Do you hate the new job you just started? No matter how carefully you prepare and weigh the pros and cons before accepting, there's no way to be 100% sure what you're getting into—until you're on the job.
If your new gig is 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 turned back in the right direction. Here are seven ideas to help you deal with a new job that doesn't fit.
Figure Out Whether the Job Is the Problem
Change is hard on most people. If you're someone who needs time 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, or a new corporate culture, before you can be sure 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 2017 CareerBuilder survey reported that 66% of workers have accepted a job and then realized it wasn’t the right job for them. Half (50%) of these employees quit within six months, while 37% stuck with the job. The main reasons given for the job not working out were:
- Toxic work culture (46%)
- Boss's management style (40%)
- Job not matching description in the job posting and interviews (37%)
- Lack of clear expectations around the role (33%)
Identify the Core Issues
After waiting out the "new kid" phase, If you're still feeling vaguely uneasy—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 their management style, attitude, skill set, or 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 you'll be able to fix it—or move on to a new job that suits you better.
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. 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. Recognizing those good 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.
Keep Your 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. 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.
Use Your Network
At least 60% 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 send the perfect job opportunity your way.
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. Write to your old employer about returning to your former job and be sure to sell yourself by including reminders of your accomplishments.
This is why it's important to always leave an employer on a good note. You never know if you'll need to go back.
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 you’re looking to leave already. Choose job sites that let you withhold your name, and conduct all communication on your own time and equipment.
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—technically, your still looking for work as you try on a new position.