I have a bad feeling about this job do I sign ?

The gut feeling that something is not right.

This is a tough one. A job, an income, and you just don't feel right about it. Not to oversimplify, but your gut level response may be right. Some workplaces have a vibe which doesn't translate into words. People give off vibes, too. The guy handing you the pen may just get on your nerves. Maybe he reminds you of someone.

The truth is that workplaces are human habitats. Everyone contributes to the general 'feel' of a workplace, and sometimes those feelings can be downright creepy. It's like a smell you can't identify, or some sort of nervous twitch.

Human beings have a sensory system which picks up subconscious information. What you're getting may be some form of 'allergic' response to something you're not consciously experiencing. Some chemicals are irritants, and you don't even know they're there, until you break out in a rash.

Sometimes, they're the right responses, too, so don't ignore them. Just about everybody has had some sort of work experience they would rather had never happened. Usually, the work environment, or some part of it, is responsible for those experiences. Something may be triggering a memory, but hasn't quite done it yet.

I've worked in places where people I eventually decided were psycho, or just mean, gave me some problems. Thinking back, I might have figured that out a lot sooner, if I'd paid more attention to my gut instincts.

One case in particular was a place where all the people in the section were guys, mostly older guys. We only got female staff as temps. Sure enough, I'd got a job in a Male Menopause club, with a chronic nitpicker as the boss. The level of irritation was so intense, because I was literally arguing commas with this guy at one point, that I was glad to leave.

However-

A job is a job. The decision has to be based on something, if you decide not to take it. So you need, for your own peace of mind, to understand your own feelings.

Try to write down what you are thinking. Some suggestions:

  • Does someone/something make you uncomfortable?
  • Is the place gloomy, looks 'wrong', in some way?
  • Is the job itself looking as if it's somehow negative?
  • Did you see only sad faces when you went to the interview?
  • Was there anything about the duties, hours, or some other thing that set off your feelings?
  • Is the place itself turning you off?
  • Did someone react the wrong way, make you wonder if you were getting through?
  • Someone getting a little too 'friendly' in the wrong way? Personal space intrusions, etc.
  • Was there any incident which made you rethink the whole idea of getting the job?
  • Anything nerve wracking, someone yelling, or some sort of altercation or hostility, even not directed at you, that might have set off the alarm bells?
  • Anything you considered threatening, intimidating, or like you were being pressured?

All of these reactions are risk assessments.

You're not being paranoid, just a bit more conscious of things, like looking when crossing a road, and thinking a bit harder about making a decision.

The reason you're doing that is because it is quite natural for people to be cautious when entering a new environment. Basic survival instinct.

Bear in mind that you can leave yourself a few options here. If you can figure out what's bothering you, ask a few questions about it. If you don't get the right answers, your suspicions are confirmed.

If you can't figure out what's bothering you, there's a real possibility that you might never get comfortable in the job. The workplace is a maze of human relationships, and human relationships are rarely simple. Some people get very defensive, and they tend to shoot first, on principle. In an unhappy looking workplace, you can find a lot of people in that mode, and you could be one of them, if you take the job.

Your negative feelings could turn into serious stress, and that's just plain unhealthy. The way to avoid stress is to avoid stress, not go looking for it.

It's not usually a good idea to go against your own honest judgment.

You'll notice there's nothing in this article indicating reasons for taking the job, despite your feelings. Your judgment is about all you've got to work with, so it should be calling the shots.

It's your decision, and it's a major commitment. Even if you're really desperate for work, it's not likely to be much of a job if you're worried before you even start. A bad job is a waste of time, so avoiding it might well be the best possible result. You could spend months or years in a job you ultimately have to leave, and miss other opportunities.

Good working relationships are based on good personal chemistry. Communication is easy, people are more relaxed, even difficult things run pretty smoothly on the personal level, and nobody looks or acts threatened.

That's relevant, because in bad relationships, the exact opposite occurs. People are withdrawn, uncommunicative, and even on a good day the place has the general vibe of a funeral parlor. Nobody laughs, nobody looks like much more than an office fitting. Nearly everybody is keeping to themselves as much as possible, and all of them look like they want out. What communication there is, is all business, no warmth, sometimes pretty terse, or hostile.

Your misgivings about the job may be based on picking up those relationships. It's not that hard to figure out how people react to each other, and that's most likely what you've done, without realizing it.

Extremely serious point: In some situations, a bad job can create situations that can affect your entire career. Those things people wish had never happened are sometimes career-wreckers. If you leave after flattening the boss, or a screaming match with your supervisor, it won't help, even if you're 100% in the right.

So don't, ever, ignore your feelings. You can save yourself a lot of grief.