I called an applicant without clarifying what job I'm interviewing them for. Hopefully student was fully listening and not glossing over these important details. Not to overly generalize, but I've also interviewed many college students who DO NOT LISTEN! Disappointing.

Leroy Grinchy said...

I think it really depends upon how much you need the money. If you need the money then stay until you can get another job DOING THE LEAST AMOUNT OF WORK AS POSSIBLE. They lied to you. They screwed you. But if you need money, you need to work.

As soon as you get a new job, quit immediately. Do not give two weeks. They lied to you. They don't deserve to have you there.

Don't stay there a second longer than you need to. If the employer lies in the beginning there is no way you will know how they will screw you further. As soon as there is funny business get out ASAP.

Remember, you get a job to serve your own needs not the employers. They have people to look out for their own needs. You are not that person. The company will not look after you, why look after it?

Good luck. Don't listen to anyone who said you did anything wrong. You didn't. You are a kind honest person, and you got screwed by some bastards with no morals. They are wrong not you. Keep being a good person. We don't have enough of them in this world.

Best Wishes.