I'm not cut out for work

  • Thread starter Werg22
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  • #1
Werg22
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I just finished a coop term which I won't get credit for because my employer literally failed in every category. I had a long talk with him, and he told me very frankly that I'm the worst coop student he's ever had, and being a professor, he's worked with 256 students in total. He told me the coworker have been constantly complaining that I come off as abrasive and arrogant. I never intended to give this impression, and if it's a legitimate complaint, I was truly not aware that this was how people perceived me. The employer also told me that I just don't have the team-playing skills required in the workplace and that I am just not suited for the coop program; I'd be better off doing something else. Of course, I was suspecting this before he informed me of it, but this gave me clear confirmation. The question is, if I'm not suited of coop, I'm obviously not suited for work in general, so what is my best option? I've long thought it was academia, but having worked under a professor, I now realize academia is just like any other workplace. I don't think I'll ever be able to "change" to adapt to the usual workplace - we're just incompatible. Is my career already doomed?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
ice109
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how about changing the things about you that bother people?
 
  • #3
Werg22
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how about changing the things about you that bother people?

I was unaware that something in my behavior especially annoyed people. I've alway tried to be considerate with people, apparently I was doing it wrong. And it's not only that. I don't take interest into things that aren't theoretical enough; because of that, I don't have much of sense of initiative - something employers obviously do not like. I think the main problem is that I am somewhat too much at odds with authority. I like independent thought; I want to work on the problems that interest me, as soon as I am asked otherwise I just cease functioning.
 
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  • #4
stewartcs
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The employer also told me that I just don't have the team-playing skills required in the workplace and that I am just not suited for the coop program; I'd be better off doing something else...

You can acquire team playing skills. A lot of people don't have them naturally.

...The question is, if I'm not suited of coop, I'm obviously not suited for work in general, so what is my best option?

No, every work enviornment is somewhat different.

... Is my career already doomed?

Absolutely not. Just work on you people skills and look into some team building exercises.

CS
 
  • #5
Moonbear
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how about changing the things about you that bother people?

I agree.

Consider it a wonderful learning experience to correct things about yourself BEFORE it counts for a real job and gets you fired (or prevents you from getting hired). If you know someone who can be completely honest with you, get their help explaining what it is you do that comes across abrasive so you can be aware of it and change it. If you don't know anyone who can be that completely honest with you (it's rare), look for workshops on things like communications skills and team building.

It can be very difficult for someone who is used to doing everything on their own to work as part of a team or to trust other people to do things as well as they do (this was something I had a hard time with early in my career...I hated delegating things because they were never done as well or as quickly as I could do it myself...so I focused my energy on training the people I needed to delegate tasks to so that they DID do things as carefully as I would, and then learned to take a deep breath and accept that sometimes things would have to be done twice or three times, but it wasn't ME who was going to do it and when the people doing the task got tired of repeating it, they'd learn to be more careful the first time).

On the flip side of not appearing arrogant, sometimes it's as simple as accepting that you might not know the only way or best way to do something, even if you know A way to do it, and letting other people show you their way. Sometimes it's also as simple as saying, "I think I know how to do this, but let's pretend I don't just to be sure you don't miss teaching me something important I don't know yet."

It could be something innocent too, like your eagerness to do a good job and show them how much you already know coming across as an unwillingness to be taught how to do things.

You might even consider contacting your boss from the coop position again and explaining to him that you're very concerned by his evaluation of your performance and troubled that you are coming across so badly to others and want to work to improve and ask if he'd be willing to make time to meet one more time to assist in providing more specific examples of how your behavior came across so negatively and what you might do to improve. It takes a strong person to admit they were wrong and to seek to improve.
 
  • #6
nrqed
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I was unaware that something in my behavior especially annoyed people. I've alway tried to be considerate with people, apparently I was doing it wrong. And it's not only that. I don't take interest into things that aren't theoretical enough; because of that, I don't have much of sense of initiative.

But after he said that, do you feel that you now understand why people perceive you that way? Or does it still make no sense to you??


In what field are you? If you like more theoretical stuff and if you might enjoy more working by yourself, theoretical research in physics might be more your cup of tea.
I am not a people person either...I prefer to be by myself most of the time and to only talk to a few friends. So theoretical physics (which by luck I love to start with) was perfect for me.
 
  • #7
Werg22
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Absolutely not. Just work on you people skills and look into some team building exercises.

CS

I must admit I'm confused by this experience. I'm not the most charismatic of people, but I do have a good number of friends. I'm frequently lost in my own thoughts, so I may come off as distant and disdainful but it's a misinterpretation of my personality.
 
  • #8
Cyrus
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The problem is you probably don't have team projects like in engineering where you have to constantly work with a group. Id start working with a team as much as possible.
 
  • #9
nrqed
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I must admit I'm confused by this experience. I'm not the most charismatic of people, but I do have a good number of friends. I'm frequently lost in my own thoughts, so I may come off as distant and disdainful but it's a misinterpretation of my personality.

Know that you are not alone. With the people I am close to and I love, I am outgoing and talkative. With everybody else I am very introverted, don't talk much, etc. Some interpret this as being cold, uninterested, etc. A lot of people are outgoing and are talkative with everybody . They don't understand people are more introverted. But if you have to work in a group setting, you might have to make an extra effort.
 
  • #10
mathwonk
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forget it. maybe he was the jerk, not you.
 
  • #11
Moonbear
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I must admit I'm confused by this experience. I'm not the most charismatic of people, but I do have a good number of friends. I'm frequently lost in my own thoughts, so I may come off as distant and disdainful but it's a misinterpretation of my personality.

There is also a chance it was simply a personality clash with that particular employer. I was actually discussing that particular issue with a student the other day, that sometimes personalities clash in the work place, and it has nothing to do with either person being a bad person or bad worker, but they just do things or approach problems so differently, they can't see eye to eye or get along.

I wouldn't assume that's the case though and would work on learning more about communication skills just in case. Even if it was just a personality conflict, it will not be the last time it happens in your career, so it's a good time to learn how to deal with such things. Conflict resolution is another good workplace skill. Sometimes it's a matter of reading people correctly and adapting your behavior to work with their personality.

As an example, at one time I worked with a post-doc who was having a hard time getting a job. She asked to practice her interview talks with us, after which I gave her a pretty honest critique, all intended to help her improve her talk (I figured she'd been struggling long enough, it wasn't going to do any good to pat her on the back and not tell her what was wrong) so she'd finally get the jobs she wanted. It got back to me later that she was telling students not to come to me if they wanted to practice their talks unless they wanted to be ripped apart. :rolleyes: Fortunately, the student who reported this back to me did so because she realized the importance of getting a critique on a practice talk rather than flopping on an interview (and I had very little to critique because she had taken that attitude to advice all along so had put together a very good talk already). Once I learned that when that post-doc asked to give a practice talk, she really didn't want any critique, I simply stopped having time for her practice talks...there was no point bothering if she thought she could do it herself. Sometimes you have to try to pick up on these things and realize that some people just need to be handled with kid gloves.

Other people I can pull aside and tell them they're screwing up something and what they need to do to fix it and they'll thank me for the advice and continue on quite happily.

Sometimes it's just trial and error to figure out who you can be yourself with and who you need to hold back and handle with greater tact.
 
  • #12
NeoDevin
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forget it. maybe he was the jerk, not you.

This is probably the worst advice in this thread so far. While this is possible, he also told you that coworkers were complaining, so I'm going to guess that the problem lies (at least in part) with you. I would recommend contacting your previous employer directly, and asking for some examples (both general comments and specific instances) of what you were doing wrong. If they refuse to give any examples or to elaborate on why it was that you did so poorly, then you might think about writing it off as them being a jerk, or simply a clash of personalities. If they give you an honest critique, make sure you don't end up attacking them for it, or as happened in Moonbear's case, you won't get any more criticism. Once you have more information, you need to decide what to change about yourself, if anything, and how to deal with other people more successfully in the future.
 
  • #13
Werg22
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There is also a chance it was simply a personality clash with that particular employer. I was actually discussing that particular issue with a student the other day, that sometimes personalities clash in the work place, and it has nothing to do with either person being a bad person or bad worker, but they just do things or approach problems so differently, they can't see eye to eye or get along.

I wouldn't assume that's the case though and would work on learning more about communication skills just in case. Even if it was just a personality conflict, it will not be the last time it happens in your career, so it's a good time to learn how to deal with such things. Conflict resolution is another good workplace skill. Sometimes it's a matter of reading people correctly and adapting your behavior to work with their personality.

But it's not just the employer. Apparently, it's most of the coworkers as well. That encourages me to say that I am the problem; it's not a matter of everyone getting along.

Other people I can pull aside and tell them they're screwing up something and what they need to do to fix it and they'll thank me for the advice and continue on quite happily.

I wish my employer did that. I wasn't aware of how much dissatisfied he was until the very last day of work.

That said, I just don't enjoy working for others. I want to be independent and lead my by own interests. I don't think my employer was ill-meaning and I believe he was very frank when he said I am just not cut out for coop. He said he would never recommend me to anyone and that I'm the worst student he's had in 25 years. Surly that means something.

I need time to think. Morale is very low, I'm confused, pessimistic about the future and terribly disappointed in myself.
 
  • #14
will.c
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I don't take interest into things that aren't theoretical enough; because of that, I don't have much of sense of initiative - something employers obviously do not like. I think the main problem is that I am somewhat too much at odds with authority. I like independent thought; I want to work on the problems that interest me [...]

I don't even work with you and this comes off to me as abrasive and arrogant. You aren't the only person who likes independent thought and working on problems that interest you. It sounds like you view the tasks assigned to you as somehow beneath you, but until you work your way too the top, it's a pretty lame excuse.
 
  • #15
Werg22
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I don't even work with you and this comes off to me as abrasive and arrogant. You aren't the only person who likes independent thought and working on problems that interest you. It sounds like you view the tasks assigned to you as somehow beneath you, but until you work your way too the top, it's a pretty lame excuse.

Beneath me? So if I was asked to be the first man to land on Mars, you think I would dismiss it as beneath me?
 
  • #16
Poop-Loops
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Well, assuming you're landing on Mars, I'm hoping it's beneath you, and not above you, or else you'll land upside down.
 
  • #17
Cyrus
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But it's not just the employer. Apparently, it's most of the coworkers as well. That encourages me to say that I am the problem; it's not a matter of everyone getting along.



I wish my employer did that. I wasn't aware of how much dissatisfied he was until the very last day of work.

That said, I just don't enjoy working for others. I want to be independent and lead my by own interests. I don't think my employer was ill-meaning and I believe he was very frank when he said I am just not cut out for coop. He said he would never recommend me to anyone and that I'm the worst student he's had in 25 years. Surly that means something.

I need time to think. Morale is very low, I'm confused, pessimistic about the future and terribly disappointed in myself.

If you want to work anywhere, you better learn to work with others. If you want a promotion and make good money in life, you better learn to work and eventually lead others.
 
  • #18
Poop-Loops
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You can't be Newton in this day and age. Hell, even in Newton's time you really couldn't. Whether you want to do math, physics, engineering, computer science, or any other science/technical job, you HAVE TO collaborate and work with others.

Go back to that guy (your employer?) if you can and ask him what exactly was wrong, and ask if he knows ways of working on it. Even if he doesn't, it will make him think you want to change, which you should be wanting.
 
  • #19
will.c
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Beneath me? So if I was asked to be the first man to land on Mars, you think I would dismiss it as beneath me?

Huh? I don't recall where anyone asked you to land on Mars. If that's what this is about, then I'm very confused. However, you made the implication that the work you were assigned (not necessarily landing on Mars) was not theoretical enough, and therefore not intellectually stimulating enough for you. It's absolutely important to have a job that satisfies that need, but that need can't be satisfied all the time. If you want to earn money for what you do, even if self-employed, you must have some kind of product for all your thinking, prototypes, publications, something. If you aren't willing to do the boring stuff, you'll never be able to get the experience for people to take you seriously doing the fun stuff.
 
  • #20
Math Is Hard
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I've got a book for you that might be helpful: Difficult Conversations
https://www.amazon.com/dp/014028852X/?tag=pfamazon01-20 It's pretty good practical advice on working through conversations like the one you had with your employer.

A problem I see is that there was no feedback on how things were going until the last day. Your boss should have been giving you this intermittently (and this is a problem he needs to work on in his role as a supervisor), but maybe in the future you should be more proactive in soliciting this conversation with a supervisor if you are not hearing anything.

If I were in your shoes, I think I would want to meet again with the employer and find out more details about what was bothersome about your actions, and what actions would have been preferable. It's certainly something to learn from. At the same time, you should express that you had no idea that your actions were causing complaints, and that you thought you were just doing your best. That's something he should know.

Be humble and diplomatic about it. Don't let your ego get in the way. Just learn from what he has to say. Hopefully he will learn from you, too.
 
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  • #21
Beneath me? So if I was asked to be the first man to land on Mars, you think I would dismiss it as beneath me?

This convinced me. Your employer is right. Before you are asked to do something big or important you'll be asked to prove yourself by doing many tasks, including tasks that may not interest you.

I'm 100% sure that your employer assigned you many duties that you did not find interesting enough and more than likely didn't bother to complete them properly, if at all. Maybe you even complained to him/her about being assigned such tasks.

Either find yourself a field that meets your personality or work on your people skills.

Well, assuming you're landing on Mars, I'm hoping it's beneath you, and not above you, or else you'll land upside down.

Thanks Mr. Poop-Loops. Thanks to you I sprayed soda all over my screen.



Jordan Joab.
 
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  • #22
xfoo
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Jordan Joab is right about tasks. When you start coop work term, the employer has no idea what your abilities are (beyond what you have stated in your resume), and needs to assess them before he gives you any interesting/more complex work.

When I started my first coop work term (8 months in industry), the first month or so was almost a complete bore. My supervisor was very busy because he had a PhD student and other projects to supervise, in addition to a week long conference to attend. I basically sat at my desk and read a bunch of textbooks and articles he left me before I found any substantial time to work in the lab. Even then, I started out with small experiments, but by the end of the work term I was working on about 3 different projects at the same time and free to discuss and try any changes I wanted to make in the experiments.

Presumably after the interviewing and reading the job description, you had a decent idea of what you were getting into. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way (or so I've heard). Even then, your supervisors are the people who are going to watch how to learn and perform your duties. The impression you give them is important, no matter how uninteresting the task is.

You say you want to be independent and lead by your own tasks. You won't be given independence or lead your own tasks in somebody else's lab until you prove that you deserve it. Everybody has to start somewhere. I suggest you take the advice from the other people in this thread and discuss with your employer what you can do to improve the impression you project in future work terms.
 
  • #23
TMFKAN64
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I think the main problem is that I am somewhat too much at odds with authority. I like independent thought; I want to work on the problems that interest me, as soon as I am asked otherwise I just cease functioning.

Is my career already doomed?

Unless you fix that attitude, yeah, probably.

One of the smartest men I ever met in my life had an attitude like yours. He wanted to do everything his way, and he didn't want to take orders from anyone who he thought knew less than he did. Which of course was everyone. He *has* worked steadily... but only because he constantly changes jobs. He's smart enough to make a good impression at first and get hired, but inside of three months, no one in the company/at the university is speaking to him.

I have no doubt that he could have done truly great things, if only he had the ability to keep his mouth shut from time to time.
 
  • #24
Defennder
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How exactly did their impression of you being arrogant develop in the first place? Was there ever a time you saw a better way of doing things, and pointed it out to them and they simply just dismissed whatever you said out of hand without even considering the idea?

Or was it because you did not appear to be interested in learning at all, except at your own pace?
 
  • #25
Proggle
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My advice: get a job that will make you appreciate even the most "boring" tasks you were given and put you in your place. Work at a fast-food store, a restaurant or retail--somewhere where you will have to interact with customers and deal with co-workers that aren't as easy-going and respectful.

You may argue that these are worthless jobs for your career, but from what you are saying, I think improving your people skills is the best investment you can make. Trust me, your attitude will change after you experience how most people earn their living.
 
  • #26
Yeah, having spent many a summer in my teenage years working a cash register at a fast food franchise, I can attest that it does wonders for your perspective on employment. That's not to say that I'm not still arrogant and lazy, but it definitely had a big impact on my attitude towards subsequent jobs.

On the other hand, I still sometimes miss my old jobs doing landscaping/maintenance work, as it was so nice to be outside and have my thoughts to myself. Pay sucks, though.
 
  • #27
Andy Resnick
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I just finished a coop term which I won't get credit for because my employer literally failed in every category. I had a long talk with him, and he told me very frankly that I'm the worst coop student he's ever had, and being a professor, he's worked with 256 students in total. He told me the coworker have been constantly complaining that I come off as abrasive and arrogant.
<snip>
The question is, if I'm not suited of coop, I'm obviously not suited for work in general, so what is my best option? I've long thought it was academia, but having worked under a professor, I now realize academia is just like any other workplace. I don't think I'll ever be able to "change" to adapt to the usual workplace - we're just incompatible. Is my career already doomed?

Ouch. Let's start with some positives here-

1) You are able to hear criticisms, evaluate them as constructivly as possible, and react rationally.
2) You sort-of expressed an interest in modifying your behavior, even if you are pessimistic about the result
3) You are seeking help to address your poor experience, with the wish of not repeating it.
4) You are willing to own your problems.

Ok. One problem I see is that you were so unaware that coworkers and supervisor had complaints about you. I'm curious how the 'long talk' went- for example, if coworkers were complaining the whole time why did your employer wait until the conclusion of the coop to bring your behavior to your attention? In fact, since your employer has seen fit to rank you at the absolute bottom, why did your employer not give any warning about this?

I mean, if you had been given a warning, surely you would have striven to make amends?

It's not an issue of being 'suited' for a job- like breathing in and out, we all must work. You need to figure out how. Without knowing anything about your coop- what you were supposed to be doing, it's tough to say what went wrong. How are you with group projects? Think about how you interact with team members: do you participate, or do you go it alone? What is your attitude towards a team member that you perceive to be 'less qualified' than you- do you raise them up, or do you run over them?

Don't get discouraged. Working as part of a team is a learned skill, just like solving differnetial equations.
 
  • #28
Moonbear
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Ok. One problem I see is that you were so unaware that coworkers and supervisor had complaints about you. I'm curious how the 'long talk' went- for example, if coworkers were complaining the whole time why did your employer wait until the conclusion of the coop to bring your behavior to your attention? In fact, since your employer has seen fit to rank you at the absolute bottom, why did your employer not give any warning about this?
This is the part that is most bothersome to me. If he was entirely unaware of the problem, and nobody at the coop bothered to let him know there was a problem developing, how could he have hoped to improve? Part of the function of a coop is to gain real working experience, and if the employer isn't giving feedback along the way, I don't know how one can get good experience.

The reason I earlier suggested it could have been just a personality conflict is that with an employer who is so bad at giving feedback, he may have simply surrounded himself with people who function under those same conditions and all are similar in their styles and approach to work, while others have quit. Certainly there is a supervisory problem when such a negative evaluation comes as a complete surprise. NOBODY should have to guess what will be in their evaluation. Even with my students, when I do midterm evaluations, I make sure they have been getting relevant feedback from me along the way by having them write their own evaluation before I discuss mine with them, and if they don't match, I know that there is a problem with either me providing them with feedback or them interpreting the feedback they're receiving and that's something I can work on as a "supervisor."

Most likely, the problem works both ways here, with some issues with Werg's work ethic and communication skills, and some issues with the supervisor's personality and the co-workers' ways of handling conflicts. Were they going to the supervisor all along and complaining and the supervisor did nothing? Did they all just sit around letting things fester and providing no feedback while bad-mouthing Werg amongst one another until the supervisor solicited their opinions while preparing the evaluation at the end of the coop? Or did they all make attempts to nudge Werg in the right direction and it fell on deaf ears?

Werg, one thing you DO need to realize at this stage of your career development is that you ARE at the bottom of the ladder. You need to prove yourself before you can advance. While work may seem beneath you, keep in mind that everyone else you were working with had more experience and seniority than you...it's even MORE beneath them...when you're at the bottom of the food chain, you get the scraps that sink to the bottom. When you prove you can do a careful and conscientious job with that stuff, then you will get another level up of more challenging tasks and greater responsibilities. You also have a lot to learn about just how much you HAVEN'T learned in school yet. People who do well are the ones willing to roll up their sleeves and get the work done, regardless of whether they like or dislike it. As you prove you can do it, you'll move up. It doesn't happen overnight.

I'll just reiterate that now that you realize something went horribly wrong and that you need to correct it if you want to find future employment and keep it and if you ever want that chance to climb up the ladder further, you have to deal with a supervisor who is unwilling to recommend you for another coop experience. So, it's not only going to be useful to go back and find out what you've done wrong or how you could improve for the sake of improvement, but also for softening that person's opinion of you. While you may never get a good reference from them, you at least want to prevent them from telling others NOT to hire you for other coops if they talk to other people in the program. When you go back to talk to your supervisor, don't whine, don't complain, don't beg for a better rating, and don't make excuses or try to explain your behavior, just simply state that you were caught off-guard by the negative review, know you obviously have things you need to work on, and would like some constructive criticism of how to benefit from the experience to improve your future work performance.
 
  • #29
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I agree with Andy. However I do also think that it is your employer's responsibility to bring things to your attention if there are behaviors or habits that are negatively affecting your work performance or that of others. If you are unaware of the issue then you have no way to fix it. While there is no way for you to go back and correct the mistakes made at this job, you can take steps to correct this for futrue jobs.

As was previously states, working well with others does not come naturally to some people. I am very much intorverted, but after a few weeks in my job I found I excell at what I am currently doing, but its because my co-workers helped me do it. My boss didn't. It will come. The best thing to do right now is to find something that puts you into cooperative situations, even if its something simple like joining a local sports team or a cooperative online game, or whatever suits you fancy. BY constantly doing that, you will acquire the skills to work with other.

This seems like a horrible thing right now, but you've been given the opportunity to make the after affects very positive. Hang in there.

~MK
 
  • #30
misskitty
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MB, I agree that it could be a personality conflict. I have that issue with my current employer now. I do agree that his employer should have spoken to him much earlier.

Werg, Moonbear's right, by showing that you can handle all the simple things, more responsibility will be allocated to you when your supervisior believes you can handle it. Also by remaining professional when you talk with your former boss, it leaves a good impression on him so when future employers call him to ask how you were to work with, he can tell them about what was bothering him, however if he's fair he'll also mention your professionalism and willingness to correct your mistakes in the future. Moonbear probably said it all better than I did.
 
  • #31
Werg22
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Thank you all for the advices. I will be getting kicked out of the coop program, and will need to do 3 consecutive school terms in order to catch up, so I won't be able to exercise all of this. At least, I'm hoping I can find internships opportunities over the summers to come (not this one, I'll be at school).
 
  • #32
Rereading the OP, I notice that Werg doesn't mention getting any negative feedback directly from coworkers; their position is solely represented by the supervisor. So, one has to wonder if this is as much a personality conflict with the employer as a problem purely with Werg. It may be that the employer was drumming up their opinions to make himself sound more righteous. On the other hand, maybe not, but Werg seemed pretty blindsided by this charge, and also seems pretty sincere about aknowledging that he has faults and trying to work on them, which is not the kind of attitude that I associate with the sort of grating primadonna personality that he's been accused of having. I've known plenty of primadonnas in my career, and they invariably respond to criticism of this sort with bluster and counteraccusation, which has been notably absent here. After all, the kind of people who internalize criticism don't tend to become primadonnas in the first place...

I guess what I'm getting at is that it might be worthwhile to get in contact with some of the coworkers directly and ask them what, if anything, was problematic about working with you. Particularly if the work setting was such that you spent more time with them than with the supervisor. It may be that circumstances are not what they've been portrayed to be. You may even find out that many of the coworkers have had similar experiences, or it could even be that one of them has a personality clash with you and went to the supervisor to cause problems for you.

But, either way, it is important to keep in mind that whenever you start working in a new setting, you're the low man on the totem pole and will be expected to prove yourself on work that is boring or otherwise undesirable. It's basically a hazing process; if you take it in stride, you end up bonding with everyone, and if you resent it, it causes everyone to dislike you because they all had to go through it when they started.
 
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  • #33
f95toli
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But, either way, it is important to keep in mind that whenever you start working in a new setting, you're the low man on the totem pole and will be expected to prove yourself on work that is boring or otherwise undesirable.

Well, yes. But it is important to remember that no line of work is fun and interesting all the time. It doesn't really matter how far you have reached on the career ladder; there are always boring and tedious tasks that need to be done. Obvious examples in academia are e.g. writing grant proposals, reports, marking exams etc (and senior researchers have do handle far more paperwork than e.g. PhD students and postdocs). These things are nevertheless an important part of the job so we just have to accept that some days are less fun than others and do our best even when doing something we think is boring.
 
  • #34
Mathemaniac
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I have to say, I would be royally pissed if an employer had a problem with my attitude, as well as being aware of other coworkers having problems with my attitude, but didn't notify me of it until it was time for me to leave. To me, there is just something so wrong about that. I'm very much an advocate of self-critique and self-improvement, but sometimes that can't happen without the input of other people.

The fact that he waited so long to tell you all of this makes me think he wasn't doing his job properly as a supervisor. Evidently, he received these complaints, and did virtually nothing about them until you were leaving. That sort of inaction brings his competence as a supervisor into question.

Nevertheless, don't let these words of mine go to your head. What he did finally tell you is a very important lesson, perhaps in humility, among other things. Teamwork is a skill you have to learn, and I do believe it is learnable, depending on the person. Just don't give into despair or self pity. We all have our demons that we must do battle with, and we've only lost when we surrender. Of course, being aware and honest of their existence is half the battle, so perhaps now that you are aware of it, you can begin improving yourself in that respect.

But yeah, I like quadraphonics' suggestion to consult with your coworkers and get their direct input. I would also contact the supervisor for further answers, perhaps specifics, and ask why he waited so long to tell you all of this. Maybe he has a reason? I can't imagine one good enough, as doing so is utterly inconsiderate, disrespectful, and incompetent. Do these things politely, of course. Politely explain your situation and ask for honest answers. Be sincere in your desire for self-improvement. If you receive harsh criticism, don't get angry (but don't get sad either).
 
  • #35
NeoDevin
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From the OP
...Of course, I was suspecting this before he informed me of it, but this gave me clear confirmation...

He was not completely blindsided here, apparently there was some foreshadowing. (though I do agree that the employer should have made a point of mentioning it as soon as it became an issue)
 

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