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Ask HN: Would you admit being unfit for role, or use a simpler excuse to quit?
10 points by mclightning 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 19 comments
I just started at a new job around 3 weeks ago. Technically and culturally, I am not fit for the job at all from what I can tell.

The whole team speaks English for me, but it is noticeably uncomfortable for everyone. They skip inviting me for lunch because they don't want to go through same act during lunch.

I am a frontender with AWS and GCP experience. This whole place runs and breaths Microsoft Azure.

They hired me as a Frontend Lead to manage 3 other devs and external provider's deliverables. I had no time to takeover from previous guy, because I wanted to have a break between jobs, I was burnt out.

I feel at a loss, at their way of working. It is a real life "the office" environment. DevOps team just deleted whole development IT infra with no notice, because it was costing too much apparently, and it does indeed. A meeting titled "ProjectA Mobbing", with no agenda, none takes notes or action points. %80 of people are kind of sleeping through the meetings. Person who calls the meeting just goes on fixing IT infra while 8 people in meeting watches.

How do I quit nicely here? Is it too early after 3 weeks?

Do I say, I am unfit for this company and environment? or lie and say I have another job offer?

PS : There is a non-zero chance admitting unfit for role can put me in a legal trouble, as I am self-employed through my own company through a broker making %40 as I am.






First, start learning the language. Then ask if you can go along for lunch. Let them know that they should continue to speak in their language at lunch and that you are trying to learn. Be light hearted about it and accept any help they offer. This will build bonds.

If you don't want to learn the local language, then perhaps you should start looking in companies or countries that do speak your language primarily. I would think there's a high chance of encountering a similar issue again if you stay in that location.

Also, start implementing some standards like meeting agendas and action items. This is the type of stuff a lead should be setting the standards on.


I'd a long weekend off and reflect on my situation if I were in your place. But mostly, you're just going through a culture shock. It'll pass. If you want, you can discuss your concerns with the department head. People are generally accommodating. Try to word it in a non confrontational manner (pretty much like you did here). If you are ready to take the leap, learn their language, their work culture and their tech stack. If you don't want to go through all these hassles and adjust, then either you should become a loner (who just minds his own business and comes back) or simply quit. I'd say try to hang on depending on the duration of your assignment. But if you're looking out for a long term relationship, then you'll *have* to change if you wanna stick around.

In regards to culture shock/language: I have been in this country for 8 years roughly. I have been more relax about people not speaking in language I can understand around me. But only recently, I have lost emotional capacity to be cool with it. I worked with an international team for a while before Covid, and it reminded me how much nicer life used to be.

So I am planning to explore my options to move to US or UK, even at the expense of loss of income.


I guess it depends on the location you are in, but saying as a reason to quit, that you feel you do not fit is entirely adequate. I assume there will be a leaving interview? At that point you can provide more detailed summary. One think I would be concerned about (not about quitting, but about you) is you mentioned burn out. Have you sought help? Please do, in any way that makes sense to you and does not impact on your future emplyability (again, this depends on employment law in your jurisdiction).

I have been considering it, but I have not done yet. I have taken 1 month break, went on some great vacations. It could have been enough, if the work environment presented wasn't a worse version of my previous one.

I migrated into a country where everyone "can speak English". After 7 years living in this situation, I have ran out of emotional capacity/patience to handle this situation.

When people only choose to speak in a language you can understand, only on a "need you to hear/engage on this" basis, You get stuck between isolation and exhaustion.

I am trying to move to US or UK. I feel I should be solving Leetcode puzzle instead of working at a job I hate.


You spend 7 years in foreign country and didnt manage to learn local language? but feel offended when natives dont bend backwards for you?

I don't know where you get that I'm offended. It is more frustration and isolation. People can be living in a country for many reasons, not involving an interest to settle or learn the language.

I won't dive more into "who is to blame" discussion here. This is not the point or the forum to for me to open up further on details.


There is no reason to lie. If you feel that the job is not working out, tell your boss how you are feeling and that you are thinking it may be better to leave. They might agree, and you all separate pleasantly... or they might disagree and help you resolve the problems so you can have a better working environment. There could be other reactions as well, but you never know unless you talk.

Have you tried telling/asking them in some way?

I would normally try to have a night out and buy some drinks and get the subject on discussion after hours.

It could be "as simple" as saying that they don't always have to speak English after hours or during lunch. Depending on what you think about that ofc.


I would just keep job hunting. Technically, you are only three weeks removed from the process (you were looking for a job about that much time ago, so keep doing it).

I did the same and left a job within a month for similar reasons.


> I am self-employed through my own company through a broker making %40 as I am.

I really don't understand how you're self-employed and at the same time you have to worry about how to quit.


Quit : I mean "terminate the contract with client". I am a consultant.

Don't you have a section in the contract dealing with termination, from their side and from your side?

"Unfit" means unqualified, so don't say that.

Yes, there's a big difference between not fitting, vaguely saying "it's not a good fit" out of politenss and being unfit.

Yeah, there might be legal/monetary implications to it too, as I have taken this role as a consultant through my own company.

At 3 weeks you could essentially leave now. If you wait any longer it becomes a gap on resume.

this place sounds like a mess. unfit does not mean unprofessional, and you definitely unfit, and they're definitely unprofessional. sounds like quitting asap would be the good move for everyone.

I had a fucking awful job for three months this summer

I advise others to give something two full months before bouncing

I usually don't follow my advice but this time I did

It was a big mistake -- it just burned me out -- big-time zapped my emotional energy and I took a couple months off afterwards before I really starting to look again

I told my new manager that I felt bad felt like things were off everything was wrong yes I'm actually trying hard to figure out WTF you guys are doing but it's a literal disaster and I've been in plenty of disasters even helped create them but this is a whole new level of fucketty

Mgr blew it off

Which makes sense because they created it

At one point I took it as a challenge let me see if I can make it work here life is fun and not that serious for a relatively privileged dude like me I'm prob not going to starve

Had a couple of goodish days

But ultimately felt like the company was a loser and I usually like to be in psychopath startups actually trying to do something "make a dent in the universe" hopefully not an evil dent

So I gave it the bezos test

Will I regret having bounced from this shit hole in five years?

No

And there were some nice and smart people there but that was mostly irrelevant to my day to day

So part of my equation the biggest part was

What is my purpose of this life?

It was not I decided to stick it out at some shit job

I wanted to do bigger and much much better impactful things and felt like there was zero chance of that happening there

All stuff I should have known before I joined but eh

So my advice

Tell someone

Give it the old college try

Think about making that two month mark

Start looking for your next gig

If it still sucks at two months you have to go

If you want to do something in this life

Lot of people with choices are happy to live a 1x life

I've usually chased and have sometimes found that 10x life

And it's gd amazing

I haven't had conventional success (yet?)

But at least I've tried to live

Some people are afraid to die

Some people are afraid to live

That kind of thing




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