What to Do When Your New Job isn't What You Expected

August 16, 2018
Career Development

It happens. You start a new job you were sure you were going to love, or at least like, and have a role that fulfilled your expectations and understanding of the title and work. Then, you get there, and a few days or weeks in it isn’t what you expected or thought it would be at all. Whether it’s the team you’re working with, your manager’s expectations, or the duties, responsibilities, and projects you’re working on that don’t actually match up what you understood from the description and interview process, we get it. It’s frustrating.

So what do you do when you’ve only just begun a new job and already feel out of your element? Unless things are truly awful and unfixable, giving it a try is always helpful. Figuring out how to communicate your frustrations and make a plan of action to better any situations that can be improved is a good start. Here are a few things you can do instead of just quitting or resigning:

Remain calm and evaluate whether or not you can overcome these challenges.
The first and most important step to take is to figure out whether the issue you’re having is with a toxic environment, policy, or person, or if the issue is something that can be overcome and ultimately fixed. This will require some self-work, and some time and reflection. Is this something you might be able to figure out with the help of a career coach or a mentor whose advice you trust? If you think about it and realize that there are different ways to frame the experience and benefit from it, it’s likely that it’s possible to find comfort and happiness at your job. Give it a chance and figure out who you need to talk to in order to begin working on the situation.

Make a meeting with your manager.
Tell them that you have an important matter to discuss with them as soon as possible and set up a 30-minute meeting to openly and honestly communicate your struggle. Think carefully about what you want to say and communicate respectfully. Most importantly, listen to what they have to say. There’s a good chance that they’re excited you’ve joined the team and want to do whatever they can to keep you, including working with you or providing resources to help you adjust. Make sure to tell them what you think would help you, as well, because in the end you’re the person who knows what will make you feel most comfortable and productive in your role.

Begin by letting them know that your intention is to gain a better understanding of your role, and do the best you possibly can. Ask clarifying questions with specific details in order to clear up any misunderstandings or anything unexpected you’ve experienced.

Work with other people to solve the problem.
It’s likely that your co-workers and manager will want to help, and will want to provide whatever support they can to help you adjust and be successful at your job. Talk things through and brainstorm, then put together concrete solutions. Then, thank your manager and team members for working with you.

Last but not least...
If you attempted to confront the issues, gave it some time, and still find that your job isn’t working out, then it might be best for you and your career to make the decision to move on. While it can’t hurt to try, there’s also no use in being stuck in a job that isn’t right for you. If you can afford to start your job search again and find something that suits you better, it might be the best option.

Explore your options, and make sure you’re asking new questions to be even more diligent about learning all that you can about a job and company in interviews.

To find out what questions you should be asking in interviews, go to our blog here. You might also benefit from working with a career coach or recruiter, which you can learn more about here.

All the best