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

Generally people feel very positive and excited when they accept a new job role. However it sometimes happens that you start a new position and almost immediately feel like you’ve made a terrible mistake.

You should never wake up on a Monday morning and dread your commute into the office.

In the current situation with the added uncertainty surrounding Covid you probably don’t need advising not to 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 get a new job while working at your current one.

Seek clarity on the reasons for your unhappiness with the role

Consider talking to an informed 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 job for a number 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 with your new boss
  • the virtual onboarding didn’t go well

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.

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 reasons for apprehension or concern dissipate. 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 open and honest communication.

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. 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. It’s also a good idea to re-visit your reasons for leaving your previous job. What were your requirements and expectations of a new role? What are the specific reasons for your disquiet? Can they be addressed through further discussion and collaboration with the new company?

After a period of reflection, you still dislike your new job. What do you do next?

At this point, it may be worth considering the circumstances under which you left your previous role. Could there be an opportunity for you to return to your old job? Or return to your old company 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.

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 migration into freelance work?

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. 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 you chance of headhunter approaches. Review job boards and LinkedIn. Consider what might you do differently this time to minimise the risk of another short term move.

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

Also don’t burn bridges or back yourself into a corner: it is essential to maintain an outward positive and constructive approach. Indeed it is important for your own wellbeing and job performance to seek the positives and remain upbeat.

It is also essential to do your best work so that you leave the company on a high, according to your own timing, not someone else’s.

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