I hate my new consultancy job. What’s my next move?

People usually feel very positive and excited when they accept a new management consulting job. However it sometimes happens that you start a new position and almost immediately it feels like you’ve made a terrible mistake.

You should never wake up on a Monday morning and dread your week ahead.

However whatever you think about the role don’t rush to hand in your notice!

But you don’t have to endure misery and there are things you can do to help yourself make the right decisions moving forward. Our suggested approach explains how to improve your situation or get a new job while working at your current one.

Be clear on the reasons for your unhappiness with the role

It can feel like EVERYTHING is wrong especially if you’re in a very negative mindset: but usually there are one or two key aspects at the heart of your dissatisfaction.

Consider talking to an informed and trusted friend or mentor about how you are feeling. Talking to someone who is objective can sometimes help you pinpoint the reasons for your concerns. You may be unhappy with your new consultancy job for a possible variety of different reasons. For example:

  • you feel that culturally you don’t fit into the organisation
  • the role was mis-sold to you and doesn’t represent the opportunity you were excited about
  • the company is under-performing
  • there is a personality clash, or you are otherwise unhappy with your new boss
  • the virtual onboarding didn’t go well
  • the role has changed since you accepted
  • the work/life balance is very different to what you expected

Talking through the reasons for your disappointment with someone who knows you well can enable you to seek clarity, not only regarding the issues but also help identify potential solutions.

It’s also a good idea to re-visit your reasons for leaving your previous management consultant job and review your requirements and expectations of a new role.

Time and Space

Even if you feel you have justifiable reasons for reconsidering your position, it’s sensible to allow a period of at least three months. You may find in that time that some of your concerns recede in importance or disappear.

If that’s not the case it may be a good opportunity when you review progress with your line manager to have a considered, constructive conversation. It is possible that some issues can be resolved through communication. If there is a review meeting then that’s the ideal time: if not then you should ask for a meeting and share your concerns.

Be careful however: even if you are very unhappy it would not be in your best interests to be too candid and find them deciding to show you the exit. Don’t burn bridges or back yourself into a corner with your current employer: it is essential to maintain an outwardly positive and constructive approach. It is also essential to do your best work so that you leave the company on a high: you want to leave on your own terms and when it suits YOU, not when it suits your boss or your employer.

Indeed it is important for your own wellbeing and job performance to seek the positives and remain upbeat as difficult as it might seem.

It’s really important if you find yourself feeling disappointed after starting a new job not to have a knee jerk reaction and resign without due consideration. It is likely to be less stressful looking for a job while employed and you can buy yourself time to try and avoid another quick move, which unfortunately is a pattern we see fairly often in consultant recruitment.

This is particularly true if you’ve been in your previous role for a number of years: it’s important to distinguish between being out of your comfort zone, which often comes in a new role, and general dissatisfaction with your new job.

What does your CV say about you?

Now is a good time to evaluate your CV and work history. Do you have a number of employers where you only stayed a short time? If so, it would be wise to consider sticking with the role for a longer period to display some stability on your CV. Of course only if you can consider this a viable option.

It is worth spending some time analysing the pros and cons of staying in your current role:

  • Does it provide a good development opportunity if you stay?
  • Does it feature in your five-year plan?
  • Can you stay in the role but look into the possibility of a move internally?

If leaving is inevitable

Once you’ve decided your position in the job is untenable, it’s time to start planning your exit.

  • Make sure you revisit your career objectives and personal marketing plan.
  • Consider what might you do differently this time to minimise the risk of another short term move.
  • This is a good opportunity to revisit your network. Reach out to people you are connected to via LinkedIn or in your industry or like-minded professionals. Maybe contact respected, trusted recruiters who can provide you with details of any relevant roles in complete confidence.
  • Consider whether there are specific employers where your skills and experience would be relevant.
  • Update your CV and LinkedIn profile making sure you include keywords in both to maximise your chances of relevant headhunter approaches.
  • Review job boards and LinkedIn.

Were there other employers and jobs you turned down in favour of the one you now dislike? Bearing in mind your recent experience, is re-connecting with any of them as a potential “quick win”?

It could even be worth considering the circumstances under which you left your previous role! Is there an opportunity for you to return to your former employer: perhaps in a different position? This is, of course, entirely dependent on your reasons for leaving in the first place and it may not be an option. There may be interim or freelance options available with them as an alternative.

As mentioned don’t do anything rash, like resigning, until you have a firm job offer: this might raise eyebrows with potential new employers and puts you under even more pressure to get a job which isn’t a great way to make the best long term career decisions.

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