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The first day I walked into the office of my previous job, the first three people I met either indirectly or directly told me that this was a bad company to work for. Two of these people were my managers, so it was demoralizing to say the least. I won't name names but this was a fortune 500 technology company. I found that having my bosses complain about the company and the poor working environment gave me a real negative perspective of the company that I was unable to shake. What was the correct response? I toughed it out for the remainder of my contract but having been greeted like that really ruined things.

I had got the job through my schools co-op office and I reported to them that in my opinion it is not a positive environment for students (let alone anyone) to work in. I sort of got in trouble and the office replied they had never had any complaints before. Should I pursue this?

TL;DR what would you do if the first day the boss tells you the job you have started is bad?

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what would you do if the first day the boss tells you the job you have started is bad?"

It depends on the job situation. You were in an internship, with a limited number of weeks, so you did the right thing by sticking it out then reporting your experience to the university office. If there is a chance that the next summer/semester you would be working another internship I would avoid the same department, or maybe even the entire company. But that would depend on how the other aspects of the internship went.

If I was just starting out a permanent position I would be very concerned that my new coworkers and managers were making these types of statements to new employees. I would investigate if there are corporate polices regarding transfers, some forbid people from internal transfer for the first 6 months or year. I wouldn't ask somebody in the department, but I would check either the corporate intranet, or anonymously with HR. Then I would work hard, but then transfer at the first decent opportunity after transfers are allowed.

If you are offered an exit interview either as part of the transfer, or if you reach the end of an internship (with no plan on returning), I would bring this up with management. The corporation should be concerned that employees and managers, especially managers, are wasting their recruitment efforts. The company spends time and money recruiting new employees only to have that effort damaged on the first day of work.

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  • Bobby does not speak of internship. It looks more like a job with defined duration. Jul 23 '14 at 13:07
  • It was arranged though the schools co-op office. Jul 23 '14 at 13:15
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I don't think you need to pursue this any further with your co-op office. You've registered your feedback, and the next time someone complains (if they do) the co-op office won't be able to say that they've never had any complaints before.

Unfortunately, your co-workers' assertions on your first day were probably a self-fulfilling prophesy. In another group in the same company, if your co-workers had come to you and said something like, "the bureaucracy in this company is a bit difficult to deal with sometimes, but don't worry, we'll help you navigate it. Our department is great anyhow, and you'll love working with us" you would have had a much better co-op term. So, there's not necessarily any reason to believe another co-op going to the same large (?) company would necessarily have a poor experience. (Indeed, from your posting, it doesn't sound like there was actually wrong with the company itself -- it was just your supervisors' poor attitude that ruined the experience for you.)

Chalk it up to experience, and see if there's anything general you can draw from the experience about what to look for in a future workplace. That's the beauty of the co-op program. You were only stuck there for a short time, and you can learn from that and find a better fit next time!

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    The co-op office gets grant money for getting students placed with employers. They dont really care if its a good fit because they are getting their students jobs. Unless you have another job then leaving the job is not a great idea for a student in a Co-op program. Jun 23 '14 at 2:12
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    @Chad the student finished up his/her co-op contract. I'm not advising anyone to leave a co-op position, just to move on and learn from it now that it is over. Jun 23 '14 at 2:16

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