I’ve been reading your posts online and they are very helpful. I have the similar situation to “Justwondering“, so I’d like to ask your help.
I used to work in a major hardware company selling PC for over 7 years. Until all the interests gone and I decided to leave. I switched to a job selling IT consulting service last year. 5 months with that job, a recruiter caught me and offered a very exciting opportunity, which is to sell software to Asia-Pacific area.
I was so happy and thought I found the best job I could think of, because I wanted to learn software, I know I can sell, and it is also a good software company. More importantly, the job requires candidate speaks fluent Mandarin, and that is my first language. I was informed that I will be given the opportunity to sell the product and develop the market in Greater China area. Think about it, the product, the company, the market…I couldn’t wait to start the new job!!
Now I’m in the position of selling software for 3 months. Unfortunately when I started, I was assigned the territory of India. My past 7-8 years experience is dealing with customers in North America. And as I mentioned above, one reason I love the job is because I speak Mandarin and am very interested in developing that huge potential market.
Now dealing with India, due to the reason of culture, mentality, business environment etc, it is absolutely new to me, and all my strength and experience turns out to be useless. I am dealing with my weakness now, and it will certainly not satisfy my boss expectation. I even asked him if I would have chance to do Great China area, but my request was rejected.
I had thought about my next step and the options are:
- First one, if I try to find another job, what am I going to tell interviewer? I hate keep changing job, and I did not change one job for 7-8 years, but the interviewer would think why you change 2 jobs in one year? What’s your problem? If I say I stayed with one job very short (5 months) is because I thought there is a “dream job” waiting for me, does that make sense? Now you want to leave your dream job?
- Second one, I take the challenge and do my best effort to develop India market. Since it is my weakness, it may take some time to pick up, but my boss already lost his patience. He already told me that “We won’t wait too long”. I’m facing the possibility to be terminated at any time. I’m not sure if it is fair to justify a people on job for only 3 months. But let’s assume if that happen, it would be a worse situation and I have no idea what to tell interviewer when I seek the next job.
So I really need your help and please give me some advice or suggestion. I feel myself in the dead water. Thank you so much!
First, thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated. Now let’s see if there’s something we can figure out together to help you. I hope so!
Your analysis of the situation is a a very good one. It’s important for you to know that many bright, talented people come to a place like this in their lives and they find a way out of it. Even if the water feels dead to you, there is a phrase from Zen Buddhism I love: The river flows. Around the bend…although it may be rocky for a while…there is an answer.
In my life, whenever things like this happened, I always emerged stronger for the experience – although admittedly sometimes it took a while and I wasn’t always so sure it would work out at every moment. But it always did. I think these lessons help make us better employees as well as helping us see things in our lives in a whole new way.
But enough with the life coaching…right now I know you just want some answers.
While I certainly would never suggest I have the right answer for you – you will know that yourself – here are some of my thoughts to help spark your own:
- Either the recruiter lied to you, the company you now work for lied to you, or they both lied to you. In any event, they did a wrong thing. You are not doing the job you were promised and in no way should YOU feel bad about not succeeding in the Indian market. I know you are trying your best.
- Whether they fire you or not, I’m not sure this is a a company whose promises you can trust. Let’s say you did manage to turn things around, can you trust them to give you the raise or bonuses they promise? Is there really a good future there for you, or would you be smarter to take that same effort and apply it to a new job – one that you really want? I always believe in trying to make a job work before jumping ship, but in this case, even if you did it, what would you have? Would this kind of boss always make you feel insecure? Unless there is more to the story, he doesn’t sound like someone you can turn to and discuss things with. Do you really want to stay in this job where you feel so unhappy and unappreciated?
- Since you are worried they will fire you anyway, no matter what, you need to start looking for a job again. It’s the smart thing to do. And if things do turn around, all you’ve done is spend some if your spare time looking. Nothing lost.
- Meanwhile (while also looking for a job), I think you might as well try talking to your boss. Let him see your determination and strength. Tell him you really want to do well there and ask him to set some specific goals with you to help you turn things around. Ask him if there is any training he thinks you should take. Really show him you are eager and determined to make things work out. And be confident in your own ability. You don’t have to succeed; these are tough conditions. All you have to do is know you tried your best. At the very least, you’d feel better about yourself and maybe learn a bit more about software.
- Now to the job hunt. First you need a good resume that highlights your best skills before you get to the details of your experience. This helps people get past the two jobs within a year or so. Luckily you have a long-term job to show you are loyal and reliable. You can find some information here: 5 Must-Do Resume Tips from a Fellow Blogger. If you go to Susan Ireland’s website, she also has good cover letter suggestions and examples. You’ll need that too to sell yourself. I’ve been in a similar situation, and a good cover letter that catches their eye will help get you past any recent short-term jobs.
- Now here’s the really good news…you can go after the kind of work you want now – using your strengths. Mandarin is a great business asset nowadays and there are probably jobs you are qualified for in those markets. You need to make every effort you can to find them – including talking to anyone you know from China or who works there. Ask everyone! This is the time for you to be networking.
- When talking to a recruiter or in an interview, you can tell the truth (without all the details of course). You never want to say anything bad about another employer, but you can say that you were recruited from your other job with an offer to use your Mandarin skills and work with Chinese markets. Then you can say something like “unfortunately, they didn’t have that opening anymore and assigned me to India. As much as I appreciate the opportunity to learn new things, I really want to work with China because I think my skills are especially suited to that market. And I very much want to be part of helping to open up new business there. Unfortunately, where I am now, that’s not possible. As you can see from my other long-term job, I am very loyal and very much want to find a company I can be part of for a long time.” Not those exact words, of course, but you get the picture.
Companies know that people make career mistakes. It happens to almost everyone. Except people who never take risks. And to let you in on a secret…people who never take risks never get very far – and are not the right personality profile for expanding markets. As long as you’ve shown stability in your career (which you have), a good company will see past a bad experience or two.
But you have to believe in yourself before you can sell them on that. If you don’t believe in you, why should they? That’s the real secret. But you have a lot of strengths and I want to make sure you know that. If you speak from your heart and let them see who you really are, a good company will recognize your value. And a bad one…well, you don’t want them anyway. That’s part of the lesson, I think.
I hope this helps you look at things another way. AW. To summarize my thoughts (and I realize they may not match yours):
- Redo your resume immediately!
- Start looking for a new job doing what you thought this was – or something similar.
- Also talk with your boss and try to turn things around – or at least leave on the best terms knowing you tried; if they don’t see your value, they are not the right place for you. It is NOT your failure. It may actually turn out to be a lucky thing because it got you thinking about what you really want!
- Interview with confidence, knowing that the wealthiest, most-respected business men (and women) all took risks. And at some time they all failed. No one makes it all the way to the top in business without slipping. If they do, they missed many essential lessons – as well as the compassion for others that would help them be truly respected.
I think you may find many good things coming your way when you start to look for them – and believe in yourself. Things like this can sometimes make us feel less about ourselves, but just remember…it’s not what you can’t do, it’s what you can.
Good luck! Please keep us posted.
New Work Coach Cafe Policy:
Although I had to stop answering individual questions (to preserve my sanity), as always your thoughts and stories are VERY welcome here.