What if a New Job Isn’t What You Expected?

my new job is not what i expected

There are few things more exciting than landing a job. Especially if you’ve been on the hunt for a while.

However, there are times when a new job isn’t what you expected it to be. Maybe your day-to-day doesn’t match the job description. Perhaps you were assured you’d be trained, but you were thrown into the “deep end” on day one. Or you may find your new co-workers to be intolerable.

Several clients have come to us over the years with this dilemma. We always tell them, “Don’t worry. You’re not stuck!”

Try These 9 Tips if You Don’t Like Your New Job 

If your new job isn’t what you expected, follow these tips to resolve the situation and exit gracefully, if necessary.

1. Remain Professional

It can be a huge disappointment to realize that your dream job is really a nightmare.

It may be tempting to yell, “I quit!” and storm out. However, you must remain calm and professional. Don’t make any quick decisions you might regret later.

2. Reflect on Your Situation

Determine what’s not going right for you. Are you not being trained? Is it taking a while for you to gain access to their intranet and databases? Do you need more one-on-one time with your new boss?

Things like these may be simple oversights on the part of the company. Mention these issues to your supervisor or human resources. They may be able to quickly provide solutions.

3. Give it Some Time

my new job is not what i expected

Starting a new job can be overwhelming and you may feel like bolting after just a few weeks. Remember that your new manager hired you for a reason. They obviously saw something in you that they liked.

Try to stick it out for at least three months before you decide for sure whether the job is right for you. Hanging in there for six months would be even better if you can handle it.

During that time, do your job to the best of your ability. Try to get to know your co-workers. Ask for help when you need it. You may find that you like the job.

4. Train Yourself

If lack of training is the issue, then you may want to make the effort to train yourself, if possible.

Look for YouTube tutorials or free online course to get up to speed on software you need to know. Ask a friend or someone in your network to spend a few hours with you.

Should you have to train yourself? Absolutely not. However, if you’re not getting what you need from your employer, then taking the initiative to train yourself may make a huge difference. You may find yourself hating your job one day to loving it once you’re up to speed.

Remember to mention to your supervisor that you’ve done some training on your own time. First, it will show that you’re a proactive worker. Secondly, it may be a wakeup call for your boss and prompt them to set you up with some proper training on company time.

5. Speak to Your Manager

my new job is not what i expected

If it’s been more than three months and the job still isn’t meeting your expectations, then it’s time to talk to the boss.

It’s best to schedule a meeting with her or him to ensure that you won’t be interrupted during your discussion.

If you’re not getting trained properly, don’t say “I was promised training and I’m not getting it.” Instead, tell the boss that you are doing your best, but you’d be more effective if you had a few training sessions. You could also suggest job shadowing someone. Your boss will be more receptive if you present a solution to your challenge.

If your job duties don’t match the job description, then bring a printout of the job description to the meeting along with a list of your day-to-day tasks.

Point out the differences to your boss and ask for clarification. Express interest in taking on the responsibilities that are outlined in the job description. Ask when you can expect them to be added to your day-to-day duties.

No matter what the issue is, the hope is that your boss will hear you and be amenable to making changes to ensure you’re more satisfied in the role.

6. Look For a New Job

my new job is not what i expected

If you’ve tried the tips above and still nothing has changed, then it’s time to look for a new job. The first thing you’ll need before applying is a strong resume that quickly encapsulates your value in the 10-seconds or less a hiring manager will spend looking at it. 

As you search job boards, read job descriptions carefully. Take notes about what you think your day-to-day will look like. During the interview you should ask specific questions about what your duties will be. You want to be sure that you have as much of an understanding of the job as possible to avoid ending up in the same situation.

Also, expect the interviewer to ask why you are leaving your current job so soon. It’s okay to be honest and say the job isn’t what you expected. Avoid speaking negatively about your employer. Try to pick one or two specifics that you weren’t satisfied with and give simple, professional explanations. Don’t overexplain yourself.

You can say something like:

“I was hired to create corporate communications strategies but found myself executing others’ strategies instead. I told my boss that I did not mind the work, but it didn’t align with my expectations based on the job description and my interviews. Developing communications strategies is my passion. 

She explained that staffing shortages required the change in my duties, and she did not expect anything to change in the near future. I decided to go look for a job that more closely aligned with my career goals.” 

            You may also say something along these lines: 

“I understand and enjoy the natural competitiveness of sales. However, I felt there was a lot of pressure from management. This created distrust amongst sales representatives and created an ‘every person for themselves’ mentality on the floor. I decided to look for a role that matched my sales experience and fostered healthy competition and cooperation amongst sales representatives.” 

7. Contact Other Employers

my new job is not what i expected

If you aren’t ready to do a full-on job search again, you can go back to other employers that you may have been recently interviewing with or who actually made you an offer.

Ask if the position you originally applied for is still open. If it is, tell them you’d like to still be considered for the role. If it’s not, ask about other positions that you may be suited for.

The other option is for you to contact your previous employer. This can be an especially good move if you left on good terms and were a top performer. Your previously employer may be ready to hire you back immediately.

The upside of this option is that you won’t be going through the grueling process of sending out resumes and going through interviews again.

If your old position has already been filled, then look on the company’s site for similar positions you may want to apply for. Your previous manager and co-workers will probably even give you recommendations to get you back in the door.

Some people may feel embarrassed or ashamed about returning to a previous employer.

But please remember that you wouldn’t be the first person to return to a previous employer. Recent research conducted by the Workplace Institute revealed that 20% of workers have returned to an employer they left in the past two years.

Perhaps an even more important statistic is that 65% of managers surveyed say they would welcome back top and moderate level talent. Furthermore, 16% of managers say they’d hire back a former employee regardless of what their performance was like.

8. Contact Your Network

my new job is not what i expected

Once you decide to leave your job, let those in your network know you’re looking for opportunities.

There’s no need to go into detail about why you are looking so soon after landing your current position. The important thing is that you have colleagues and friends thinking of you when opportunities show up. You can also alert your network about your job search status by posting on LinkedIn

Just be mindful where you post your intentions to seek new employment. You don’t want that information getting back to your current employer before you’ve told them that you’re ready to leave.

9. Quit

Finally, you may decide that you need to quit your job whether you have another job lined up or not.

When asked why you’re leaving, don’t go into details about what you did not like. Instead, simply say that you were offered a position that better matched your career goals and your skill set. Thank them for the opportunity and the time they invested in you.

Even though you are a new employee, you should still give two weeks’ notice. Ensure your manager that you will continue to perform your job duties until your last day. Do your best to continue to work well with co-workers. If possible, finish up any assignments before your last day.

Despite your best intentions, however, be aware that you may be asked to leave immediately after making your announcement. This may be for security reasons. For example, they don’t want to give you time to copy files that you can bring to a competitor. You may never think to do that, of course, but the company needs to protect its proprietary data.

Also, your boss may determine it’s not worth keeping you for two weeks, especially if you weren’t heavily involved in important projects at the time of your announcement.

If you are asked to leave immediately, don’t take it personally. Above all else, you want to leave the job on good terms.

Jobs Aren’t Always What You Expect Them to Be

Having a new job turn out to be less than you expected is a great disappointment. But the tips above can help you turn the situation around.

Remember, you should never feel like you are stuck in a position you don’t like. If you’re skilled and ready to work, then there’s a job out there that you’re sure to love.

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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