Hello, I recently (a week and a half ago) started a job in a small dental office doing administrative work, although my experience is in the clinical side of dentistry.

I got the job through a contact from my previous position, who said the nicest things about me. Unfortunately I find my new boss, although a nice woman, has been a bit unclear about my responsibilities, and her office needs a lot of help, in my opinion.

An attempt at a meeting to discuss “what’s working and what’s not” veered off, and stayed off track. I am not the most disciplined person, and I know she is not, in the end, however, I can’t work the way they work there-and although disorganized, she’s the boss, and I am feeling uncomfortable expressing how I see her office. I am not use to such disorganization and mixed messages of what she’s looking to accomplish, so I would like to quit. The last 2 days of work, there has not been a moment to give notice-her birthday, and then she went home sick- at this point I feel like the opportunities to slip out of there are escaping me!

I would like to call her to give notice ( I am off today), or to quit. First, is it appropriate at this point to quit over the phone ( I am not finding her very small office conducive to private conversations)? and, Do I have to give 2 weeks notice after a week and a half, or can I just tell her it’s not working out?

Thank you for listening! Thank you for your help.

First off, after a week and a half of work I don’t think two week’s notice is necessary. They survived without you two weeks ago. And quite frankly, no one is worth much after only being at a job for 1.5 weeks. So, go ahead and quit.

However, here are the consequences:

Remember that friend who referred you to this job? You’ve just ruined her reputation as well as your own. It will be extremely difficult to find another job in a dentist’s office. You think those people don’t talk? They do. And a story of, “Yeah, we hired this new admin. She lasted a whole week and a half!” will get told repeatedly. With your name attached.

This dentist (and the other people who work there) will tell the story. Your friend who referred you will tell the story of what a nightmare it all is. Then everyone who hears the story will pass it along as a “worst new hire” story.

Unless everyone you work with is exceedingly mature and realized it wasn’t a good fit from the start. (Not likely.)

Work is work. It’s hard. That’s why they give you money. If it were easy and fun, you would pay them.

The dentist is disorganized. You are disorganized. Why did you accept a job as an admin if disorganization is one of your trials in life? I would hire an admin to get me organized.

My true advice would be to buckle down and do the work necessary. You’ve been there 1.5 weeks. You can’t possibly even know how the office really operates after that little time. Your new boss isn’t interested in listening to your new ideas because you haven’t proved yourself yet. Prove yourself. Make changes. Get things set up the “way they should be.”

Quitting now (with or without notice, it’s all the same) will burn bridges. Bridges should never be burned unless you are actively being chased by a live troll. A disorganized dentist does not count, even if she has a drill in her hand.

The transition period is always difficult. Stick it out for at least 6 months. Try your hardest to make things work. If that doesn’t work, start looking for a new job. When you find one, give two weeks notice and leave.

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10 thoughts on “I Quit

  1. I agree with Evil HR Lady that this woman should stick it out a little more.

    I wanted to quit my current job after the first day. But I stuck it out and have been there over 2.5 years earning several promotions.

    My mom always said that every opportunity (in work, life, etc.) is there to teach you a lesson about yourself, especially if the job is challenging.

    Once you learn whatever it is you’re supposed to learn, you’ll be presented with a new opportunity, be it a promotion or a new job.

    Since you say you’re disorganized and the office is disorganized, maybe that is part of the lesson you are supposed to learn there.

  2. I’m curious to know if/how someone might be able to determine these type of things (mismatched personalities, disorganization, etc) before accepting a position. Is there a way?
    If not, I agree with Evil HR Lady’s advice, try to stick it out a bit, prove yourself before bailing. There is a lot to be learned from both sides.

  3. I don’t think that she owes this place anything after only a week and a half. If she is unhappy, she is perfectly within her rights to leave before she gets in too deep. She sounds like a very smart, and thoughtful person who is trying to do the right thing. Give her a break!!

  4. Anon 8:19, yes, we should give her a break… in some way.

    But still, one week and a half isn’t enough when you read this person’s letter.

    Sure, the job looks like it will be a challenge. But this person has been referred by a friend and yeah, that’s the part where she should try a little harder.

    Maybe not even six months. Make that at least three. This way no one can say she didn’t try at all, because one week and a half sounds just like that (I’m not saying it’s that, just what it sounds like).

    There is one time where I quit after a week. Only I realized I couldn’t physically do the job (I knew after the second day, but I figured I should try a bit more). Now, same company, new position (six months after the first one) and I’m as happy as ever.

    My advice in this case would be :

    1) Do the job you’re asked to do.

    2) Ask for clarification anytime you need to (even if it means five times a day). If the boss is that disorganized, you can say things like “Oh, yesterday you told me X, so I thought it was best to ask you now” .

    3) Do not talk about what’s wrong with the office again before a good… two, three months. At least. Why ? Because the reason why you have not been listened to so far is probably that the boss is thinking “who does she think she is ? wanting to reorganize the office already ?” and would like you to shut up about that already. I know, it’s hard, especially when you get there and you KNOW if you could just do X it would be perfect…

    4) If you really really really HAVE to do something about the disorganization, look around and see what you can do. For example, if there are files that are not alphabetized and would need it (this needs caution though, there’s a job I was in in which files were in chronological order), take some time and do it, then show it to Boss, saying “I thought you would appreciate that, to be able to find things faster” . Little things, tiny things, little at a time. (I guess that goes with HR Lady’s “Prove yourself” advice)

    Hmm, there you go. I hope you can still try and work things out.

  5. This sounds to me like one of those situations where the office and the individual got together without much due diligence on either part. It also sounds like our writer doesn’t have much interest in solving the problems in the office. That said, the key to Evil’s advice lies in the discussion of how small a local market of dentist’s offices is. Our writer’s friend is a member in good standing. She recommended the writer for the position. Unless the writer is already known in this small market as a good worker or the dentist’s office where she feels trapped is known as a shop that eats workers, leaving after a week and half will mean that the writer probably won’t find another job in this kind of office again. She may also lose a friend. Are those worth it?

  6. I’m a ‘disorganized’ admin too! Well, maybe ‘non-traditionally organized’ is a better term!

    When I started the job I’m currently at, after the first week I was ready to quit. I was so bored and totally lost. My boss was disorganized (a civil engineer), and couldn’t really tell me what he wanted me to do beyond answer the phone and type a few letters. 8 hours goes incredibly slow with nothing to do all day! Plus, I had to look busy.

    I figured it was a temp assignment (I was with a temp agency) and I’d agreed to 3 months, so I should try to fulfill that so I could get a good re-assignment after 3 months. Well, after about 6-8 weeks, things got better, I figured out my bosses communication style, I proposed projects for myself, and things worked out.

    That was almost 7 years ago! I’ve more than doubled what I was making as a temp, and have received 2 promotions. At the beginning, it was torture, I hated going to work, but in the end it worked out great.

    If there’s nothing illegal or immoral going on, I highly recommend giving yourself 3 months. If it’s still terrible at 8 weeks, you can start looking for another job, it’s easier to find employment while employed. (plus all the stuff evil said about human nature! At 3-6 months, it would show me as a prospective employer that you gave it a good shot. A few weeks isn’t a good shot.)

  7. I’m experiencing it now, except in my case, I got offered another position and will be starting next month.

    So, if I don’t need to give 2-week notice, how many days should I give them?

  8. I just starting reading your blog and think this is great advice. Plus if this woman stays and the other offices do “gossip” as you say, well then maybe she’ll be offered another job before her 3-6 month window even passes. Word might get out that “So&So” changed the office and was able to handle the super disorganized dentist! I bet another hiring manager/dentist would love to consider you right away for hire.

    Stick it out – bosses are very hard to read in the first month of employment. I have learned that mine take about 2 months to fully development communication styles.

    What’s the worst that can happen? They have already made it apparent that they need you or else you wouldn’t be there – embrace it.

  9. So what if you were excited about the job and thought it would work out, only to find that after 3 weeks of working there, the schedule doesn't work at all with your family, and you don't really care to ever work in that are ever again. Then is it okay to quit on a short letter of resignation effective immediately?

  10. Ugh-what an awful piece of “advice”. Work is work but life is short. There are plenty of offices. Find a job that makes you happy.

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