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Dear SprocketInk Shrink,
You just start working after a long period of unemployment & realize that, due to poor management, the company you’re working for is a house of cards that can come tumbling down at any given moment. Considering that you just came off of almost a year of unemployment, where you barely got an interview, do you stick it out and hope that things will improve? Or cut your losses before this place closes up shop?
–Unlucky in Employment
Ugh. That sucks. No, it sucks bad enough that it needs to be repeated. That REALLY sucks.
Ultimately, I think the question comes down to a couple of things. First off, could you live, financially and otherwise, if you didn’t have this (or any) job? For most people the answer is no, but if you could subsist while unemployed for as long as it took you to find this position, then yes, it does bear some consideration. Being on the ship while it’s sinking is no fun at all—even if it doesn’t have anything to do with you, directly (and it doesn’t seem like it does, unless you’re the new management, but that’s a whole different type of SI question, now isn’t it?).
Another thing to keep in mind is the unemployment laws in your area. I know where I live, one can be laid off, collect unemployment for a while, get a job, quit that job with good cause (they’ve asked you to do something unethical or illegal, they misrepresented what the job would be—unintentionally or intentionally, they’ve misrepresented what the working conditions, hours, or pay might be, etc.) within a month, and get right back on unemployment. If this is an option for you, it’s worth consideration.
One last thing to keep in mind is this: will your professional reputation be tarnished or jeopardized by being associated with this company while it’s closing on the farm? If the answer is yes, you have to consider that your potential paychecks in the future might mean a lot more to you than the paychecks you are receiving right now.
However, if you’re like most of us, none of those situations really apply. You need the check, they are inept, but not complete scumbags, and it’s not like you’ll be blacklisted for working at the place while it kicks the bucket. So, what do you do?
I knew someone who recently went through a situation similar to yours. She left one unsatisfying position, and jumped right into the proverbial fire. The place she ended up was certainly crash-landing quickly, and while she was stuck there for several months, she was on the job market the whole time. Finally she received an offer from the place she’s at now—good pay, good benefits, good fit—and was able to start there about six weeks before the awful place she left fired its employees and closed its doors.
If it were me, that’s what I would do. It’s difficult and sometimes emotionally draining, but there are perks—you’ll still be receiving that paycheck in the interim, you can end your break in employment on your resume, and I, personally, think potential employers look more favorably upon prospective employees who are currently working. Awkward interview questions about your current employment can be answered with the typical, yet vague, “it’s not the best fit”, or some variation thereof. And, if you’re concerned your current employment situation will blacken your soul and suck your will to live… Well, make sure to surround yourself with your social support network and set a small portion of your paycheck aside for beer money. You know what? No. Tell your friends it’s time for them to pony up and buy you a beer or two. Unless they’re in the same damn position you’re in right now, you should get some special treatment.
And, if worse comes to worst, and they do go out of business before you get out of there…At least you had a few more paychecks under your belt and possibly, a better unemployment claim.
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