Some background

In August, I began a role as a software developer in a very prestigious organization I'd been hoping to join for quite some time. I had plateaued in my previous role and was eager to to something new. The new company has a great reputation, and, to be blunt, I was so keen to join, that I was careful not to set any conditions on 'my side' that might jeopardize a job offer. I simply couldn't imagine being unhappy there; I imagined that even doing grunt work there would be an enormous education.

The company is a great organization, with clever people and some outstanding products. However, once I joined, I realized fairly quickly that it can't offer me the sort of work I'd like to do. The role is quite junior compared to my last one, the work quite trivial - and I don't think that's just because I'm a new starter. Other people in my team have privately expressed frustration with the type of work they're doing. "Bored" is a word I hear a lot. I'm worried that the role is a step backwards, rather than forwards.

In addition, I'm really struggling to work effectively with my manger. He's not a horrible person, but he is a very 'expressive' one. I'm sat next to him, very closely, so when he slams his fists on the desk when a compile fails, or shouts obscenities in response to an email, or clicks his fingers in front of my face to get my attention, I find it very disruptive. I feel micromanaged and in very little control of what I do on a day-to-day basis. I'm finding that I actively look forward to him being absent from the office. I don't really know how to deal with him, or how he'd react if I brought these points up. As is, though, I dread his arrival every morning. I have really never worked with anyone like him.

The problem

I joined under a probation scheme. Essentially, for the first three months of employment, either party can terminate with a weeks' notice. Once probation completes, both parties have to provide three months' notice. I'm only a few weeks away from this point, so I feel I have to make a decision fairly soonish. And that's what I'm struggling with.

Speaking to my manager

I've expressed some concerns to my line manager, who fairly readily acknowledged that the work wasn't going to be challenging, and that I was probably overqualified for the position. After some discussion, it was suggested that I wait a few more months, and that in the new year, I might be able to transfer to another team. I was open about my concerns with the notice period; I was told verbally that it is rarely enforced for developers.

If it weren't for the notice period, I'd stay a while longer - give it the full six months, and a proper chance. But I'm worried that if I stay, I'm going to struggle to find my next role when I have a three month notice to serve. I could ask for an extension to my notice period, I suppose, but I think that could raise a lot of eyebrows (and is basically telling them I intend to disappear).

At this point I'm really not confident the situation is going to change, and I'm very unhappy. Getting 'trapped' here would be a really unpleasant experience if I couldn't find a way to work better with my manager.

What do I do? Do I trust the verbal 'agreement' that the notice period can be shorter? But what happens when my next interviewer asks my notice? Could three months count against me? Above all, I want to be open with my current employer, and not make the same mistake with my next job.


My new job probably isn't right for me. I'd be willing to wait a little longer, but in a few weeks, I'm going to be stuck with a three month notice period. I don't really know if and how to negotiate that.

  • Is there any chance in negotiating the three month notice period? Maybe if it were 1 month, you'd be willing to stay? – Brandin Oct 12 '15 at 7:30
  • 1
    What country? Long notice periods in the US are not enforceable and in most European countries up for negotiation. In Germany I once had a ridiculous notice period (6 month or so) but when I left we just amended the contract. There is little benefit for the employer to force someone to work that really doesn't want to be there. – Hilmar Oct 12 '15 at 12:37

No. Starting looking for a job now.

Having been in this situation myself here's a few of my thoughts on the matter.

You are a small cog in a big machine.

Unless you've been hired as a manager or with a job description to implement changes to the organisation, your being there won't improve or change the company's culture or practises.

Finding a new job may take longer than you think.

Deciding to change job isn't simply a matter of flicking a switch, it maybe be a prolonged experience. It is better to be looking now while things are still tolerable, than to wait till you're really sick of the job before starting looking.

Your professional development is being stunted while you're in this job.

Yes granted you will still be developing various work related skills while you're in this job. But the opportunity cost is developing more valuable and challenging skills in another job. It would be much better for you to be spending the next six months in a challenging job where you are learning, than this job where you are learning little.

Being bored can lead to bad habits.

If the work is repetitive and menial, then staying in the job is training your brain to work in this way, instead of looking for abstract solutions like you might in a more challenging role. This thinking will become more entrenched the longer you stay in the role.

Ultimately - I think any advice that suggests that you should given a token minimum period comes from a misplaced sense of obligation to your employer. The relationship between you and your employer is an ongoing mutual exchange - you provide your labour and they provide a salary in return. If the arrangement is no longer suiting you, you have no obligation to continue it.

| improve this answer | |

I agree tat your current work place is unsuited for you, but for a different reason. Your manager seems to be the biggest problem. Quoting what you said:

I sat next to him, very closely, so when he slams his fists on the desk when a compile fails, or shouts obscenities in response to an email, or clicks his fingers in front of my face to get my attention, I find it very disruptive.

Your manager's behavior toward you is entirely unprofessional and unacceptable in a professional work place. There are many instances in which one might encounter frustration, the failure of a code compilation which is one among many, along with distasteful / rude emails. A manager is supposed to be a model of self restraint and leadership for his / her team, and your manager allowing emotion to overwhelm reason / rationality runs counter to his purpose in the team.

I work better when management is more hands off and sticks to the higher level picture. My suggestion to you is to have a private discussion with your manager, saying how his behavior (swearing etc) is disrupting your work and making it very difficult to continuing working with him. Your manager should be reasonable enough to recognize that his current behavior is detrimental to both his status in the team and your development in your team role.

Ultimately, trying to leave is a short term situation, and you are better confronting the source of your unhappiness - your manager rather than merely treating the symptoms.

| improve this answer | |
  • Leaving and finding a new, better job is entirely under the OP's control. Getting his manager to change the way he behaves is not, and to me it seems naive in the extreme to assume not just that he is willing and able change, but that he will do so immediately if a recently hired underling asks. They could try taking it up with HR or the manager's manager, but that's also a path fraught with peril. – lambshaanxy Oct 11 '15 at 22:47
  • @Jpatokal - I don't believe assuming reasonableness on the part of the manager is naive. It is to his own benefit that he changes if he wants to preserve his reputation in his team, and if the behavior is pervasive enough , his job... – Anthony Oct 11 '15 at 22:57

There are a lot of problems which you seem to be facing here.

  1. Your manager's unprofessional behaviour: Everyone has the right to be comfortable at the workplace such that their productivity doesn't get disturbed by someone else's behaviour. So, you can politely tell him that his actions are disturbing you, and you can't concentrate due to that. Or much better, you can request a change of place, somewhere a bit far from his desk.
  2. Boring work: Yes, starters tend to get trivial and boring tasks in the beginning, but soon starts getting nice projects soon. But, it might not be the norm at every company. So, ask the experienced people at the company regarding that. If they are positive, then you might want to do your current tasks neat and nice, and wait for the nice ones. Else, you might want to talk with your manager about your future in the company.
  3. Verbal promises: Verbal promises are in most cases, frustrating. But, they are kept in most cases. So, sit down with your manager and discuss the career ladder for your role. And if he feels that you are over-qualified for the job, then ask him about a position which would suit your qualifications and satisfy your demands. And ask him what it takes(in both matter of time and work) for getting promoted to that position.

If you can't wait for the promotion(if the time required is long), and your manager still makes unconvincing verbal promises(inform him about the three month probation period for making the decision), then you have to reconsider your future with your current employer.

Could three months count against me?

No, you can explain the situation to them, and they will definitely understand.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .