The New Job Honeymoon Phase is Over

Last Updated on December 26, 2016

I’ve been working in the daycare of a gym for 2 months now, and it’s clear that the new job honeymoon phase is already over.

I absolutely love the actual “work” part of my job (playing with and supervising the kids), but the rest of it is really getting to me.

At first I was impressed by how the daycare operated. They have polices and procedures, resources, supplies, staff that actually cares, and a very reasonable adult to child ratio – all things that were lacking when I worked my previous theatre job. I thought that working here was going to be a cake-walk compared to what I had experienced, but it didn’t take long to discover the flaws in the system.


Being Sick

I mentioned before that calling in sick (or taking time off) at the gym is still something I don’t understand – and that hasn’t changed. Back in mid-December, I called in sick to work and felt guilty about it. Since then, my health improved, but that cold was still lingering. And sure enough, I woke up on Saturday morning feeling like hell, once again.

I spent my weekend sleeping and trying to get better, but after much debate, I called in sick today (Monday). Again, to help alleviate my guilt, I called in early to give them several hours to find someone to cover for me. But this time, that wasn’t good enough.

Nope. Instead of making ONE phone call to my supervisor (like I had done before, and like all my co-workers do when they need time off), I was told that I have to call ALL of my coworkers and ask them to take my shift for me. Seriously?

So, instead of resting and recuperating so that I don’t have to call in sick tomorrow, I’m now anxiously waiting by my phone for my coworkers to call me back – who will likely tell me they can’t cover my shift, anyways.

If this is the “company policy”, why am I just learning that now? And why isn’t it being enforced with everyone?


Being Late/Staying Late

For hourly employees, the gym still uses a punch card system, which kinda sucks. The clock on the system is is 2 minutes fast, so even if you arrive to work right on time, you’re recorded as being 2 minutes late. It’s also located in the back corner of the staff room, so if the room is full, it’s not exactly accessible.

My biggest issue, however, is that time-cards are broken into 15-minute chunks. So, if you are those 2 minutes late, your pay is deducted 15 minutes.

I have been “late” twice. Once was because my car wouldn’t start and I had to wait for a cab. I called work and let them know, but because I was 20 minutes late, I was deducted half an hour pay. The other time was because I was called to come in early for a shift. I busted my ass to get ready in time, but because I didn’t punch in until 10:31, my pay was deducted 15 minutes again – despite the fact I was doing them a favour.

I hate that being even 1 minute late means being docked 15 minutes, but I get it.

What I don’t get, though, is why it doesn’t work both ways.

There have been several occasions now that I’ve stayed 15 minutes or more past the end of my scheduled shift. Sometimes it’s because someone else was late and I couldn’t leave, or there was something happening with one of the kids that I needed to be there for, or because management asked me to stick around to talk to us. But I have NEVER been compensated for this “extra” time.

How is that fair?


Being On-Call

I’m the only daycare attendant that doesn’t have another job or that isn’t still in school. This means that management and my coworkers assume that I’m always available and am always “on-call” – even though I’ve told them several times that I’m NOT. But that doesn’t stop them from calling me 10 times over the weekend. (Yes, 10.)

It’s probably my own fault though, because I have a really hard time saying no. This last week, for example, I was scheduled to work 25 hours, and ended up working 44. Why? Because someone is off sick, someone quit, and someone had a death in the family. Instead of dividing up the hours amongst the rest of us, they asked me to cover the majority of them, and I obviously said yes. (Which is probably why I’m sick again or still!)

I am not being paid to be on-call, nor did I sign up for an on-call position. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I ask not to be bothered when I’m at home.


I knew when I accepted this job that it’s NOT a career, and is NOT something I want to be doing for the rest of my life this year. But I had hoped that the honeymoon phase would have lasted a bit longer. I still look at the new job listings every day, but I wasn’t expecting to be back to desperately searching for a new job again quite so soon.


How long have your “new job honeymoon phases” lasted?
Is 2 months a reasonable amount, or is it indicative that this job isn’t the right fit?

Amanda Kay

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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14 thoughts on “The New Job Honeymoon Phase is Over”

  1. I find myself anxious during the first month of a new job since I’m still learning the ropes and getting into a new routine. That said, I love my job and it has a lot more benefits than most jobs (not being criticized for calling out sick or needing to find a substitute on my own). I’ve had two job like yours and I found it incredibly stressful as someone who is very structured and getting a spontaneous call stressed me out when I had prior plans (I felt ‘owned’ rather than a free person). Hope you feel better and something better comes along soon!

  2. Yeah, it happens at just about every job. It sounds like the various things are definitely all slanted in favor of the employer, which I guess isn’t surprising since the employer is the one writing the policies. One thing that I always do is try to put myself in the position of an employer and think about why, from their perspective, they would have created this particular policy. Understanding the why might not make it any less frustrating, but it could take away the feeling of ‘this makes no sense’, because in many cases, there is a sensible explanation at least from someone else’s perspective. For example, if there’s not a full time manager of the area you work in, maybe there’s just no feasible way that one person could ‘jump into action’ when someone called in sick.

    Suggestions often help here. You might suggest that, in this day in age, people could sent out texts to try to get someone to cover a shift. A text can be less intrusive and easier to respond to versus a phone call, and could help speed the process along.

  3. I’d say that this is just part of a job. Every job has it’s flaws, ridiculous rules and backwards thinking. It just varies. I’ve worked in law offices where the rules were whack and I’ve worked at ‘low end retail’ that functioned really well. It’s going to happen no matter where you work. I also think it’s soooo much better to get 44 hours/week then less than 20. It would be awful if they hired you for full time and you were only getting 1 shift a week. At least you’re employed and making money, right?? It could always be worse. Be positive and thankful that you have a job! And screen your calls when you’re at home or start saying no to extra shifts, but be prepared that they may stop asking cold turkey and then you’ll be outta luck when you do want to pick up extra hours! Good luck!

  4. That sucks. You should definitely be paid if you stay overtime. I’m sure that’s illegal. I worked a retail job that was like that…as far as getting called at home and what not. I listed the work number as “do not answer” on my phone so I knew it was them.

    I hope you find another job that you enjoy more fully.

  5. Ahhh jobs.
    I don’t know how long my honeymoon period lasts… but it definitely ends. Lately work has been changing up a bit, which keeps me engaged for longer. I am afraid that the blogging/online side hustle honeymoon period is going to end one day, and that will be difficult because it’s all self-driven. Here’s to staying motivated!

  6. Sounds like that place kind of likes to take advantage of people if they can…and sadly I think it happens a lot. It’s tough to have a job with crappy benefits because I think it kind of say that we don’t care about your life outside of work and that doesn’t make you feel too good about working there. Sorry it’s not working out as well as a pit stop kind of job that you’d hoped.

  7. Seems like there are some very special rules at that place, but for most jobs there is always a way that the company screws over their employees, whether they see it or not. Hopefully you find something that keeps you in the honeymoon phase a bit longer. I’m finally starting to come out of mine and it definitely is a frustrating time…

  8. I had the whole, “you have to find your own replacement” thing happen to me when I was working at a pharmacy in high school. Usually you just called the manager but every so often they would make you do it yourself. I still wonder if it was their way of saying that they didn’t believe me and wanted to see how serious I was about it.

    Ridged policies usually make a workplace more stressful than it needs to be but unfortunately it’s all too common (and that pay-clock dealie is really shitty) My only advice likely isn’t anything you haven’t already considered or are already doing but just focus on the stuff you love, don’t be afraid to say no when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, and keep on the look out for other opportunities!

  9. Blah I’ve worked places like that before. A lot of my jobs I was seriously discouraged from having a sick day, so most of the time I’d just go in anyways. Not the best for one’s health. I hope you’re feeling better and that you find a company that has great policies!

  10. I think the honeymoon phase varies based on how much you enjoy what your doing. I think you need to politely stand your ground the next time they want you to come in early, or stay late. As I often tell my husband “Stop being nice. They don’t pay you don’t stay”. Like you, my husband can be too nice and quite often employers like to take advantage of that.

    In fact, just last night we got a phone call at 1:30AM woke myself and my husband up and almost one of my sons. The call was asking him to come into work at 2:30AM. The kicker is that the supervisor at my husbands shop knew they would be short handed but chose not to do anything about it until super late at night! My husband said no and then hung up the phone. :o/

  11. That is not cool, especially from a business standpoint. They should make it easy for you, especially when dealing with kids. No parent wants their child watched by someone who is sick…because kids then get sick. I would be angry if some company’s dumb policy meant that one of their employees got my child sick – which would probably get me sick too.

  12. At some jobs, I never even had a honeymoon phase, it was rocky from the get go 🙂 If I did have one, it ranged from 1-3 months depending on the environment. I very quickly learned the “I’m not here to make friends” motto because it’s been so hit or miss.


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