A friend helped me get a job at her company, which I really needed. The problem is…I hate it. It’s boring, I get micromanaged daily, and I feel like my brain and soul are both rotting. Recently, I snagged an interview at a place that’s a much better fit (it’s not an office job, which helps). I’ve only been here a couple months, though, and I feel guilty–I know I would have never been hired if my friend hadn’t gone to bat for me. What do I do? I don’t want to stay in this terrible job, but I don’t want to damage my friendship, either.
-Between A Rock and a Shit Job
You take the interview, you do your damnedest to get that better job, and if you do, the first person you tell, even before your micromanager, is your friend.
And you don’t apologize for the decision I hope you have the chance to make.
It was good of your friend to put you forward for a job. Presumably she did this out of a mixture of love for you and a sense that you could handle the work (because putting yourself out there for someone who you know can’t meet expectations is just foolish). You owe her a thank you for helping you out when you needed it, but you don’t owe her indefinite misery for that.
If you think whitewashing the details just a titch will help the news go down easier (i.e., “this just fell into my lap and I can’t pass it up” vs. “I hate this fucking place and I wanted out”), by all means do that, but mostly, just be honest: you appreciate what she did, but this job wasn’t for you, and now that you have a better opportunity, you’re going to take it. A good friend might be mildly annoyed that you didn’t stick around, but she wouldn’t be angry with you; life is miserable enough without deliberately choosing unhappiness, after all. Jobs, especially nowadays, aren’t meant to be lifelong commitments (at least not unless you want them to).
If I were advising you on the job hunt, I’d say stick it out another few months, if for no other reason than your interview prospects would be better (you have every right to leave any job at any time, just like employers have every right to look at a serial job-hopper as too risky a hire). But I’m advising you on the happiness hunt, and for you, that means moving on.
Any friend who couldn’t forgive you for trying to make your life better isn’t a friend worth having. You do you.