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Don’t Transfer Your Soul (or Your Talent) February 11, 2012
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Peter Weddle About the Author
Peter Weddle

Taking a job offer from an employer you barely know is like ignoring the terms and conditions vendors impose when you make an online purchase … only worse.  If a product is defective, you can usually return it.  When an employer turns out to be bad, however, there is no such recourse.  And, the harm can be long lasting.
For April Fool’s Day in 2010, the online retailer Gamestation changed its terms and conditions to include an “immortal soul clause.”  It read, By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 anno Domini, you agree to grant us a non-transferable option to claim, for now and forever more, your immortal soul.
As you might have suspected, 88 percent of those who made a purchase that day, blithely clicked the “I read it box” and got on with their purchase.  They were sold on the product, but ended up soulless.
What’s that prove for job seekers?  The devil is in the details.
It’s no secret that job seekers are in a rush.  No one wants to extend their job search one second longer than they have to.  But failing to check the details about an employer can have consequences, and all too often, those consequences can hurt for a very long time.
Choosing Your Devil
A job search is often a choice between devils.  You have to select between the devil you know and the ones you don’t.
Now, most job seekers assume that any devil is better than the one they endure in transition.  What could be worse than the frustration, the despair, the anxiety of being unemployed?  Even a lousy job provides a paycheck.
So, let’s be clear about what I mean by the devil you don’t know.  It includes two kinds of organizations:
·      The first are mismanaged and abusive employers.  They are generally easy to spot and avoided by just about everyone.
·      The second are employers that make you feel uncomfortable or out-of-place.  Their culture, values and vision don’t align with your personality, values and goals.
That second mismatch is not as easy to recognize from the outside, so many of us end up going to work for just such a devil.  And, when we do, we set ourselves up for both serial unemployment and serious unhappiness.
Serial Unemployment
When you’re working for the wrong employer, you can’t do your best work.  And, in these dog-eat-dog times, substandard work makes you vulnerable for a pink slip.  The next time your employer decides to cut staff, you’re likely to be at the top of the list.
Serious Unhappiness
While you’re slaving away for the wrong employer, you aren’t looking for the right one.  And, it’s only when you’re employed by the right organization that you can excel on-the-job and thereby increase both the paycheck and the satisfaction you bring home from your work.
So, protect yourself.  Take the time and make the effort to research the culture, leadership style, HR policies and practices and reputation of any organization you’re considering as an employer.  As a minimum, visit each organization’s Web-site to see what it says about its vision and values and do a browser search of what others are saying about the organization. Those factors represent the terms and conditions of the work experience it offers.  And, if they prevent you from excelling at your work, they are in effect taking away your immortal soul.
Thanks for reading,
Visit me at

Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, The Career Activist Republic, Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System and Recognizing Richard Rabbit.  Get them at and today.
© Copyright 2012 WEDDLE’s LLC.  All Rights Reserved.

The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

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sak2400 (st louis ) on 30 Apr 2012 at 10:08 am

I was a good fit but after 11 years with the hospital as an RN I became a bad match--why? I aged and my hourly wage increased. I was terminated for a "comment" made (later proved untrue) not related to patient care or nursing abilities (which have never been in question). I need and want a job--to young for medicare. I have been looking everywhere and followed all advise as above, networking, etc. I have been out of school more than 14 years, and have been told "need experience" in other avenues such as insurance, home health, long term care, etc. How do I break through the age barrier and let my skills and enthusiasm shine through?

IndigoJ (Midwest) on 18 Feb 2012 at 1:59 pm

I will continue to follow these posts as I am inteested in understanding how to evaluate employers. I will likely leave the country, due to other issues, and future work will occur there. Nevertheless, I believe these issues are international. Our focus and training in Medicine is on learning medicine and evaluating patients' problems, not on being an employee, or on business. Given the education and training takes so long, and is all=consuming, this can leave us quite naive when we decide to be employees.
I believe most of my problems stemmed from a lack of communication, although plenty of communication was ongoing, there was an unknown lack of continuity between administration communications to me and their communications to others. It was not until too late that I recognized this. In terms of future job prospects I have yet to find out what impact will occur, and reading these posts are not reassuring.

ms.dee (southeast) on 15 Feb 2012 at 2:01 pm

What a wonderful article, and so TRUE. I was so glad to come acros it because it always seems as though companies are portrayed as the ethical, upstanding institutions that can do no wrong. I have experienced abuse on every job I've ever had for over 2 decades, and the fact that some of them are 'internationally" known made no difference in their employee practices. My abuses mostly came from my direct managers, but sometimes from other executives and/or managers as well. There is a site where people can add info on companies -- good or bad.

THOMAS J. COLIVAS, PA (Camarillo California) on 15 Feb 2012 at 6:50 am

When someone gets a bad rap or rep from an employer is there any recourse? Is that bad rep something easily found by potential employers? Would these potential employers just quickly disregard any possible opportunity by seeing a negative in their search? I feel haunted by my past association with one employer but I can't figure out if that association is reason enough for many potential employers to quickly ignore me.
If the ex-employer is black-listed then would I automatically show up on that list? Any comments or advice would be appreciated.

ladyd (midsouth) on 14 Feb 2012 at 12:20 pm

I can understand everyone's point of view. I resigned from a medical position last year at a local hospital. I moved out of state and when I came back, I received a negative report from my previous employer when I applied for another position at the same place. This person went to other departments in the hospital to spread lies about me and tried to stop me from getting re-hired. He is the DEVIL, a sad pitiful excuse for a man. But God is on my side. No matter what a person does to hurt your reputation, just pray for them, because they need it!!!!

Amanda (Rome GA) on 14 Feb 2012 at 11:50 am

Truthfully I worked in an environment like the second mentioned in your article. I resigned a year later and was devastated when I found out that the employer had given my name a bad rep. I am now considering changing careers due to the experience I had with this previous employer. Not thoroughly investigating whom you are trying to land a job with can affect your whole career, especially if you live in a small town.

IndigoJ (Midwest) on 14 Feb 2012 at 11:09 am

Too true. Hard to see the devil when he wears a white coat, and declares worthy missions and values. I have worked myself to near death for this company/mission, tried to be a great Team member, etc. only to end up on medical leave and then be advised I "voluntarily resigned" sometime without my knowledge. Now I am trying to get better with their very costly health insurance, and their payment option designed to automatically discontinue the insurance should I fail to submit payment in time each month. (No automatic payments allowed.) Highly likely with my memory disorder.

gotta get out of there (southeast) on 11 Feb 2012 at 6:50 am

I am from the midwest and moved south for warmer weather and a slower pace. What I got was a major devil, mismanaged and downright abusive and question the legality of some of what they do.. Major lies and misrepresentation of the job when hired with terms constantly changing and no communication.. Mission and vision statements and web site looked good. Their turn-over is tremendous. Now I'm seeking again. I'm at a disadvantage as I still don't know the area emplooyers like I did in my home state and the culture. What else can I do to avoid working for another devil? Any web-sites you'd suggest for more in-depth investigation?

dazygal on 09 Feb 2012 at 1:20 pm

I work at a good company, great benefits, etc. The problem is the person I work with. She turned out to be a monster (definitely the devil is her). I should have realized but I didnt as I was absorbed in how good the company was. I was warned about her 2 weeks before I started. I took the job anyways. I have been miserable for 3 years.

Ladybug (midwest) on 09 Feb 2012 at 7:21 am

I know a lot of people who are working at jobs they don't like because the employer is cutting corners to increase the bottom line for the company. They continue to work at these jobs because of the economic times. When will this change?

rose (midwest) on 08 Feb 2012 at 5:29 pm

I got fired from a devil because I was unhappy and not doing my best. Best thing that ever happened to me personally but I have to rebuild my profession reputation.

Daisy1 (Midwest) on 08 Feb 2012 at 12:22 pm

What an insightful article regarding caution when giving ourselves to people and organizations we don't know anything about. You stated the ones who are the devil sometimes are hard to see, and that is so true, I have found myself in just the same situation. I was unemployed hoping for a job in the field I went to school for 2 years, and I am finding it very difficult to find a good fit, I believe in hard work, and I sometimes find that because of this quality people can and have taken advantage of me. I will tread and look closer @ where I am applying from now on.

legreen on 08 Feb 2012 at 7:05 am

5 star article. Precise. Brief. Correct.

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