OT: Managing new job stress.......

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2002
OT: Managing new job stress.......
8
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 8:59am

Hi,

I know this may not be the most appropriate forum for this post, but it also seems like many of us on here have experienced different job situations.  I haven't talked much about my job status recently (there has been much instability - for various reasons), but I've just accepted a six month contract with a major pharma company.

I have always wanted to work in pharma - when I went to the interview, the job was advertised as a one year contract for (basically) a marketing assistant, however, I was told that six months had already gone by from the person's mat leave, so it would be only six months.  Of course I agreed to this - six months is a good start to get into a new company.  I do not have benefits or vacation/sick days during these six months. 

Being a larger company, I had an "accountability statement" that fully details my role - I won't go into specifics but they were essentially junior marketing tasks that basically, I had familiarity with.  It also mentioned reception back up.  I had to sign this accountability statement, agreeing to the role-specific tasks.

When I met my boss (we had orientation for a week) during orientation, we chatted and I made mention of the fact that it wasn't "my" role per se......but someone else's I'd be covering for six months, until she returned from mat leave.  My boss mentioned that she is trying to create a new position, so I might be hired full time (good news).

Once I started, however, I realized that they were lacking administrative support, so they had essentially hired me as an executive admin assistant - managing calendars, ordering food, booking travel, etc.  I don't really have a problem with this, except that I am not experienced in these tasks.  I just have to pay attention and learn that little bit much "extra" so I can pick up on this...........although it concerns me that it was not the role I was hired for (e.g. supporting the VP of Marketing, executing marketing tasks, etc.).

People have asked me questions as to why I'm not supporting X person and what my role is.......I am finding it very awkward......they also want me to now cover reception from 8-9 and 1-2 everyday..........no issues but I didn't expect to do that much coverage plus supporting four people administratively.  I sat with the receptionist to train for about an hour on Friday and my boss wanted me to start covering right away (e.g. that day).  It is a very secure environment (e.g. reception is not just sitting there......you have to recognize and make good judgments about who to let in the building/what actions to take)........so fortunately they agreed to a "one week" transition where I can sit with someone else for that hour or two.......

Anyhow........I'm worrying myself into a state!! I DO want this opportunity to work out........I know this sounds totally snobby (and I don't mean it to be), but I am a marketing person and now I am in the "secretarial" pool..........a bit worried about this accountability statement vs. my actual role.......I'm not sure how much pull my boss has to create another full time admin person......and I'm finding the questions from my new colleagues a bit awkward.......(the receptionist was also asking me.......why I was hired so late into the mat leave......who was now supporting the person I was hired to support, etc.......I couldn't really answer)......Plus, frankly, I have never worked as an executive admin, so I am a bit behind the 8 ball in terms of familiarity with the tasks required in the position (as I mentionied, they're not difficult, but "executive admin" is an occupation all onto its own).

I am just going to keep at it and hoping for the best.......I'm sorry if I'm distracting from everyone's more serious issues on here but I've been a bit stressed about this and thought I would toss this out there for any insight you guys may have to offer........ :)

Mel

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sun, 04-14-2013 - 2:11pm

I agree with Dee. Mention you'd really like to do xyz if there is an opportunity, but don't complain about what you're currently doing.  You'll get farther with just being a good worker and taking initiative than with complaining. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Sun, 04-14-2013 - 1:03am

If I were you, I would NOT talk to my supervisor at all. You are only there 6 months so do whatever they ask you to do. I am assuming that you are getting paid more as a "marketer" than an "admin"? If there is a casual situation with the marketing manager, then maybe mention how much you would love to do more for/with them so it is CLEAR that is where your passion lies. But don't burn any bridges by speaking up about not liking this. If anyone asks you about the work duties and why you are doing x, y or z....then just SHRUG your shoulders...why would you, the new employee of weeks know what senior management has planned? That is just a dangerous question - it sounds like office politics or an intro to job griping. Steer clear of it.

GL,

Dee

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2002
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 12:56pm

Hi,

Thanks everyone for your input, understanding and positive wishes.  I have to admit that it's interesting to see what goes on in this type of economy......I don't think this employer necessarily did it intentionally, but so often they hire you based on one understanding and then when you start you find out a whole different reality.......

Anyhow......at the end of the day a job is a job (and a paycheque!) and I guess I have to focus on the positives right now. I really am committed to making this work......at the end of six months (or close to) it may be time to re-evaluate...........until then, like soconfused......I am going to smile....... Smile 

Hope you're enjoying your week-end.........

Mel

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 12:18pm

Well, good luck to you.  Hopefully you can use this position as a spring board to get you to where you really want to be w/in the company.  Meanwhile, as someone else already suggested, also keep your eyes & ears open for other options, elsewhere.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2002
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 11:45am

Hi,

Thanks guys for your responses.  Essentially, they are using the mat leave position (e.g. supporting the VP of marketing) as a way to get additional Admin support (it has to be justified, in order to create another role, so they hired me based on a mat leave, but it's not really that position).  So, my offer was signed by the VP of marketing with those duties associated, but someone else is doing this.  They basically put me in an admin role, supporting 4 senior people.......to hopefully justify creating a new admin role.

Thus causing the confusion and questions from my new colleagues.  I am not executing the tasks/role I signed off on (e.g. marketing related) - rather managing calendars for four people, booking travel, ordering food for meetings, etc.....

As I say, it's a good company and I want to stay at it.......just finding the situation a bit odd and also struggling with being on contract and trying to work in a role that I'm not really accustomed to (e.g. executive admin).

Hmm!! I appreciate everyone's input!! :)

Mel

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-10-2005
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 11:40am

I actually don't even consider this OT - as single people, we are responsible for supporting ourselves.  And yes, that can be very stressful! 

I actually just started a new job in January, and was hired to do X four days/wk, and Y on the fifth day.  (I am more interested in X as a career than Y.)  Literally 2 weeks after I started, a colleague left for an unexpected medical leave.  For her leave, I was told I would do Y for 3 1/2 days per week, and X for 1 1/2 days.  She's been   out for 10 weeks, with no return date as of yet.  

Anyway, given the tight job market here, my approach has been to smile, work as efficiently as I can, and in fact, work extra hours. I am exempt, so they don't have to pay me to work 50 hours a week.  That way, I can actually squeeze out more time doing X, which is the experience I want.  I am not sure if that's practical at all for you -but if they will allow you to work more, even if you don't get paid more, you can offer to take on more marketing projects.

Otherwise, I would find a way to "get in" converations on marketing as much as you can, to assert your value in this area.  If you see something that needs to be done, go ahead and see if you can do it.  I would be honest with your supervisor that this is something you're interested in doing for the company, although make it clear that you're happy to cover for them in whatever needs to be done.  

In the meantime, keep networking outside this company as well, and report that you'll be available in 6 months and are looking for a marketing position.  I am not sure if Linked In is a big in your area as it is here, but I recommend that to anyone looking for a job, or to make connections in general.  I was unemployed for 7 months last year, and although it was so frustrating, I really learned a lot of networking skills.  Even though you have a contract job now, I would recommend you set aside a certain number of hours per week to network for your next job.  If you end up getting an offer from this pharma company, that's great - but you will have more leverage if you also have other options.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 11:01am

I think it's ironic that they took the time to print out your duties and have you sign off on that, yet then added a whole bunch of other tasks that weren't on the list.  I think if it all gets too much, that you should talk to your supervisor and say that you were told that you were specifically hired to do X but now people have added all these other things and you don't want to lose focus on what is supposed to be your actual job.  I hope it turns into a full time job for you.

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Sun, 04-07-2013 - 11:00am

I know how stressfull the front desk can be, as I did that for five years.  We had 70 different businesses and we handled all of their meetings, calls, some admin support, etc.  In addition, we had our own comapny with it's daily tasks, constantly changing procedures, etc.  Anyway, it was a task to keep the other receptionist position filled.  We would hire someone, train them for a couple of days, up to a week and after their first day of going solo, they'd stop showing up.

If you paid for, and worked hard on an education in marketing, I completely understand your dilema.  If I may ask, if you're covering reception only two hours a day, what are you doing the rest of the time, if you aren't assisting the VP of marketing?  This must be common practice because my sister is educated and is a veteran in her field, and she covers for breaks on a daily basis as well.