career advice desperately needed - sorry long

  1. Let me give you some background. Before nursing I worked at a corporate job for about 8 years, loved my job and worked in several different departments. I have great references from this company. They started downsizing, lots of lay offs and the writing was on the wall. I knew it was coming for me. Went back to school for nursing, which was a life long dream of mine. Graduated and relocated for my first nursing job. New grads were not being hired in my area, so I moved to the opportunity. First job was AWFUL. I ended up sticking it out for 6 months and then quit. They were angry when I left, but no regrets that place was miserable. There was a reason that they were hiring droves of new grads at a time when no one else was. Anyway, I fear they will give me a bad reference but not really sure what they will say. The DON was less than pleased when I resigned and is not known for being a nice woman. She cussed me out when I quit and said I went behind her back by finding another position.

    Anyway took another job, really enjoy the job itself. It is a clinic setting and the patients are wonderful. The pay is terrible and the company was not honest when they hired me about hours. I was offered 3o hours a week, or three 10 hour shifts. I am working one 12 hour and two 15 hour shifts per week. The job itself I like, love the patients & the staff. But my body is taking a beating and the shifts are painfully long. I think the most likely ending is me falling asleep on the drive home and landing in a ditch. I have asked for shorter shifts and have been told it won't happen they are not looking to hire anyone and me and the only other nurse are both getting burnt out fast. If one of us gets sick, there is no one to cover. Fortunately this has not happened yet.

    A friend emailed me a job opportunity working in a corporate setting. Seems like a dream job crafted perfectly to suit my resume experience. I want to apply. I want this job BAD. It pays a lot better, too.

    Concerns- only nursing reference I have is possibly a bad one, can't give my current employer (which would be an excellent reference) without them finding out I am looking for a new job. Don't want them to know that I am looking.

    - afraid if I leave floor nursing, I won't ever be able to come back and will lose my skills that I spent the last couple of years learning.

    -Dont wan't to look like a job hopper

    Points- hoping 8 years with one company will show I am not a hopper. Hoping my good references can outweigh the bad.

    How should I address the first nursing job at the interview? How can I explain to them without shooting myself in the foot why I left on bad terms after only 6 months?

    Advice?
  2. Visit MJB2010 profile page

    About MJB2010 Guide

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 1,033; Likes: 1,293

    9 Comments

  3. by   ICU, RN, BSN, B.S.
    so lost. you are leaving nursing to work in an office? what do you mean by coorporate? also, the only time you should provide references is when they say "i want to go ahead and check out your references" which usually means they want to hire you. so nothing wrong with that
  4. by   Biffbradford
    I have no magic pills for you, but just thought that I'd share my 12 years of nursing, left on good terms - followed by 2 months of new job, left on bad terms.

    My luck in getting hired lately - abysmal.

    Good luck, YMMV.
  5. by   linearthinker
    First of all, you are a job hopper, so trying not to look like one is a wasted effort, lol. Just tell it like it is. Your former corporate colleagues will give you favorable references I assume, so use them. I would tell current employer you are looking and use them as a reference. You have been forthright that the hours are not working for you, they can't be flexible, so you have to move on. No reason to keep that a secret IMO. As for bad reference from the LTC place, nothing you can do about it. you have to admit you worked there and she will say whatever she'll say. You can explain your perspective if it comes up in an interview.
  6. by   canesdukegirl
    Do you have a contract of terms from your current employer? It seems REALLY unreasonable to have you work one 12 and two 15 hour shifts. The facility is walking a very fine line in the assigning you hours like this. They no doubt know that nurses cannot work beyond 16 hours in a row and are working you like a government mule. That's so unfair!

    If you feel that you can, request a meeting with your manager and discuss how the long hours are taking a toll on you. Perhaps I missed in your post how long you have been working at your current job, but how long have you been there?

    In my opinion, the most logical step for you at this point is to first talk to your manager. If s/he is unyielding in reducing your hours per day, then I would be honest and tell them that you will be looking into another job. This is not only fair to your manager, but also fair to your co-workers who will be FLOGGED if there is no one to replace you.

    It sounds like the job opportunity that your friend sent you is perfect for you. Go ahead and apply. Use your corporate job as the first reference, and then use your current job as another reference. I would list the job-from-hell as a place that you worked, but not list the DON as a reference. If the prospective employer is interested, they will ask you for further references. Can you ask a co-worker from the 7th Level of Hell to be a reference? If push comes to shove and you are asked to explain why you left the first job after only 6 months, be as PROFESSIONAL as you can in responding. Offer only factual information, and throw in the good points of the job if you can scrape any up. Be graceful. I know that you already know all of this, but it never hurts to hear it from a peer.

    I hope that you are able to land this new job. Have you already started the application process?
  7. by   MJB2010
    Quote from linearthinker
    First of all, you are a job hopper, so trying not to look like one is a wasted effort, lol. Just tell it like it is. Your former corporate colleagues will give you favorable references I assume, so use them. I would tell current employer you are looking and use them as a reference. You have been forthright that the hours are not working for you, they can't be flexible, so you have to move on. No reason to keep that a secret IMO. As for bad reference from the LTC place, nothing you can do about it. you have to admit you worked there and she will say whatever she'll say. You can explain your perspective if it comes up in an interview.
    I stayed at a job for 8 years, the one I left after 6 months was a bad fit. I am looking for another place to stay long term. And I was planning to stay at my current position (where I have been about a year), but this opportunity seems like such a good fit. I didn't seek it out, but it does seem like a better place to work.

    So I guess I will have to hop til I find the right one. I don't feel like a hopper, I feel like I had one bad one.
  8. by   llg
    Is there anyone at your first nursing job who could give you a positive reference? Perhaps a colleague would be willing to write a letter for you. Similarly, is there a former nursing school instructor.

    You need to collect the positive ones (at least ask a few people to serve as references) as you leave a job. That way, your old employer won't be the only voice a prospective employer will hear. I work for a facility that has a policy against supervisors giving any sort of reference at all. So, I have been asked to write letters for colleagues who are job hunting -- and I know who I would ask if I were to need such a letter.

    Collect friends along the way and stay in touch after you leave. Those are the people you can call on when you need a reference.

    Another possibility is to include a copy of your official evaluation as part of your application. That should include your supervisor's signature -- and provides evidence that you were doing a good job before you left. A smart employer would put more weight on that official internal documentation than a former boss angry because you left.
  9. by   MJB2010
    Quote from llg
    Is there anyone at your first nursing job who could give you a positive reference? Perhaps a colleague would be willing to write a letter for you. Similarly, is there a former nursing school instructor.

    You need to collect the positive ones (at least ask a few people to serve as references) as you leave a job. That way, your old employer won't be the only voice a prospective employer will hear. I work for a facility that has a policy against supervisors giving any sort of reference at all. So, I have been asked to write letters for colleagues who are job hunting -- and I know who I would ask if I were to need such a letter.

    Collect friends along the way and stay in touch after you leave. Those are the people you can call on when you need a reference.

    Another possibility is to include a copy of your official evaluation as part of your application. That should include your supervisor's signature -- and provides evidence that you were doing a good job before you left. A smart employer would put more weight on that official internal documentation than a former boss angry because you left.

    I have several coworkers that have offered to be a reference. I do also have several letters of recommendation from my nursing instructors. I do need to ask some of the former coworkers to put it in writing, in case they move or we lose touch. Thank you!
  10. by   linearthinker
    Quote from MJB2010
    I stayed at a job for 8 years, the one I left after 6 months was a bad fit. I am looking for another place to stay long term. And I was planning to stay at my current position (where I have been about a year), but this opportunity seems like such a good fit. I didn't seek it out, but it does seem like a better place to work.

    So I guess I will have to hop til I find the right one. I don't feel like a hopper, I feel like I had one bad one.
    And that's fine. My post was partly TIC. You have changed jobs frequently of late, and are planning to again. There is no way to obscure that fact, that's all. In your shoes, I'd follow the advice as described by canesduke.
  11. by   jahra
    Quote from linearthinker
    First of all, you are a job hopper, so trying not to look like one is a wasted effort, lol.
    You have shown that you stay in a good job by the fact you worked 8 years in corporate field.

    Good for you that you left after 6 months of a nursing job that was not a good fit or unsafe.

    In our area, seasoned dedicated and hardworking nurses have been dumped out immediately after 20 yrs or more secondary to the new "healthcare system" who purchased the hospitals reorganizing.Heartbreaking for these families in this economy.




    So emphasize your previous corporate job , minimize the 6 month job in nursing, it was less than a year.

    Show them that you are improving yourself and tell them what you can bring to this corporate RN job.

    Good Luck!
    Last edit by jahra on Sep 17, '11

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