When you start a new job and realise it’s not for you

You hate your new job! What now? Sometimes you can apply for a job, go through the recruitment process and celebrate landing the role – only to discover when you actually start that it’s not at all what you expected. Or worse, that you hate it and will do anything to extricate yourself! There’s nothing worse…

You hate your new job! What now?

Sometimes you can apply for a job, go through the recruitment process and celebrate landing the role – only to discover when you actually start that it’s not at all what you expected. Or worse, that you hate it and will do anything to extricate yourself!

There’s nothing worse that feeling that pit of dread in your stomach when the alarm goes off before work – and it’s an awkward situation to be in with a new employer, too. But don’t despair: there are things you can do when you realise a job isn’t for you. Here’s where to start.

1. Identify what the problem is

Don’t give into the temptation to quit, run out the door and hope you never seen any of your co-workers again – that’s poor form. Instead, take some time to reflect on the job and what it is that’s not quite right with it. Are you dealing with a toxic boss? Is the position not quite what you were promised? Or do you just have a case of new-job nerves? It’s good to identify those things, so you can evaluate if you should stay or go.

2. See if you can fix the problem

Getting to grips with a new job can be an uncomfortable learning curve, and it might be that you’re feeling anxious about something that’ll change once you get into the swing of things. Or it might be that you’re not keen on this particular job, but there’s a chance of a sideways move or promotion into something you’d be a better fit for. If you prove yourself, and you’re in the right place when another role becomes available, internal promotion could be a possibility.

3. Consider what staying in the job might mean

Yes, it might not be the best fit for you overall, but are there any benefits to the job that you’re overlooking? Maybe it pays pretty well, giving you a chance to clear debts and save. Or, it might offers flexible hours, or a chance to work from home. Perhaps it’s a great company that would look good on your resume – or there might also be perks you could take advantage of. Weighing up the pros and cons of staying is important before jumping ship.

4. Consider the risks of quitting

If you’re really unhappy, there’s nothing to be gained by staying in a job you hate. But just be aware that leaving a job quickly, or bouncing from job to job, can have a negative impact on your career overall, especially if quitting when the going gets tough is a recurring pattern with you. For example, a CV with gaps in your employment history or that has a list of jobs you’ve only been in for a short while can be a red flag for hiring managers and recruiters.

5. Talk to your manager

The recruitment process can be expensive for employers, who want to hire someone they think will stay in the job long-term. And to save money having to go through the hiring process again, your manager is going to be motivated to keep you. If the problem isn’t a temporary one, set up a meeting and have a chat about the aspects of the job you weren’t expecting or don’t enjoy. Try to do it in a solutions-focused way in case there’s a chance they can adapt the job to be a better fit for you. Or, they may suggest moving you elsewhere in the company. But don’t quit without having this conversation! You never know where it might lead.