Post # 1
I started a new job last week in a major city, I live in the suburbs. I was super jazzed about the company and opportunity. It’s a start-up, so I was absolutely expecting to work hard and well over 40 hours per week. The owner said he really believes in a healthy work life balance. Before accepting the position, I explained that I needed to work in office from 8:30-5 (“standard” hours are 9-5:30) due to the train schedule/when my husband can take me to the train. I noted that of course I knew there would be exceptions to this and also said I was fully willing to connect and work at night from home. He said great, that wouldn’t be a problem at all.
I am the only person on the team that is married and commuting. Everyone else lives in the city. It is a relatively big deal if I miss my train. I can take a 5:45 but it takes twice as long. Then there’s a 6:45. I was advised not to take any train after 6:45 due to safety (the conductor said that it makes all stops including many in questionable neighborhoods, and that the train is often empty so he would not advise a young woman taking them. He also added that the later trains are stopped several times per week due to police/criminal activity). An Uber home is $50, and I was absolutely expecting to chalk up the cost a few times per month.
What I WASN’T expecting was that this would be happening several times per week. Tomorrow I have a meeting until 7pm, Tuesday I have a meeting until 5:30pm, and Wednesday ends at 8pm. Both tomorrow and Wednesday’s meetings were scheduled over the weekend so I feel like this is extremely last minute notice!
As of now there are two “night” meetings next week as well. I feel like this should have been disclosed during the interview process or at least when I told him my “standard” in office schedule. Since the team is so small and they truly need “all hands on deck” I don’t feel like I can suggest that I not attend. There is no way to dial in to the meeetings as they are helping with client events/functions. In addition, I cannot come to the office later in the day to compensate due to pre-scheduled client meetings.
I am at a loss as to what to do. I am thinking this job is not right for a married commuter (or anyone with any sort of hobby or life outside of work) but I’m incredibly dismayed that this wasn’t brought up in the interview process, especially when I stressed the schedule so much. There are no special events or extenuating circumstances causing this to happen. It’s a startup boutique marketing agency that represents 30+ clients so they basically have to run things as the clients dictate- if they want to hold a meeting at 7pm, so be it- we will be there.
I don’t even know what to say or do. The workload is also unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. Due to the sheer # of clients, entire days are filled with client check-ins and the only way to get work done is on nights/weekends. No one even eats lunch- not even at their desks. I understand start ups are rough but I didn’t expect this.
What would you all do if faced with this situation? My family and husband said I should simply turn in my computer and say this is not a fit.
I would appreciate any help. I’m feeling kind of lost and like I made a huge mistake.
Post # 2
I’m not sure of what you should do (in terms of keeping the job or leaving)… my question would be is asking them if this is an unusual week in terms of later meetings, or if this is a regular occurrence?
Post # 3
1. What does your contract say?
2. What does your boss say?
3. I am unsure on the validity of your ideas about the train. Seems odd and I’m sure hundreds of people commute every evening without event. Regardless, if this is not your preference then it seems that this job (probably the whole marketing industry) is not for you as it would not be regular hours.
Post # 4
I have no idea why it matters that you are married.
While I agree that it’s frustrating that the schedule isn’t really what was presented in interviews, I’m not sure why you interviewed for the job in the first place given the whole train situation.
It doesn’t sound like it’s a good fit for you. But if it’s a good opportunity maybe you can make it work. The workload could just need an adjustment period. As for the commute, I took a train to work for years and I just carried pepper spray with me for the times I had to take a late train.
Post # 5
I don’t see what being married has to do with anything either, why wouldn’t it suit someone who is married? Are married people only meant to work to 5:30 and spend the rest of their time with their partner?
Also, I’m not sure where you live but I’m not getting the big deal about the train either, Im sure many women get the train solo in the evening.
I don’t really think this job is for you, you seem to have this in your head that standard hours are 9-5 so you can justify not staying. Just leave and let someone else have the role who doesn’t mind the hours
could you learn to drive and commute that way?
Post # 6
My company has a policy that if you work after 9 PM they pay for the Uber/taxi – can you discuss something similar with them? That will incentivise them to get you out of there earlier and give you peace of mind.
while the hours weren’t explicitly discussed in the interview, a service-based start up is always going to have long hours as you’re at the mercy of clients.
Where are you located that commuter trains are empty after 7 PM? That just seems so weird to me! I could understand trains after 11 or 12 but 7 PM seems like a very normal time to be coming home from work to me?
yhen again my manager schedules “afternoon” meetings at 6 30 sooooo I’m probably not the best person to talk to about normal hours :S
Post # 7
Yeah, the married/ not married bit is moot.
I think the job sounds a bit annoying, but not undealable.
Are you SURE nobody eats lunch? That seems crazy excessive. I work in a hugely busy organisation, and can still find the time to poke my fork at a salad between customer contacts.
Post # 8
First off, agree with PPs that you being married has nothing to do with this.
Second, also agree with PPs that this just doesn’t sound like a good fit. This: “It’s a startup boutique marketing agency that represents 30+ clients so they basically have to run things as the clients dictate” seems completely incompatible with your desire to not have to take that “late” 6:45 train.
Third, again agree with PPs that it seems really odd that a 6:45 train is so empty/dangerous. And the conductor personally telling you that it’s not safe for young women just seems so strange to me—like a conversation from the 1800s or something.
Anyway, given all of this, I’d ask if this kind of schedule is the exception or the rule. But really, even if they tell you it’s an exception, I’d wager a guess that this won’t be the job for you given the need to be on clients’ beck and call.
Post # 9
Everyone above is correct in suggesting that being married doesn’t matter in the slightest, but the fact remains that you were clear about your significant limitations regarding when you would be available to do the job and they made it seem like the job was compatible with that. It would appear that is not going to be the case. You need to have a chat with your boss to see if this is a weird week or perhaps they have different expectations of your time than you initially understood. From how things have gone so far it seems like the company isn’t a good fit for you.
It may be less stress all around to find a job in the suburbs if you are concerned for your safety on the train at 7pm.
Post # 10
mrstravelbee12 : “I was absolutely expecting to work hard and well over 40 hours per week.” Um, everything you write sounds like you absolutey weren’t expecting to work well over 40 hourse per week because that would, logically always be past 5 oclock so I am actually quite surprised at your statement. When would these overtime hours otherwise then be!??!
I think this job is not a good fit for you. I don’t want to be mean or anything, but you don’t sound like a really motivated and engaged option for a start-up so maybe you should do everyone (and especially yourself) a favor and look for something with super regular hours. Not everyone wants and enjoys the kind of challenge and sacrifice a young company requires from it employees and there is no shame in that. Look for something else, Bee.
Post # 11
Another Bee who doesn’t understand what being married has to do with anything–married people work late just like everyone else.
It sounds as if the clients dictate the schedule, not you. Find a different job, Bee.
Post # 12
This job isn’t a good fit for you. I’ve worked at a start up before, they require a lot of extra hours. I worked 15 hour days and weekends while there. It’s ok to not want that. I’m now at a point in my life where I won’t work any OT. I would look for another job that fits the hours you can work.
Post # 13
Shesaidyes : It sounds like she was expecting to be able to work from home in the evenings. But I agree, if the clients dictate the schedule then the job is not a good fit for someone who wants to be able to leave work at 5pm most days (which is a completely reasonable thing to want, although likely not possible at a place like this).
OP, I’m sorry they didn’t make you fully aware of what the schedule would be like during the interview, particularly since it sounds like you were very clear with them about what you were looking for.
Post # 14
I agree with ozbee: perhaps the marketing industry itself is not a good fit for you. The marketing/advertising/communications fields are very client-oriented and it is implicitly expected that professionals in those fields will be flexible about the working hours. There’s a saying in my country about these fields: You know at what hour you go in the office, but you don’t know when you will leave.
Post # 15
You are right that your being married is extremely important. It disturbs me that so many people dismiss it as a non-factor. What is the point in marrying someone and then not prioritizing spending time with them? It’s perfectly ok to prioritize a job over one’s spouse?
Even if you were single, this type of job is terrible. It takes up your entire day and you whole life. They call them soul-sucking jobs, and anyone who wants to actually live a full life should avoid them. You rightly pointed out that these working hours are not for people who have any life or hobbies outside of work.
In your situation I would stay for 6 months. If the schedule is still consistently stealing my time and quality of life, I would then leave the job. I would say, well I gave it a chance but it was stealing my life from me. You don’t want to die while slaving away at some job, and in your last moments feel regret that you didn’t even spend time with your husband and take up a nice hobby.