You just started a new job, and only a few weeks into your new role you find yourself wishing you could turn back time and had opted to wait for something better. (ASAE), about 35% of American workers quit their job within the first six months. If you hate your new job, the first thought in your mind may be to write up your resignation letter, but for many, that might not be financially possible (especially if it took you a while to find this new job). Relax. You still may be able to find happiness without having to send out resumes.
The first step to dealing with new job disappointment is to pinpoint what’s wrong. Are you bored and underchallenged, or overwhelmed and overworked? Do you dislike your boss or a colleague? “Examining what’s wrong really requires some self-reflection,” says career coach Cheryl Lynch Simpson, even pointing out that for many, job dissatisfaction may not stem from the job but from external factors. “Sometimes people are unhappy at work because they’re unhappy somewhere else in their life,” says Simpson. If the root of the problem isn’t work, switching jobs isn’t going to improve your situation and may have disastrous consequences for your career in the long run.
Identify the skill set your new job will allow you to hone and assess whether those are skills that you really want or need to build. Knowing that by sticking it out, you’ll be gaining skills that will aid you in getting to the next level in your career, and that can help to keep you engaged.
If your current job description leaves you feeling unfulfilled, perhaps there are other opportunities in the company that can help you enjoy your days. Look for opportunities to volunteer to work on projects that excite you. Be creative about finding opportunities that will also give you some resume-building experiences that will be valuable later on in your next job search.
Are there certain aspects of your job that you were unclear about when you were offered the position? Perhaps you and your boss can work out solutions so you can fulfill your desires within the criteria of the job description. “You can sometimes renegotiate the job,” says Simpson. Consider asking to be released from some tasks or offer to take on certain other tasks that may improve your happiness on the job. While Simpson says many bosses will be willing to sculpt a role around an employee, their amenability may also depend on the level of the position. “If it’s a lower-level position, there’s going to be a lot less flexibility,” she says.
Adjusting to a new work environment, new schedules, and new procedures can be overwhelming. “Change is difficult for many people,” says Simpson. Ask yourself whether your dissatisfaction with your new job is simply growing pains. It’s easy to interpret your aversion to change as a poor fit, when in fact, you’re simply feeling overwhelmed by all the new things you have to learn. Simpson recommends sticking out the job for at least six months to determine whether it’s the job you’re hating or just the change that is required.
If you’ve determined that your new job really isn’t for you and decide to move on, Simpson says it’s vital to examine what went wrong in your decision making to make sure the next job you land is the right one. Did the company withhold information from you? Should you have asked more questions? “Identify patterns in your own thoughts or behaviours and get a sense of what to do right next time,” says Simpson. Make a list of the things you dislike about your current position or company, then invert the list so that you now have an ideal job/company list that you can use to find your next position. “Recruiters have a tendency to want to see people placed in positions that are ideal to the one they just left,” says Simpson. This can leave you spinning your wheels in jobs that you hate. Be strategic about what’s on your LinkedIn profile and resume so you don’t get stuck in the same job you hate over and over again.