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You swapped jobs and you hate the new one. What next?

What to do when your new job turns out to be a big mistake

So, you’ve taken the leap, left your old job and  joined a new firm. But what was supposed to be your dream job, is slowly revealing itself to be a grave error of judgement on your part. What to do? Don’t panic…….

1.Give yourself time for adjusting to a new job

“Generally speaking, it takes three months to get used to a new environment, so don’t rush to conclude that you should quit right away,” says Hallie Crawford, the founder of Career Coaching.

Crawford says it’s easy to confuse the discomfort of being new and alien, with hating your job. If you’re within the first three months, then the disastrous feelings could simply be the fact that you’re overwhelmed with the strangeness of the new role.

Resolve to push through your first quarter with an open mind, and don’t expend too much energy regretting your choice,” said Caroline Ceniza-Levine, career expert at SixFigureStart. “Decide that you’re staying – at least that first quarter – and focus on getting used to your new manager, your new responsibilities and your new work environment.

“Then when you hit your 90-day mark, see how you feel and decide again for the next quarter,” she says.

2. Maintain the relationship with your old employer

If you left a good job that you liked well  enough and were on good terms when you left, then you could contact your old boss and explore the possibility of a return. But you’ll need to be ok with being labelled a boomerang employee.

“There's no shame in becoming a boomerang employee as long as you are happy to  go back to any negative aspects of your previous employer. Plenty of people return to their old jobs or go back to companies that they’ve worked for previously,” says Roy Cohen, career counselor, executive coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “They left because they felt the grass was greener, but it turned out it wasn’t.”

Cohen suggests reaching out to former colleagues as a matter of routine, without a specific agenda. Check in, ask about the old place, project positivity and keep those professional relationships strong, says Cohen.

3. Learn how to communicate effectively with your boss

Whenever you’re in a troubling career situation, the key is communication, says Laura Mazullo, HR recruitment specialist at East Side Staffing.  When evaluating your job, try too identify ways it can be improved. Ask yourself if certain things were better, could you stay and really thrive?

“If so, share this with your boss or with HR and propose solutions that may make the opportunity more enjoyable for you,” says Mazzullo.

If you have analyzed all of those potential scenarios and recognize that leaving is the only option, then you can begin a new job search.

4. Learn the art of making better career choices

When searching for a new job after a negative experience, self-awareness is of paramount importance. Work on gaining clarity before you start a new search. Do you know what you want? Can you articulate what type of corporate environment suits you best? Do you recognize what was missing from the last job? What didn’t work?

You don’t want to repeat the same bad decision, so take some time to figure out what needs to improve in the future.

5. Recognise when you have become a victim of circumstance

Is it that you don’t like your new job, or is it that they really don’t like you?

“Sometimes when we join a new company, there’s a misunderstanding about what’s expected of you, or there’s a different boss than who we initially interviewed with. Sometimes there are political events at the firm, or financial difficulties which mean they’re not committed to you, the new employee,” Cohen says.

Recognising when to cut your losses is an important skill; don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself, spring into action and start looking for a new job immediately.

6. Ask whether this is a pattern of destructive behaviour

If you don’t like your new job, ask yourself if this is a pattern of behaviour you are repeating?

If it is, or if a potential employer could interpret it that way, you really have to consider whether it’s in your best interest to quit or stick it out for a reasonable period of time before looking for something else.

Cohen describes working with a “runaway job candidate” who regularly experienced chronic “buyers’ remorse.” The candidate in question interviewed well: he attended multiple interviews and hiring managers loved him; he always got an offer. However, with an offer in-hand, he started having second thoughts and started looking at another company he’d interviewed with earlier. Then he'd go back to the first company, restart negotiations and tell them, “I understand why I was reluctant before, but I’ve reconsidered and I want to accept your offer.” He joined, regretted his decision and asked Cohen to help him out.

“Because he had a history of doing that sort of thing, it really damaged his reputation,” says Cohen. “Too much pro-crastinating in the world of financial services, and people will have you down as a nutcase.”

7. Ask yourself how best to prepare for your next interview

The next time you find yourself in an interview for a new job, make sure you’re ready to ask the right questions that help you evaluate the appropriateness of the fit.

“The best advice I can give you is to specifically identify what wasn’t working in the last job, so you know what to evaluate on interviews going forward,” Mazzullo says. “So often, when candidates tell me a career move was a disaster, they say ‘I wish I asked XYZ on the interview.’”

8. Is trusting your gut feelings about a job a good idea?

Yes, says Mazzullo. “I’ll often hear candidates say their gut was concerned about XYZ, but they said still said yes to the offer anyway,’” she says.

Address those instinctual concerns in an interview and give the employer a chance to explain something further for you; you may learn that you want to walk away from the process, or that you feel better about joining the firm. And they will appreciate your honesty and frank approach.

9. Is it OK to take a vacation at a new job?

Yes! If you've given yourself a fair amount of time to settle into your new gig and you're still not feeling it, then find out how many vacation personal days you've accrued and request some time off. Hit the reset button, unplug from work and come back refreshed. Returning with a fresh outlook and a positive mindset could help you turn the situation around into a more positive one.

10. Quitting outright should be a last resort, but it’s not the end of the world

Traditional wisdom says you don’t quit before you have another job offer, so you can say you have left voluntarily. But increasingly there isn’t as much stigma attached to leaving a job without one to go to, and on Wall Street it’s quite common for people to be displaced multiple times.

11. Consider an outside-the-box career change

Maybe it's not simply that your new employer isn't a good fit. There's a chance you're burnt out in the financial services industry altogether. Have you ever dreamed of becoming a Hollywood agent or pastry chef, starting your own craft brewery or winery, or designing swimwear or robots? If so, and you can afford the time without a pay-cheque, then now may be the time to take the plunge and go for it.

Photo by David Pupaza on Unsplash

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Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORSarah Thompson Insider Comment
  • My
    31 December 2022

    Is there a way to downvote this? I was looking for advice on how to feel better and this article has made me feel so much worse. Why does it need to be assumed that there is a destructive pattern of behavior? Sometimes things simply do not work out. We find that there are mis-representations and toxic environments that were not apparent during the interview process. Having a new job not work out is a very difficult thing to go through, and I do not feel the tone of this article acknowledges that. Of course we need to examine where we went wrong, but anyone can make this kind of error, and it's likely to happen at least once or twice over the span of a 30-year career.

  • MA
    23 July 2019

    I just changed jobs and after day 2 really don’t feel good about it. My boss is an MBA who manages like she is reading out of a textbook of what she learned.
    I liked what I did before but just the area I worked in not the whole place but that job I left is gone. I will give it a few months and hope for the best.

  • Be
    Bella Betcher
    18 July 2018

    I experienced the same. I just changed the job. Sometimes reality differs from our expectations, and it's normal. You are always able to change the situation.

  • D
    4 May 2018

    Also, a co-worker was recording me working on the computer with her iPhone. Is that legal?

  • D
    4 May 2018

    Hi, I'm in a bit of a situation, I've been with the same company for three years now. I recently applied and was given the in another department. I'm struggling to settle in. And get the paperwork done correctly in a timely manner. I didn't realize how rusty I was. Anyway I have been shadowing the supervisor to learn which has not worked out for me. And I have a couple of days left to pic up my speed. What if I'm let go from this position? What am I to expect?. I know it will happen, I'm just a slower learner, but I will get it.

    Please advise me
    Thanking you in advance

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