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First full disclosure - this question is actually about my wife, but she comes to me for career advice, and I'd like to give her an accurate answer.

Recently, my wife got an interview with a local company involved in drop shipping - the position she is interviewing for is a 'customer support' position, but will involve considerable knowledge of code and computer programming because she will be assisting clients with online service issues - they essentially service clients looking for a vendor to perform drop shipping for them.

We did some research into the company and found some positive reviews and promising goals, but recently came across a few, more recent, unfavorable ones suggesting there may be some upper management problems. Nothing to indicate a lack of integrity in terms of timely payment and providing services and employment, but suggestions that the management of the company may not be entirely likeable, and specifically suggesting that they may hide stock options from new employees.

While this isn't the ideal work situation for her, we are in a situation where we could truly use the additional income, and my wife could really use, at the very least, an initial break into the working world to at least build up some recent professional experience (She has done private work, but that was years ago).

If she is offered this position, despite knowing the low quality of the employer, is it reasonable to take the job and bite the bullet in order to gain some employment? Knowing that the pay and the experience will be there, but that the work environment may be less than ideal?

closed as off-topic by David K, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Chris E, mcknz, gnat Jan 27 '16 at 21:32

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  • @JoeStrazzere "Customer Service" in this case refers to working to help clients set up a web-based tracking system to facilitate drop shipments - not service for particular individuals. The exact job requirements are a little confusing. – Zibbobz Jan 27 '16 at 15:39
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    You say "knowing the low quality of the employer", but nothing in your question really indicates this to me. Apart from the usual problems with sites such as Glassdoor as pointed out by Joe and Lilienthal, even the problems you point out here seem pretty minor to me. It might be the way you phrased it here, but if you disregard every position where the upper management is no entirely likeable you will have a hard time to find a job. – dirkk Jan 27 '16 at 18:02
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Here's a better question for you: does she have anything else lined up? And just how badly do you need the extra income?

If the answers are "no, she does not", and "we really need it" then the answer should be pretty clear. Remember that she can always keep looking for a better job while employed there.

If, however, you can afford the luxury of looking for yet another job then simply do so.

The only thing to keep in mind is that jumping jobs after only a few weeks/months is maybe acceptable once, but you want to avoid such a pattern emerging on her resume.

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    I would say that really just your first question is relevant for someone at the entry level. At that point, only an absolutely terrible workplace environment is worse than no job. If nothing else, a bad employer lets you really appreciate a great employer when you find one. – Kevin Jan 27 '16 at 19:55
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The problem with online reviews and services such as Glassdoor is that the large majority of such reviews are written by a very vocal minority. Employees that have been fired, laid off or have an axe to grind routinely turn to such websites to vent their frustrations which makes drawing conclusions from them very difficult.

That doesn't mean that you should ignore them. Reviews that are rational, well-written and not obviously vitriolic can point to systemic problems that could legitimately impact you if you were to accept a job there. Posters with multiple reviews are also more reliable, but Glassdoor doesn't publish that statistic. But even if there are recurring issues that are mentioned, you generally have no way of knowing whether they would affect you in your specific role, in your specific department, under your specific manager.

The best use for these reviews is as an inspiration for questions to ask during the interview. Ask about the management strategy, why the person previously in your role left, potential downsides of the company and so on. You can often be very specific with your questions as long as you remain tactful and avoid outright criticising a company based on hearsay.

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    True that glassdoor reviews tend to be polarized, but if there are multiple reviews all saying the same sorts of things, I usually start taking notice. – Kai Jan 27 '16 at 15:24
  • This is true of any platform where opinions are solicited. They are a barometer, nothing more. – Joel DeWitt Jan 27 '16 at 16:02
  • Your first sentence is so critical. How many people tell the manager at a restaurant that their service was "adequate"? – corsiKa Jan 27 '16 at 20:43
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Absolutely. When you're just starting out, any experience can be helpful in finding your next job, and as long as she would have no particular contractual obligation in that position, she could still continue to search for a better job, and then she would be able to afford to be picky. While job hopping does not look good on a resume, I don't see there's any issue with doing it once while starting out, when you don't have many options. Meanwhile, I don't see any benefit in her holding out for a better position, except maybe if it seemed pretty certain she was about to receive another, better offer.

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Your career is the most important asset you have. You must actively manage it.

You don't want to work for an ineffectively managed enterprise. Really, you don't. You need to probe before you take the position.

Ask if the position is newly created or being filled.

Ask what happened to the person formerly in this role.

Talk to the people working there and ask questions. What's it really like?

Also remember it's easier to find a job when you have a job.

If there are no glaring red flags, then give it six months or a year unless it's such a poor fit it's affecting your physical and mental health outside work. If that's the case get out ASAP.

You mentioned IT and coding - these jobs live in dog years, and many IT recruiters have told me the average tenure is 15 months to 2 years. I've been in the field 20 years and the longest I've been anywhere was 3 years.

Don't buy into the thought you'll never find another job. Early on you may think this is the case, but it's not.

Most of the time I see others move on (and I've moved myself) when the support for learning new technology tapers off. In this field if you're not staying current, you're falling behind - and you don't want to be an obsolete developer.

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