5 reasons that made my job unbearable (1/2)

Maybe you already have been in this situation: The job advertised sounds promising, but after a few weeks you realize that something is wrong. The tasks are different from the job posting, the company atmosphere is strange and your relationship with your supervisors is extremely difficult. What now? Quit again after a few weeks? Stay?


Reason # 1: Negative work environment

I was shocked several times by the tone within the company. In the beginning I used the fact that I had lived in Canada for three years as an excuse where certain statements were unthinkable. But gradually I realized (also after asking for advice in my environment) that there was a discriminating, impertinent tone that was and full of assumptions. 


Teenagers were called little shitters and dirt maggots; they were  told that they won’t reach their goal anyway; and the statement “he did not get the job. He’s just an Ali” was said quickly.

There are certainly companies in Germany that don’t hire people with a migration background deliberately. Politically correct would have been “probably they have hired him because of his migration background” instead of “he’s an Ali”.


In team meetings, my supervisor rolled her eyes all the time; derogatory comments and advice such as “just think: what an asshole” were normal.  


In the first few weeks, my training consisted of being told how frustrating and difficult it was to work with collaboration partners.

I wanted to get my own opinion and realized that the collaboration was neither difficult nor frustrating. It was the opposite, I felt the collaboration was positive. But what I found difficult and frustrating, however, was the negative influence my supervisor and assistant supervisor tried to exert on me.


I had the feeling that I had to fight it all the time and it took me an incredible amount of patience and strength to keep my distance and not to go down with a negative feeling in conversations with cooperation partners.


I especially remember one day when I had an appointment with a cooperation partner. I had gathered all the information and was not nervous at all… until my assistant supervisor wished me luck because our cooperation partner was “so difficult”.

Later she wrote me a message, “Was it very bad?” My answer: “I don’t know what you mean, it was a great conversation!”

And that was indeed true and I was annoyed that she had confused me in advance. 


I asked myself many times what was wrong with me, that I did not understand their criticism of the cooperation partners. Until in a conversation came out that over a year ago (!) problems had occurred in the beginning of the collaboration. She didn’t want to hear anything about the current positive cooperation.


I could be called to be too sensitive, but I don’t want to work in a work environment where staff isn’t talking appreciative and respectful about and with employees, cooperation partners or clients/customers.


Reason # 2: Work content

If someone had told me during the job interview “you are hired as an educational employee, but actually the educational part of your work is only about 25%. The rest is administrative work and documentation. In addition, you will have no freedom to create educational ideas and implement them”… I would have politely thanked them and would have left.


Instead the job was sold to me as “educational work with a high amount of documentation”.

I have no problem with documenting. It the opposite, my Canadian colleagues were always surprised by how much I documented.


So what is meant by “high amount of documentation”? A meeting with a student has to be entered into the following areas of competence of the documentation system: Basic school competences, personal competences, social skills, methodical skills, job orientation, internship, and training. Everything that didn’t fit into one of these categories was written in the student’s protocol. Also, any contact with whoever (companies, teachers, supervisors, etc.) had to be entered into the documentation matrix. There is a lot to do when you have 20 meetings with students per week.


In my opinion, the correct job advertisement should have been “administrative clerk with pedagogical skills wanted”.


Reason # 3: Salary in relation to the amount of work

My professional experience was not recognized when I got hired. However, I was promised that after the end of my probationary period I could renegotiate my salary. The probation meeting went well, the feedback to my work was very good. However, the question of a raise was answered with a simple “no”, followed by a list of jobs that are better paid.


At the very beginning, during my job interview, I was told about “additional tasks” as well as a “phase-wise increased workload”. In my previous jobs, there has always been overtime or stressful phases, so I was used to it.


However, this time, 9.5 hours per week were added to my regular work, plus writing reports (about 2-4 hours per week). The amount of work reached a level that didn’t justify the low salary.


And I kept asking myself “why am I doing this?”


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