Starting a new job should fill you with emotions of excitement and visions of future success. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
I’ve been down that road. Years ago, I accepted a position that sounded ideal on paper. I hated it from day one. Yes, hate is a strong word and one I try not to use but that’s the only way I can put it. I really hated it.
And, I’ll take the hit for that one. I have good instincts and I didn’t follow them. They were throwing up red flags throughout the nightmare interview process and I didn’t listen. I kept thinking about the possibilities. I kept thinking about how I could parlay this role into a greater role in the future.
Cruel reality set in within the first hour of work. It was not a culture where I could thrive. I was miserable and uncomfortable day after day but knowing how expensive the hiring process is, I told myself that I was going to give it a year and then re-evaluate.
Three months in, I had to move on. I was never going to last a year. The culture was in direct conflict with everything that I stood for and everything that I had worked for in my career. I was unproductive. I wasn’t adding value and I knew it wasn’t going to improve.
My decision to leave was certainly the best thing for me but it was also going to be better for the company because they could hire someone that was going to be a better fit.
It’s a tough situation to be in. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Hopefully you won’t find yourself in this position but if you do, here are some tips to help you navigate the tricky waters.
Remember That It’s Not Always Easy Starting Out:
You were probably an expert in your old job. Now you have to learn the new job, get to know new co-workers, understand the culture, and gain insight into your boss.
Excitement can quickly be overridden by feeling overwhelmed. You probably feel like an outsider as you learn the often “unspoken rules” that people forget to tell you about. You’ll make mistakes, people will give you feedback, and it will leave you with a high level of discomfort.
And all of that really sucks, but this will solve itself through the course of time. The longer you are there, the more ingrained you will become within their culture. Learning how to work through the dynamics of a tangled business situation will help navigate similar issues like this in the future. The more you learn about yourself, the easier it will be to learn about other people. This will increase your professional development dramatically.
Determine If You Can Salvage It:
Pinpoint the specific issues that are causing you grief. Is it the commute? The Culture? Your Boss? Your current project? Frequent overtime? The work?
Are these issues temporary or permanent? Temporary issues can make circumstances more salvageable over those that will always be present.
In work as in life, there are often things that you can do to improve a situation. Once you identify the core issues that are causing you strife, then you’ll know if these are elements that you can work on improving.
Have the Dreaded Conversation with Your Boss:
Sometimes your boss may be the issue so this can be a tricky but no employer wants unhappy employees, especially someone that is new to the team.
Your boss just spent a considerable amount of resources recruiting you and they don’t want to lose a new employee without being given the chance to try to resolve issues.
If you are leaning toward leaving anyway, having a positive but candid discussion with your manager about how you’re feeling can’t hurt. Don’t complain without offering realistic solutions for how your position could be adapted in ways that are better aligned with your skills and goals. Any insight that you can offer to your boss will help you both come up with a solid resolution.
And if your boss is less than enthusiastic to work with you, then I guess you have an answer, don’t you?
Make a Great Connection with at Least One Member of Your Team:
Having a supporter will help you feel less isolated and they will also be a valuable resource of information for you. They know how things are done. They know the pressure points. They can give you clues about possible reactions before anything gets to the tipping point.
Get a Win Under Your Belt:
Make sure you are clear about what spells success in your role. Know the priorities. Ask your boss where you can make the biggest difference and add value immediately. If you can get busy on making an immediate impact and can get a win under your belt, your confidence will be boosted and you may end up feeling more positive about your new job.
Understand the risks:
Quitting may bring you relief, but you’ll have to deal with this as recruiters ask you about the short-term job on your resume. A great recruiter or hiring manager will understand that it is inevitable you will make a mistake once or twice in the course of a career but you do need to make sure you cultivate thoughtful responses to future questions in interviews about your short tenure at the job. Be honest and emphasizing that you felt it wasn’t a good fit for your skills and goals.
How Long Are You Willing To Stay?
The decision is yours. Any decision you make will be one that you have to live with. You have to do what makes sense to you logically, financially, and emotionally. But you should not feel obliged to stick it out.
In the end, you owe it to yourself to find a role where you can make a positive impact. Use it as a learning experience. Don’t fight the red flags in the future and ask the right questions in your interview.
You’re only human. Mistakes happen. How long are you willing to be miserable in your career? Only you can answer that question.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]