Q. I am an RN and I left a job I had for 3 years at a health information company to accept an electronic medical record training position with a major healthcare organization, reporting to the SVP. When I arrived to start my new job, the job description and my report to manager had changed. This was all a surprise to me. After five weeks, I was released by my newly assigned middle manager, with no documented reason, other than being told I was still a probationary hire. This is a first for me! How do I handle presenting this to a new employer and what about on my resume?
A.Presenting the job on your resume and developing a public statement on a very short job can be a challenge. You might decide not to add the job to your resume to eliminate the immediate screening from a resume review. You have a good story to tell in networking meetings, or interviews, and hopefully you can articulate some of the actions you took with your former employer to understand what had happened.
The original agreement, and the reason you chose to leave a stable job was for a specific role, and to report to a Senior Vice President. Change happens in organizations, and we can understand that. At the same time, you should have been given the opportunity to try and understand it, by being prepared for the changes prior to your first day. What should have happened is the SVP, the person who hired you, should have called you to explain the organizational changes which needed to occur on both the reporting structure and the responsibilities of the new role. You would then have had the opportunity to discuss these changes in greater detail, register any concerns, and make arrangements to meet with your new manager, in addition to a face to face meeting with the SVP.
You deserved the opportunity to accept this new “offer”, to reject it, or to work out some kind of understanding about what your future would hold. Five weeks seems very fast for any action to be taken, especially being separated from the job.
There are so many questions to ask, which in hindsight may have altered the outcome. Did you talk to the SVP? Did you talk to a human resources person? What did your original offer letter say? Did you have an offer in writing? Some people would suggest you had an opportunity to talk to a lawyer if the written offer was not honored as it was written. Were you offered severance based on the separation, and the initial circumstances?
People have accepted offers, and changed their minds, or received better offers. Companies have made offers and then withdrawn them based on changes in the economy, or other circumstances. These situations do happen, and when both sides work with integrity and honest communication, facing responsibility for their own actions, fair resolutions should result.
I encourage you to communicate with a senior leader at this firm about a positive public statement which supports your job search. Your conversations with potential employers should be using the same statement showing your understanding of the organizational changes which led to your departure.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
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