Things You Can Do When You Hate Your New Job

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Do you hate the new job you just started already? If only it were possible to really know what a job will be like, before you take it. Unfortunately, no matter how carefully you prepare and weigh the pros and cons before accepting a new position, there's no way to be 100 percent sure what you're getting into – until you're on the job, and then it's too late.

Or is it? If you're just starting a new gig, and it's beginning to look more like a nightmare than a dream job, don't despair. There are plenty of things you can do, right now, to minimize the pain and get your career headed back in the right direction.

7 Things To Do When You Hate Your New Job

1. Figure out whether the job is the problem.

Change is hard on most people. If you're someone who needs a while to feel comfortable in a new environment, give yourself that acclimation period before you assume your new job is at fault. You might need to adjust to new procedures, new people, a new corporate culture, before you can be sure that the job itself is the problem. Is it just a rough beginning, or do you really hate the job you just started?

Know that you’re not the only person to have regrets about accepting a position that turned out not to be a good fit.

A CareerBuilder survey reports that 66 percent of workers have accepted a job and then realized it wasn’t the right job for them. Half (50 percent) of these employees quit within six months, while 37 percent stuck with the job. The main reasons given for the job not working out were:

  • Toxic work culture (46 percent)
  • Boss' management style (40 percent)
  • Job didn't match what was described in the job posting and interviews (37 percent)
  • Lack of clear expectations around the role (33 percent)

2. Identify the core issues.

Still feeling vaguely uneasy, after waiting out the "new kid" phase – or worse yet, perfectly aware of what you don't like about the new job? Write it down. State the issues as clearly as possible, and be specific.

If your new boss is the problem, is it her management style, attitude, skill set, priorities? If the role itself is what's bothering you, what would you change about it to make it better? The clearer you can be about what's making you unhappy, the better the chances are that you'll be able to fix it – or move on to a new job that suits you better.

3. Look for silver linings.

Unless you're independently wealthy, you probably can't stroll into your new boss's office and say, "Well, thanks for the opportunity. I think this is the part where I turn in my resignation letter," and walk out. (Although it's fun to fantasize about.) No matter what you decide to do, you're going to need to bide your time, at least for a little while.

As you do that, look for the not-awful parts of your job. Chances are, there are things you'd like about this role, if it weren't for the deal-breakers you outlined above. Recognizing those good(ish) aspects won't just make you happier in the short-term, while you're stuck there; it'll help you understand what you enjoy doing at work in the long-term, which will guide you as you pick future job opportunities.

4. Keep that resume up-to-date.

Even if you love your job, it's a good idea to do this. For an easier time tailoring your resume to future roles, you should also keep a copy of your CV without this latest gig on it. If you start looking for work the week after you take your new job, you won't want to include the role when you apply for new positions.

Job hopping might not be a big red flag to every employer these days, but a two-week-long tenure at your latest job will raise some questions you probably don't want to answer. It's hard to be positive and professional and honest about why you're jumping ship so soon.

5. Network, network, network.

At least 60 percent of all jobs are found by networking. Your next job could be one of them. Now's the time to look up those old colleagues, roommates, professors, and friends, and take them out to coffee or connect with them on LinkedIn. You never know who will be the person to send the perfect job opportunity your way.

6. Don't be afraid to move backward.

If you moved on voluntarily, you could consider whether it's possible to go back to your old job. Sometimes, the way forward is by going back. If you liked your old job, but thought it was time to move on, this new situation might make you rethink that. Not sure how to go about doing it? Here's a sample letter that you can customize to ask your old employer about returning to your former job.

If your old job isn’t going to work out as your next new job, quietly start a confidential job search so your employer doesn’t discover the fact that you’re looking to leave already.

7. When you move on, make this job disappear.

Whether you return to your old position, find a new job, or quit to do something new (return to school, consult or freelance, etc.), the important thing to remember is that you're under no obligation to include every brief stint on your resume.

If you stay at your less-than-perfect new job for a very short period of time, and learn nothing that would contribute to your candidacy for another position, the smart move is to leave it off your resume.