New Job - Change in Scope Before Starting - Is This a Red Flag?

Updated on June 16, 2012
M.M. asks from Denver, CO
13 answers

Hi, I just got a new job and am about to start in 2 weeks or so. The job description in posting included supervision of some staff, and questions at interviews focused a lot on my role as a manager. I have a person inside the agency that I'm close to, and I was informed by that person today that it is likely that I will not be supervising anyone at the job. The higher ups made the decision recently.

I find this disturbing. I wasn't specifically looking for a supervisor position, but I can see some people seeing it as a step-up opportunity or a must (if they are currently in a supervisory position) and the decision to take the job depended on it. I was excited about having someone to supervise (an opportunity that my current job doesn't offer), and I was going to mention that as one of the things that the new job offers that the old job doesn't when I am asked for reason for leaving the current job. Although my taking the job initially didn’t depend on being a supervisor, now I am finding that I am disappointed.

So without this internal contact, I was going to go in on my first day and find out for the first time that I won't have any supervisees.

Would this bother you, do you think this is a red flag?
Thank you for your opinion.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for your comments! I actually started this job a couple of weeks ago, and it was correct that I will not be supervising anybody. And I was not informed of that by my supervisor either. Someone emailed my supervisor and everybody in the same position as me whom I supervise, and another person in the same position responded I'm not supervising anybody. Isn't that strange?

I asked my supervisor directly after that, and she seemed surprised that I was even asking about it, and she said it was because I was part time - although my predecessor was also part time and was supervising. I have to imagine that there were things that didn't go well to have mostly full time supervisees and a part time supervisor.

Anyway, I'm OK with it now since I'm way too busy and swamped to really pay attention to supervisees. I hope to have my hours increased to close to full time sometime in the future and hope to be able to supervise at that time.

Again, thank you for all your responses!

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answers from Washington DC on

I wonder if their project changed or something. My DH was going to manage x group and got moved to y group. He has more projects, but fewer people. At first he was mad he was passed up for the office with a door but he likes not being on call every time something in the old system breaks.

I was once hired to do web portal content work, but the funding for that project got cut farther upstream so they retrained me to do data processing and customer service full time instead. It wasn't a bait and switch per se because the manager really didn't know that it was going to be cut.

I would go and see what the job REALLY is and if it's something you can do anyway and if the other benefits outweigh this news. Maybe there's a very good reason the job changed a bit. Frankly, I hate managing a staff.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

you know, this could be a test of your ability to avoid gossip pitfalls. Be very careful what you assume, what you believe, & what you're going after!

Based on the tone & wording of your post, I do believe you fell for it. Watch could bite you.

Instead, I would look at the parameters of your experience & what you're bringing to the table. Even though you've never performed as a supervisor, you were hired for this position. So perhaps, it will be "baby steps" into more you prove yourself to the company.

Allowing this "insider" gossip to alter your prospects...would only be detrimental to your future. Peace & Good Luck.....

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

No, but if your new boss found out what you "friend" has told you, she could be fired.

I would start your job and see if you like it. If not and the scope of your work was put in your offer letter, then you can ask why you weren't informed prior to starting.

Supervising people CAN be a pain in the long as they didn't change your salary, I say give it a TRY.

Keep us posted.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

So you don't know for sure? This is just speculation? I would not go by what your "friend" told you. Don't borrow trouble. What did the offer letter state? Is supervisor in your new title or mentioned? I'm a manager and sometimes I feel like I have 170 kids!!

Congrats on the new job!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I have been a supervisor and a manager, depending on the job that is not a bonus. It is like going to work and your kids are still there.

It sounds to me like they liked you but don't think you can manage. Some people can't. Could it be a bad sign, sure, it is possible that they gave you the job because of your friend and will have to hire someone for the job they were trying to fill. Then again they may have filled the supervisor position with someone they already had and are moving you into their position.

I guess I wouldn't read a lot into it until you know what is actually going on.

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answers from New York on

Perhaps your "insider" applied for the same job and you got it. Maybe she is bitter and using this alleged information to discourage you. Chin up. Rumor under the rug. Reassess your relationship with this insider.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

What Sue H said.
Calm down, give the job a chance.
Women are catty; even our friends!
I'd rather learn a job before supervising anyway, wouldnt you?
Don't panic, and by all means don't let gossip freak you out so much.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would take this knowledge with a grain of salt. As others have said, your contact may be mistaken. Or, it may be that you will not supervise anyone for the first 90 days as a trial period, and then you will transition into a supervisory role. Perhaps the person you would have supervised is out on leave. Who knows. I would try and keep an open mind about this and see how things play out. Good luck with your new job!

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answers from Washington DC on

This all sounds like speculation. Why don't you wait for the first day and see what happens. Or if you staying at your current postion depends on this part of the job you could call your interviewer and sort of mention how excited you are about your new position and ask how many will be under you. You will have to make up a reason to ask. All the reasons I come up with are kind of lame.

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answers from Norfolk on

I don't think it's a red flag. Perhaps they want to see how you operate within their organization before giving you a supervisory role. Being a supervisor in a brand new job can be difficult without knowing anything about the job culture there. I'm sure that you will be a supervisor once they see how well you perform. Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

No. this would NOT bother me. Why? Because I view this as hearsay - gossip. Is it possible that this "friend" is jealous of your new position?

I would talk to the recruiter who first interviewed you and tell them you are excited about starting the position in two weeks. Verify they have received all the documentation needed for your first day - what you need to bring - Passport, etc. for the I-9 documentation. IF there have been any changes, the recruiter should know about it and be able to bring it to your attention.

I would also ask yourself WHY you are changing jobs -
more money?
a step up?
closer to home?
more challenging?
While you initially stated you were NOT looking for a managerial position, now you find yourself disappointed - why is that? Not just the excitement aspect - WHY? Do NOT worry about what OTHER people see - this is YOUR career. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM YOUR CAREER? Are you looking for growth or money? more questions than advice I guess. I would write a list down of the pros and cons of the job - why you want to leave your current one and why this position pleases you so - even with the supposed changes...

good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Are you willing to turn down the job based on the fact you may not be supervising people? Is that the only reason you were considering leaving your current position?

I mean, if it's a deal breaker for you, it's a deal breaker, but I certainly wouldn't base any decisions on "inside" information. I mentioned to a coworker that there was a job opening at a medical facility very close to me and she immediately started in about how I shouldn't even consider it because it's a very stressful and messed up place, she's heard really bad things, etc. She depends on me a lot and didn't want me to leave, she didn't know, and still doesn't know that I have already worked there. The position ended up being filled from within and absorbed by current staff members, but my point is that sometimes people have their own motives for saying things.

Without exaggeration, every single job I've been hired for has ended up having nothing to do with the job description I agreed to and not in a bad way. I had been laid off from a job and accepted a part time receptionist position while I looked for something else. My first day, I was promoted to a managerial position. Who could have seen that coming? A guy had gotten married and was relocating, they saw my skills and bang! Done deal. Full time, full benefits. Score! Every job I've ever had, I end up doing MORE than I was hired for.

Personally, I wouldn't count this job out. You haven't even been trained yet, how are you just supposed to start out supervising people when you don't even know their procedures yet? Not only that, you weren't informed of this by the actual HR department or hiring manager(s). I've worked with lots of people who think they know everything that goes on and they don't. I work in HR and I would NEVER discuss something with someone I know personally. If I were to get wind that someone was being hired under a certain pretence and it wouldn't be productive to hire someone who wouldn't be happy, I would go a step above and let them handle it. I wouldn't call the person and say, "Hey...guess what I heard....".
I've worked with people I know who've gotten fired. It's not an easy situation, but I can't discuss that with them on personal time.
TOTALLY unprofessional.

If you ONLY want this new position IF you will be supervising people, call whoever interviewed you and make that clear. However, you could be shooting yourself in the foot and talk yourself out of a good opportunity. If you'd rather stay where you are under those circumstances, nothing lost and nothing gained.

Just my opinion.



answers from Miami on

Hi M. M,

I will speak from some personal experience:
1. i would be concerned that a change was made in the job description without informing you directly now. That is, is this the 'culture of the firm'...

2. Thus, you can decide if it matters, as written below, if being a supervisor is important -- that is -- as a stepping stone to more senior management positions...

3. and/or...if you want to work in a company that makes decisions about your future without informing you....

Only you can decide in the balance of your life what is important to you..

best of luck,

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