Dear J.T. & Dale: I was job catfished recently. In the interview, they told me that I’d be doing one type of work, but once I started, it was totally different, and it’s awful. I can’t go back to my former employer. It took a long time to find this job, and it pays well, but the work is absolutely horrible. I’m so angry that they lied to me. I’ve spoken to other people at the company who said the same thing happened to them, but they feel trapped, too, because they can’t find another job that pays as well. Is there something I can do here? – Jalen
DALE: First, your question was the first time I’ve heard the term “catfished” applied to a hiring situation, which got me curious. The term is usually applied to a deception where a person takes on a false online identity to pursue a victim. I learned from a writer on cybersecurity issues, Nathan Daniels, that “catfished” was popularized by a 2010 documentary about a “young man being deceived by a woman with a fake Facebook profile.” Daniels goes on to explain how the term originated far earlier: Surprisingly, it comes from shipping live codfish. The shipper would throw in some catfish to chase the codfish, thus keeping them active and therefore fresher. Hence, the term’s association with being chased.
J.T.: As for the question, it unfortunately happens that when companies are struggling to hire, they misrepresent jobs. They say whatever they need to get you to join the company and assume that you won’t leave too soon, because employees have been told to stay put to avoid seeming to be a “job jumper.” I disagree 100%. Start looking for a job right away. When asked about being at your new job for a short while, simply tell the truth. Just try to keep the emotion out of it. You don’t need to tell a new employer how angry you are about being lied to. Stick to the facts and stay objective, but definitely find a new job! The best revenge on a company like this is turnover.
DALE: That might take a while, so do what you can with what you’ve got. Volunteer for company projects that will help you learn or add new skills. Meanwhile, network with former employees of the company to see how they transitioned out. Use your employer while they’re using you.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I’m looking to get back into the industry that I worked in over 20 years ago. But, I’ve been told you shouldn’t put work more than 20 years old on your résumé. What can I do to showcase that I worked in this industry and have the skillsets while complying with these résumé design guidelines? – Sandy
DALE: J.T. is the résumé expert, and she’ll have good advice, but let me add this: Extensive experience is not your advantage in landing a job in our Another New Economy. Rather, your contacts and former co-workers are your advantage. You have a lot of them, and they won’t need your résumé.
J.T.: As for the résumé, it’s true that we tell people not to include experience more than 20 years old. At the same time, there are exceptions. I think what you need is a “relevant work experience” section at the top of your résumé, followed by your work history with jobs/dates in reverse chronological order. That way they can see that you have had this kind of experience in the past, but they’ll also see that you have been working in other areas. Most importantly though, I can tell you that the online systems are probably going to toss you due to the age of the experience. So, Dale’s right about networking. But, I’d add this: In addition to former colleagues, you should reach out directly to people at the employers that you want to work for. That way, you can explain to them firsthand about your previous experience as well as your transferable skills from the work that you’ve been doing more recently.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a career coach and the founder of the leading career site www.workitdaily.com. Dale Dauten is founder of The Innovators’ Lab and author of a novel about H.R., “The Weary Optimist.” Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via email, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803. (c) 2022 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.