We’ve all been there: the job search that brings up glimmers of hope. After endless hours editing your LinkedIn profile, meeting hiring managers and potential workmates, and a number of unanswered thank you emails, there’s that promising role that arises from the ashes. Great location, great team members, and even a great salary. You start to get really fired up and, dare we say it? Excited. You’re whizzing your way past these interviews and you’re letting everyone know, this may be it. This may just be the role of your dreams!
First check feels. (via giphy.com)
Some call it the old bait and switch. You know, that job that seemed perfect on paper, but actually turns out to be far from what you expected. There are a number of reasons why a job isn’t what you had hoped, and we totally hear you! If you’re wondering what to do when you’ve landed a new gig that isn’t quite living up to the dream, then this post is for you. Ready to make a change? Let’s get to it--
#1 - Give It Time
Another 6 months? (via giphy.com)
Probably not what you were expecting to hear (ah, those expectations again), but it might be too early to start looking for the exit. If you’ve just started, then you’ve got a great opportunity to get to the root of your uneasiness and make a smart decision about what to do next.
Is it that you expected to have different responsibilities? Did you expect the company culture to be something it’s not? At some point you were excited about this new career opportunity so now’s the best time to figure out what’s not lining up.
If you’ve been at this role for some time, and know this role is just not for you, then you’ve still got a great chance to find out what’s not working. If you’re just not finding your responsibilities enjoyable or getting to use your talents the way you’d like, talk to your supervisor. Approach this conversation as a way to get their advice. Be honest about what expertise you’d like to focus on during your time there and what you’d like to learn. They can help be your eyes and ears, and let you know of any projects that may be of interest to you.
#2 - Interview – For Information
Tell me what you know. (via giphy.com)
Informational interviews don’t get enough credit. Yes, they’re a great way to learn about a company before applying, but once you’re in, they’re also a great way to talk to other sharp leaders about what their roles and responsibilities look like.
Getting to know the duties of other professionals in your field is a good way to help figure out what kind of work you’re actually interested in. Managing your own expectations against the reality of the job may alleviate some of what you’re feeling.
See how different companies sell the role you’re currently in, find out from friends in similar positions what their day-to-day looks like, and get a feel for what you can do to change your current situation. You may find that once you’ve put together some reconnaissance, you can tailor your role or focus on making sure your next gig is closer to what you want.
#3 - Talk to HR (or your boss)
Maybe it’s company the Kool Aid? (via giphy.com)
(This one’s for larger startups and companies that have HR departments.)
You’ve sat down with your boss. You’ve spoken to others with similar job titles. You’ve even added on new projects, but you’re still ready to run for the hills. You’ve now got two options: stay at this company or hit the road.
If you really love where you work, then knock on HR’s door. They know what’s coming in terms of current or potential openings, and they can help you make a lateral move to a different department, which might help you find that career satisfaction you seek.
#4 - Draw Up Your Exit Plan
Stay strong! (via giphy.com)
Not so fond of the group culture? You’ll need a plan before jumping ship, and a few professional recommendations too if you’ve built good relationships with your boss and colleagues.
Because finding a new gig can take anywhere from 3-6 months or longer, you’ll want to take action now on re-structuring your current role around what you’re planning to do next. Also consider what you can do outside of work that will help set you up for success during your job search and at your next post. It can be anything from brushing up on a new skill via YouTube to make your CV more competitive, or looking at LinkedIn profiles of employees who already have the dream job you want.
While at your current job, make a list of all the things you don’t want and use that to give you a better picture of what you do want. Try not to focus too heavily on the negatives. Instead, use them as a way to understand why this role isn’t what you expected, and to get clear on what would make you happy.
#5 - Keep Doing Your Best
You got this supastar. (via giphy.com)
Frustration can set in pretty quickly when you’re disappointed by an opportunity. Do not, I repeat, do not let this affect your work! Even if you’re no longer excited about your job, create a positive reflection of you and your work ethic. If you need to vent about your job, make sure to go to a trusted friend (outside of the company) who will let you vent. Six degrees of separation is really real! You may end up working with these folks again, in a job you truly do love, and you’ll want them to remember your professionalism above all else.
If you’ve done all you can to salvage this role, the best thing you can do is continue to bring your A game and focus on the positives of the job. For instance, you may not want to be cold calling all day, but an understanding of sales tactics, whether you’re a Paralegal or an Events Coordinator, will give you good insight into customer behavior that can be applied to any future role you take. So continue to do the work, stay courteous, and finish on a strong note.
From time to time, you may find that a job you were truly excited for just isn’t what you expected. And that’s ok! Finding the “right” job will take some time and effort, but if you can pinpoint exactly what’s not working, then you’ll get closer to figuring out what is. By being an active participant in your own career, you’ll be showing managers, coworkers, and HR managers that you really care about doing your best work.
Looking for more ways to find a better fit even when your job isn’t what you hoped? Learn the 4 secrets to loving your job , continue to advocate for yourself , or find out if it’s time to quit and make a career switch. Planted can help set you on the path to the right startup for you! Also be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to find a job you’ll love.
Dronile Hiraldo is a New York City born and bred writer with a passion for stories, doughnuts, and Thriller. As a copywriter and digital media professional, she loves exploring the Dominican-American experience through such topics as wellness, style, and travel. Her lifestyle blog, the little dominican , inspires other women of color to manifest wild, carefree, divine lives– full of tender (self) love and care.