New Job, Wrong Fit – True Story

Starting my job search fresh out of college, I faced what a lot of job seekers face; unethical employers looking to take advantage of naive candidates. For legal reasons, the employer described below has (hopefully) never been listed on my CV or any of my online profiles.

Finishing up a great internship, I started my search. Looking back now, I certainly never thought I’ll be writing from the other side.

{Tip #1}  A few years from now, your current career challenge will be an afterthought; hang in there.

After numerous applications, I received a call, around 7 pm on a Tuesday. Eager as I was, I accepted the call because…well…what choice did I have? Wrong! Taking that call was not the problem, coming off as overly-eager didn’t help either. Same as showing your cards in a poker game, you will have no upper hand.

{Tip #2} Never come off as desperate. Know the difference between healthy enthusiasm and borderline desperation; the latter will cost you in formal and even informal relationships.

I took the call and went in for an interview the next morning. The office was beautiful. It had floor-to-ceiling windows and an amazing view of Palm Jumeirah and Downtown Dubai.

I sat with the Managing Director and a Senior Executive; I introduced myself and they followed suit, BUT they went beyond that. In fact, they began selling the company and it’s revenue so hard, I felt like an investor. {Red flag #1} – It-just-didn’t-feel-right.

I received my offer letter a day or two after. My offer letter was decorated with errors; they even spelled my name wrong – {Red flag #2}. I didn’t think much of it, we all make mistakes. I simply mailed it back for the amendment with my tentative acceptance.

Oh! Did I mention this was purely on a commission basis? No expense covered, no medical insurance included? Yah, run! 


{Red flag #3} – In UAE, employers must provide health insurance for employees. But….I went ahead, purely for the golden carrot called “experience”.

On my first day, I was shown my desk and given tasks to complete, routine stuff.  On my second day, however, my offer letter was still not amended.

In hindsight, this was a blessing. I didn’t leave my signature back there, thankfully.

I came in on my third day to an empty office. Three hours into the work day and no sign of my ex-colleagues, but I continued working regardless.

Around 1pm, they strolled in with no explanation or urgency. The Managing Director later called to brief me on my daily tasks. Fair enough, I thought, he’s probably out meeting important clients anyway.

Oh boy was I was in for a shocker…

Heading out during lunchtime, I was joined in the elevator by my ex-colleagues.

Exchanging recaps of how we each spent the previous night, they unsuspectingly described how they went out with the Managing Director and got so drunk, they woke up hungover just 2 hours ago. In fact, they (so delightfully told me) the Managing Director was so hung-over he was still in bed recovering from the shindig!

I am not opposed to consuming whatever you want; however, this was not the sort of onboarding I believed in.

At the end of the week, I had a recap meeting with Mr. MD, my offer letter still wasn’t amended, and I gave my feedback. They offered to correct my impression but I thankfully declined.

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I believe we are in a candidate-driven market. Though no employer is perfect, there are hard lines you should not cross. Interviews and probationary periods go both ways. Candidates should be asking questions and evaluating companies as much as employers do background checks.

Never feel as though being a candidate requires bending to unreasonable norms. If the company’s core values do not match yours, you are allowed to respectfully peace-out wit reasonable notice.source




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My name is Dami Akinwale and I’m a Recruiter at HRsource in Dubai. By day, you can find me networking with professionals within the Digital Media space. By night, I’m typically creating career-related content, digging through digital marketing news and featuring regularly updated job opportunities on Career Anecdotes©. Also, follow me on LinkedIn -

11 thoughts on “New Job, Wrong Fit – True Story

  1. It seems that no matter where we are in the world corporate culture is the same. When I was young and overeager I experienced a few situations similar to yours. Hindsight really is 20/20 as looking back I can see the glaring red flags I never would have caught back then. I like to chalk it all up as part of the learning experience that is life. These unfortunate situations educate us in valuable ways.


  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. I never really thought about some of the hidden perils of job hunting – your experience is an important reminder that the company doesn’t or at least shouldn’t have all the power, a hard thing to do when you’re desperate for a job. Take care 🙂


  3. You know — I think it is so interesting how companies don’t have to provide their employees with medical insurance. I wonder when that will change. Whenever I look for a position, that is always the first thing I ask!

    Thank you for sharing! x



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