I interviewed for a job that offered less money but also a lot less travel than my previous position. It's a sales job, with a smallish base salary with most income coming by way of commissions. The hiring manager went on at length during the interview process about how a lot of new systems had just been implemented to make the company's product very competitive, and how I was coming in at the "perfect time" to take advantage of these new systems. I told the manager what I needed in my first year in terms of salary + commission, and he said that number was quite attainable - not easy, but not impossible, either.

It all sounded good. I took the job, but after doing so, and getting the "inside scoop" from other employees, I don't think I was given a truthful story by the manager. The "systems" he touted were NOT in place. In fact, they had already been delayed a year and were probably not going to be fully implemented for another year.

I talked with other salespeople in roles similar to mine, and the mood is not great. Management claims that the systems were not promised for 2015, but that they would be rolled out throughout 2015 and 2016. The employees tell a different story - that the systems were promised in early 2015, but management kept making excuses for a long string of delays. When I told other salespeople what I was told regarding my first-year compensation expectations, some actually laughed. None of them thought it was a realistic number given the state of things.

Given that these systems won't be fully implemented for another year, and that this job is mostly commission-based, it is going to take me FAR longer than expected to get my sales ramped up to a point where my income is acceptable. Hindsight is 20/20, but I'm pretty certain I would not have taken this job had I known then what I know now.

It's a good company, a large company, not some rinky-dink fly-by night operation. The manager has treated me very well in terms of personal interaction. But they just don't seem like they have their shit together on this project. They are at least a year behind what I was told during the interview process, and have no firm target date, so this could be pushed out to 2017 before everything is in place. I would not mind sticking with this and help move things in a positive direction, but NOT at the smallish salary they are paying me.

Were they to double the salary, if only for a year, that would keep me hungry but not starving. However, there is no way I would go to my new manager with that request because a.) I highly doubt he can or would help, b.) my request implicitly suggests that he - at best - oversold me during the interview, if not outright misled me, and c.) he'd probably kick me to the curb in short order if he knew I was not happy with the comp.

So, I'm trying to figure out which way to go here. If renegotiating my comp is not feasible, I can hang on for a while while I look for something better, but I worry about what to tell an interviewer about why I am leaving after a couple of months. I want to keep my responses positive, and I don't want to burn any bridges. However, I also don't want to come off as flaky or a quitter, so I am not sure how to put lipstick on this pig.

Suggestions, guidance and advice would be much appreciated.

  • 2
    What is your actual question? I think there is something worth asking in this scenario, but right now it reads like a bit of a rant, or asking whether you should quit or not (which we can't answer). Check out this meta discussion for topics too avoid, particularly "Real questions have answers" and "advice on what to do".
    – David K
    Dec 8 '15 at 20:50
  • I can streamline: "Hiring manger lied. Job sucks. Only been two months. How to spin positively in future interview?" Perhaps it is a bit of a rant, but I felt the detail was necessary to explain what the negative experience is, and how to spin it in a new interview, especially after a very short tenure. Seems like folks below got the gist of what I need help with. Thanks!
    – Nunya
    Dec 8 '15 at 20:59
  • Thanks. It has been almost six weeks. Yes, I am probably panicking, but only because virtually every piece of information I've received since taking the job has contradicted what I was told during the interview process. If it were just one person or one source of negative information, I might take it with a grain of salt. But when I am getting the same story from multiple independent sources, it's hard not think that I ran into a burning building here.
    – Nunya
    Dec 9 '15 at 3:11

This company does indeed sound like it treated you dishonestly. If you simply can't afford to live on the wages they're offering, then you may very well start looking for something else.

As you yourself have said, it's unlikely that they would double your base salary. Asking is probably a bad idea, although I'm not sure whether they would fire you (if other people have been quitting they may just need you, but you will definitely paint a target on your back)

I would handle it like so:

Step 1: Look for a new job

Don't be too worried about quitting a company after only a few months. You took a job that sounded awesome, but found that the company had misrepresented itself. When asked simply answer along these lines:

I have no complaints about the company, I simply found that they were not a good fit for me. (if pressed, maybe add) While the environment is not negative, I simply find that it's simply not one that I felt comfortable.

I would maybe Google a more refined answer, but, basically, stuff happens. You took a job that you didn't end up liking. People will understand.

Step 2: Accepting an offer/Negotiating

When you do find a good job you'll have a range of options available.

If the job is simply phenomenal, then just give 2 week's notice and jump ship.

If the pay is better, but you feel that your current job has better long term prospects, you could now try negotiating with your boss. Go to him and initiate a conversation/negotiation. Explain that the compensation is insufficient, and that you will take the offer unless more is offered.

Good luck!

  • Thanks! Oddly, in my industry, it is not uncommon to double or even triple the base salary during the first year while you and the product are ramping up. Once they see that you can sell, and the commissions are rolling in, they cut you back to just the base salary and let the now-existing commissions pipeline do the rest. This company chose not to offer that first-year guarantee, which would have been OK if the product was where the manager said it was.
    – Nunya
    Dec 8 '15 at 20:37
  • @Nunya - Think about it in this way: if you had fudged the facts on your resume as much as they did on their narrative of their product, you would never have gotten a second look, let alone a job. Personally I wouldn't initiate a negotiation without an ace up my sleeve (a job offer), but you know your boss / the company best. Good luck!
    – AndreiROM
    Dec 8 '15 at 20:40
  • This is an excellent question. On behalf of the entire community, I'd like to say 'Welcome to Workplace.SE!" Please return frequently!
    – Jim G.
    Dec 8 '15 at 21:10

You either are in a company which does not fulfill its promises or does not communicate its intentions to its employees. Both of these are very bad things especially since employment should be a relationship of trust.

Your first step is to make sure you have all of your cards in order so that if you have to leave, you can. This is advice which is generally good for all employees, but especially true for situations where the employee is in a bad situation. If this does go south, then you'll at least be more ready.

You need to have a frank conversation with your manager about what this means. Allowing your manager an "out" (such as "maybe I misunderstood") would probably be a good idea as it's unlikely that he will want to admit to misleading you.

My bet is that you will not get what you are looking for in terms of a raise – if a company does not have a culture which values being strait-forward and honest, then it is unlikely that the company will be willing to make such an effort.

For an interview, I've generally found:

  • A one-to-two month gap in a job history isn't something which most will hold against you. Even 6 months can be justified.
  • If pressed you can answer, "I was told that certain tools would be available to me, but it turned out that very much was not the case." Better still if you could explain which tools and how they were important.

Uh, that is not an omission that is a lie. If he said the system were implemented (at length) but they are not that is a lie.

I don't think you are going to get very far with this person to renegotiate. Someone that lied in the interview did not even negotiate in good faith the first time. That said it seems like you have to give it a try. "Based on what I have seen with the current state of systems I just don't see how I can make what I expected to make when I signed up for this salary / commission structure." If he does not react in a positive manner then just shut the conversation down. Look for another job. Don't push it as you might get pushed to the curb.

As for leaving - 2 months is probably better than 12. At 2 months it was not a good fit and at 12 you could not make it fit. If this is a big company the word is probably out with a lot of other hiring managers. If they ask I would consider being honest.

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