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Dealing with being let go from first professional job after college

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I'm a "recent" college grad who's been working as a statistician at an online marketing start-up over the past two years. On Friday, my supervisor had a lengthy conversation with me in which he wanted to find out how I was feeling because he thought I was unhappy, wasn't giving 100%, and wasn't a good fit for the company. He was likely just being diplomatic, but he acknowledged that the company did a poor job of managing me. He mentioned that if neither of us were happy, it would be best to part ways. Ultimately, I did mention that I wasn't happy at the company, that I felt the last two years of my life had been a 'waste of time,' and that I was actively looking for new opportunities. On Monday, I'm expected to email my supervisor and let them know if I either want to part ways, or if I want to give the job another shot. Given that I'm not happy, and that I'm finding plenty of great job opportunities out there, I'm thinking that I'll let them know on Monday that I'm resigning. They've offered two weeks of severance pay, so I'm glad they're doing that. Right now, I'm kinda happy to no longer be working there, which is surprising, but I'm also terrified and a little concerned that the job didn't work out.

 

1. Have any of you lost your job? (fired, asked to quit, etc)

2. How did you handle it?

3. Do you think some employee-employer relationships simply can't work out regardless of how competent the employee may be? (not saying that I'm competent, I'm probably below average to average)

4. How do you deal with the emotional aspects of being "rejected" from a company?

 

 

PS:

- The reason I was asked to make a decision about my future at the company was because I was not a good fit for the start up. I was told that I wasn't very collaborative and didn't voice my opinion enough, and those traits weren't good in a start-up setting. Furthermore, I apparently wasn't taking the extra step in my work. My supervisor complained that although I had no problem taking a task and completing it, it's just that I didn't take the extra step to understand things and provide further 'business insights.'

- On Wednesday, I have a mid-tier company flying me out to MN for a job interview. They're having me stay the night also and are covering all expenses. Hopefully, this will work out and I'll have a job before the two weeks is up. I've only had 2 phone calls with them, so it's kinda odd that they're so eager to fly me out.

 

I guess I'm also not sure if they're firing me or if they're asking me to resign. I guess I'll find out on Monday.


Edited by amathew - 7/20/13 at 6:24am
post #2 of 22

Rule of thumb is you should have another offer locked before you quit your current job.

 

I'm cringing and hoping that "finding plenty of great job opportunities" means you already have something locked down (e.g. as in the contract is ready to be signed).

post #3 of 22

When a manager says that he's not happy with your performance, you're already in a shxtty position. When you respond by saying that the job has been a "waste of time," you're in an even more shxtty position because it tells everyone that you've been slacking off and underperforming on purpose. That reflects pretty poorly on you, so you probably shouldn't expect to get a letter of recommendation (regardless of what they tell you right now). Offering to let you stay was definitely a "diplomatic" move. You're toast.

 

I've never been fired, but I've left a few jobs. The difference between you and I is that I don't leave until I have another, better job lined up. Now, you've put yourself into a position where you'll probably end up being unemployed, or you may have to desperately accept the first job/salary that comes your way. Good luck

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

I really had no choice but to resign. I had two options.

a. resign

b. stay with the company

 

But they made it very clear that if I stayed with the company for three more months and then said "good bye, I'm out" they'd be livid and that I'd be "wasting

their time" if I did that.

 

 

I'm also not too concerned about references as I was constantly being transferred from dept to dept (4 in total over 2 years). Plus, severak of the senior software

engineers should be able to give me a good reference anyways. 


Edited by amathew - 7/20/13 at 2:18pm
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by amathew View Post

I really had no choice but to resign. I had two options.
a. resign
b. stay with the company

But they made it very clear that if I stayed with the company for three more months and then said "good bye, I'm out" they'd be livid and that I'd be "wasting

their time" if I did that.



I'm also not too concerned about references as I was constantly being transferred from dept to dept (4 in total over 2 years). Plus, severak of the senior software
engineers should be able to give me a good reference anyways. 
Good luck.
post #6 of 22

I am amazed a marketing start-up has management and 4 departments to put you in. 

 

Clearly they may have someone other than you who could go. Thats were the whole "we don't think you speak-up" line is from that tells me someone else in that meeting is dumb and you are not being better than them. Or you are failing to provide someone in the meeting with what they need from you in order for them to do their own work well.

 

Overall if they will let you stay and are giving you three months (probationary period) it gives you 3 months to find something else. Don't sweat recommendations - when a new employer is allowed to contact a previous employer, they are limited in what can be discussed and basically only ask if they would hire you again. Give some dept head who likes you as the reference.

 

Or take this supervisor to the nudie bar get them drunk get them home safe. They will leave you alone 

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by JilSlander View Post

Rule of thumb is you should have another offer locked before you quit your current job.

I'm cringing and hoping that "finding plenty of great job opportunities" means you already have something locked down (e.g. as in the contract is ready to be signed).
I agree wholeheartedly. I was pretty close to getting canned from my former job for a BS reason, but I hung in there. I didn't put in my resignation until I got an official offer elsewhere.
Quote:
1. Have any of you lost your job? (fired, asked to quit, etc)

2. How did you handle it?

3. Do you think some employee-employer relationships simply can't work out regardless of how competent the employee may be? (not saying that I'm competent, I'm probably below average to average)

4. How do you deal with the emotional aspects of being "rejected" from a company?
1. Not really. I was close to getting fired though. They gave me BS write ups. They had to throw one out because the HR manager dated it incorrectly. It was my first job out of college, and I didn't know not to challenge the head honcho in charge even though his thought process was incorrect. Upon the first write up, I started looking for new jobs right away.

2. I'm usually a mellow person. I don't take stress with me or let it linger. I find hitting the gym to be a great release. Looking back, I really appreciate the experience I went through because it gave me an example of an unethical company and how not to treat my employees.

3. Yes. This is why some people separate their work and private lives from the managers/coworkers.

4. It doesn't phase me at all. I got rejected a lot, and just kept applying. I always see myself as an underdog since I didn't attend a high ranking university or know people of high ranking positions. If anything, it adds fuel to the fire for me. I've gone through tons of interviews that led to nowhere, but I always look at the positive aspect...which is that it sharpened my interviewing skill.
post #8 of 22

I've flown all over for interviews to jobs I did not get.  It is cheaper to spend $1000 on you now then for them to "waste their time" on you.  Hopefully you have an amazing response as to why you left your last company and if "wasting your time" is part of it then you may not get too many offers.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarwick View Post

I've flown all over for interviews to jobs I did not get.  It is cheaper to spend $1000 on you now then for them to "waste their time" on you.  Hopefully you have an amazing response as to why you left your last company and if "wasting your time" is part of it then you won't get any offers.

...fixed that for you.

post #10 of 22

I was trying not to be too negative ;)

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by amathew View Post

I really had no choice but to resign. I had two options.
a. resign
b. stay with the company

But they made it very clear that if I stayed with the company for three more months and then said "good bye, I'm out" they'd be livid and that I'd be "wasting their time" if I did that.

I'm also not too concerned about references as I was constantly being transferred from dept to dept (4 in total over 2 years). Plus, severak of the senior software engineers should be able to give me a good reference anyways. 

You need to be a lot smarter about this.

The bolded portions are at odds with each other. If you don't care about references, then why do you care about them being livid?

You should never have admitted serious dissatisfaction. It's pretty clear they were trying to counsel you out, but rolling over and letting them push you out the door was pretty dumb. Why couldn't you have said something like "It's been tough being shuffled around, I haven't felt like I have a clear sense of direction from management, it's made it hard to go the extra mile. Help me understand what you need me to do and I can go the extra mile!" Then you should have got your ass to looking for a job, while redoubling your efforts in the meantime to make it hard for them to let you go.

Frankly, if you have felt the last two years were a waste of your time, then you should have been looking a while ago.

At the risk of being overly harsh, you sound really, really apathetic. Like someone who doesn't know what he wants, hasn't a clue how to find or get it, and isn't even that motivated to try. Work is work; you're not going to just fall into some job that you love right away. If you're just punching a clock, and lack the fire in the belly to even try to hold on, far worse than wasting your company's time, you're wasting your own time.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post


You need to be a lot smarter about this.

The bolded portions are at odds with each other. If you don't care about references, then why do you care about them being livid?

You should never have admitted serious dissatisfaction. It's pretty clear they were trying to counsel you out, but rolling over and letting them push you out the door was pretty dumb. Why couldn't you have said something like "It's been tough being shuffled around, I haven't felt like I have a clear sense of direction from management, it's made it hard to go the extra mile. Help me understand what you need me to do and I can go the extra mile!" Then you should have got your ass to looking for a job, while redoubling your efforts in the meantime to make it hard for them to let you go.

Frankly, if you have felt the last two years were a waste of your time, then you should have been looking a while ago.

At the risk of being overly harsh, you sound really, really apathetic. Like someone who doesn't know what he wants, hasn't a clue how to find or get it, and isn't even that motivated to try. Work is work; you're not going to just fall into some job that you love right away. If you're just punching a clock, and lack the fire in the belly to even try to hold on, far worse than wasting your company's time, you're wasting your own time.

Agreed. I would have just called OP an idiot, but the subtext would have been this exact comment.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas View Post


You need to be a lot smarter about this.

The bolded portions are at odds with each other. If you don't care about references, then why do you care about them being livid?

You should never have admitted serious dissatisfaction. It's pretty clear they were trying to counsel you out, but rolling over and letting them push you out the door was pretty dumb. Why couldn't you have said something like "It's been tough being shuffled around, I haven't felt like I have a clear sense of direction from management, it's made it hard to go the extra mile. Help me understand what you need me to do and I can go the extra mile!" Then you should have got your ass to looking for a job, while redoubling your efforts in the meantime to make it hard for them to let you go.

Frankly, if you have felt the last two years were a waste of your time, then you should have been looking a while ago.

At the risk of being overly harsh, you sound really, really apathetic. Like someone who doesn't know what he wants, hasn't a clue how to find or get it, and isn't even that motivated to try. Work is work; you're not going to just fall into some job that you love right away. If you're just punching a clock, and lack the fire in the belly to even try to hold on, far worse than wasting your company's time, you're wasting your own time.

 

I think that you guys a being a tad too harsh. If I felt like I was wasting my time and didn't enjoy the work I would leave without a doubt in my mind, be hopeful and gamble that my personality and credentials will move me forward into a better job. I'm currently interning at an advertising company, but know that the company is not the right fit for me so looking to move my attention elsewhere. People are telling me to accept this opportunity and grind it out even if I don't enjoy it... 

 

Applying for jobs, interviewing and all that is time consuming so I'm leaving the internship, making myself available to be picked up for a job. The same premise lies in what I'm doing and what he is. Having interviews lined up, and being flown in and given accommodation to interview is hopeful at the start. I'm wishing you the best of luck with them. 

 

To be honest it doesn't make sense if you work in a job that don't enjoy all your life to try and have a better life, but how is your life better if you don't enjoy the work.

 

Take the gamble, there is no profit without risk. Back yourself and your ability

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 

For those who aren't aware, the job market for statisticians and data scientists is incredible right now. The big data revolution has ushered in an era where every corporation now wants to put together a solid analytics team so that they can start making "data driven decisions." There are so many opportunities out there for people who know math, predictive modeling, and have the technical abilities to parse large amounts of data with SAS, R, Hadoop, Python, Java, etc. Knowing this made it easier for me to quit without another job lined up, but I understand that those of you in finance or marketing may not have that luxury, and that's likely why many of you commented that what I did was 'wreckless' and 'immature'. 

 

Since quiting, I'm been flown out to MN, NC, and CA, and was offered positions at each company. Have decided to move to MN.

post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Received a question about data science and analytics, and thought it'd be interesting to post my response here as well for anyone who is interested.

 

QUESTION:

 

Would you mind sharing a bit about what kind of things these corporations are looking for for their analytics teams? Do they want people with versatility across many statistical languages? Are they looking for advanced degrees in statistics/CS?

 

 

MY ANSWER:

The term 'data science' is very ambiguous and there isn't a widely accepted definition of what it is. With that said, I use the term broadly to encompass all positions where an employee uses various technical tools and inferential statistics to analyze data. Obviously, not everyone who fits this definition is a real "data scientist." For example, a financial analyst who uses Excel to develop financial models is not a 'data scientist,' regardless of how much math they know. Ultimately, I know a data scientist by the technical and statistical tools that they use. Another important thing to remember is that many companies employ "data scientists" while other businesses have people with similar skills but possess job titles such as quantitative analyst, statistical analyst, data modeler, etc. By and large, I would consider all of these people 'data scientists' given that they utilize inferential statistics and programming languages to perform data munging and predictive modeling. One thing to remember is that this is the minimum that one should know, and given that many of these data scientists are working on problems requiring some knowledge of machine learning, it's better that one knows more than just basic hypothesis testing.

 

By and large, I like Drew Conway's attempt at explaining what data science is. However, I think one would need to know much more than ols regression as the problems you encounter in the real world are much more complex than what could be explained by a simple general linear model.

http://drewconway.com/zia/2013/3/26/the-data-science-venn-diagram

 

In regards to what corporations are looking for in their analytics teams, I suggest looking 'data scientist' job posting to gauge what type of skills they want. They vary quite drastically, but here are a few examples.

 

Data Scientist @ Sears

 

Desired Skills & Experience

  • MS/PhD. degree in Statistics, Mathematics, Physics, Operations Research, CS, Econometrics or equivalent/related degree.
  • 2+ years relevant experience with a proven track record of leveraging data analysis to drive significant business impact preferred.
  • Above average capabilities with basic analysis tools of Microsoft Office (Excel, Power Point, Outlook, Word, & Access).
  • Ability to quickly learn and gain deep understanding of SHC business processes.
  • Ability to perform thorough analysis of complex data, draw sound conclusions, and devise actionable strategies.
  • Expertise in predictive modeling.

Must have knowledge/experience in some/all of the following: Multivariate Regression, Logistic Regression, Support Vector Machines, Bootstrap Aggregation, Boosting, Decision Trees, and Time Series Analysis.

  • Experience in Optimization, Stochastic Processes, Experiment Analysis, and/or Bootstrapping a plus.
  • Experience in Hadoop-based tools (Mahout, Hive, Pig) a plus.
  • Proficiency in at least one statistical analysis tools such as R, SAS, or KXEN.
  • SQL proficiency a plus.
  • Ability to prioritize and execute multiple tasks in a highly dynamic environment.
  • Detail oriented with proven analytical, problem identification and resolution skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in an unstructured and fast-paced environment, and have a high degree of self-management.
  • Proven interpersonal, communication and presentation skills – must be able to explain technical concepts and analysis implications clearly to a wide audience.
  • Extremely detail oriented with superior analytical, problem solving, pragmatism and organization skills.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree, or foreign equivalent, in Computer Science, Engineering, Statistics or Mathematics or a closely related discipline, five (5) years of experience in the Job Offered or over four (4+) years of experience in Analytics, in Actuary roles, as a statistician, or as a Data Miner.
  • Masters in Computer Sciences, Engineering, Statistics, Mathematics or similarly related discipline.

 

 

Data Scientist @ YP

 

Requirements:

  • Passion and deep technical competency in mathematical modeling, statistics and business analytics.
  • Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence and Analytics experience, preferred
  • Demonstrated professional experience with deterministic and probabilistic statistical methods and a proven history of statistical inference on large scale data.
  • Proficiency in at least one of the following statistical toolkits: R, SPSS, Matlab, Mahout, SAS
  • Programming experience in at least one of the following languages: C/C++, Java, Python or Perl and a high level of skill in SQL.
  • Interface with the PDS team and business analysts and leaders to produce required data, models and analysis working in an agile environment working with cross-functional stakeholders and owners.
  • Strength in distributed computing platforms and large scale data processing/computing environments with experience using Apache Hadoop projects such as Hadoop, HBase, Pig, Hive, a plus
  • Proficient with mathematical and statistical methods and techniques including regression, A\B testing, cluster analysis, monte carlo simulation, neural networks, decision trees, and principal component analysis, and predictive modeling
  • Proven track record of managing projects and deliverables across highly cross-functional teams.

 Education:

BS or MS in statistics, mathematics or other related discipline.

 

 

 

Data Scientist @ Twitter

 

Responsibilities

  • Conduct statistical analyses to learn from and scale to petabytes of data

  • Use Map-Reduce frameworks such as Pig and Scalding, statistical software such as R, and scripting languages like Python and Ruby

  • Write and interpret complex SQL queries for standard as well as ad hoc data mining purposes

  • Communicate findings to product, engineering, and management teams 

Requirements

  • MS or PhD in Statistics, Math, Engineering, Operations Research, Computer Science, or another quantitative discipline.

  • Experience with statistical programming environments like R or Matlab

  • Experience with scripting languages (Python and/or Ruby), regular expressions, etc.

  • Interest in using discrete math, probability, and statistics to answer complex questions

Quantitative Analyst @ Google

Responsibilities


  • Apply advanced statistical methods
  • Work with large, complex data sets
  • Solve difficult, non-routine problems
  • Clearly communicate highly technical results and methods
  • Interact cross-functionally with a wide variety of people and teams
  • Minimum Qualifications
  • PhD in Statistics or Econometrics, (In lieu of degree, 4 years of relevant work experience).
  • 2 years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience with R/SPlus; coursework in Bayesian methods, longitudinal analysis and experimental design.
  • Preferred Qualifications
  • 3 years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience with Python, Perl and SQL.

 

Statistical Analyst @ Inte Q

 

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop predictive models in support of  email and direct marketing campaigns
  • Develop attrition and activation models based on client/program specific needs
  • Develop customer segmentation for management of retail client loyalty/relationship marketing portfolios.  Work with internal and external business partners to develop marketing strategies for these segments
  • Design controlled experiments that can be used to measure the changes in customer behavior across many treatment groups
  • Design and measure customer loyalty programs
  • Consult with Business Partners and clients on analytic methodologies for customer analyses and present and explain results in a clear precise manner
  • Develop customer scorecards for reporting of customer metrics and performance of loyalty/customer relationship programs.   Must be able to define and implement flexible customer reporting
  • Desired Skills & Experience
  • Good oral and written skills are mandatory
  • Prior experience using campaign management software (Unica, Campaign Runner)
  • Need to be able to translate customer requests into an analytic framework
  • 2 – 5 years’ work experience in a retail, CRM , credit or consulting environment would be preferred but is not mandatory
  • Bachelor or Master’s degree in Statistics, Mathematics or other quantitative discipline
  • Exposure to large relational databases and SQL is important
  • Strong programming skills in SAS required
  • Consulting experience or training in structured methodologies advantageous

 

For anyone curious about the problems that data scientists/quantitative analysts/statistical analysts work with, here's a presentation that might be helpful.

 

 

 

  

 

In regards to "I had assumed that all this time spent with SAS, etc was a huge waste because all I would be able to do is data analytics." Working in analytics or data science is a fairly specialized skill and I hope you don't view it as just doing data analytics. In your work experience, I'm sure you've experienced the analytical incompetence of most business people, and those who work in marketing or finance. I view the data science work that I do as using statistics to produce new insights that can help the "blind" people who have traditionally worked in the marketing and finance sectors. We're helping these people gain a deeper understanding of their industries, even though we're "new" and those business persons have years of "experience." I don't give a shit about how many years of experience a person has, data/stats > experience. That is what sets you apart and why your work shouldn't be characterized as a 'waste of time' or as just data analytics. Of course, you'll find that a lot of business people don't care about statistics, so they'll likely ignore your work and insights. That is the only reason I characterized my past two years as a waste of time. Because I was at a marketing company that claimed to be serious about quantitative analysis, but they simply weren't and ended up wasting my time and skills.

 

 

 

 


Edited by amathew - 7/31/13 at 3:36pm
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