You’ve been searching and searching until finally, you accept a new job you’re excited about. You think, “This is it!” Then, a week goes by, and then two. Soon you’ve been there three months and feel like you’ve made the wrong choice. Now what? Should you stay and try to make it work or quit and cut your losses?
According to a recent Zippia survey, 50% of workers dislike their job. Fortunately, there are ways to approach the situation without panicking or feeling like you have limited options. These tips will help get you started.
Think about how you approached the job search
At this point, you may want to take a step back to consider how you approached the job search. Did you do your due diligence or just jump in thinking that the grass was greener? Did you take the time to research the company and the culture? Did you ask all the hard questions during the interview process to make sure it would be the right fit? Often, candidates who are immediately unhappy with a new job didn’t do enough due diligence beforehand. While it’s too late to change things, it’s not too late to think about what you can do better next time.
Identify the source of discontent
The first question to ask yourself is why you are so unhappy. Is it the company culture, your manager, colleagues, or the work itself? Is the position different than what was promised? While a certain amount of anxiety at the beginning is normal, you shouldn’t feel like you hate your new job. Once you understand the source of discontent, you can begin addressing the problem.
Determine whether the situation is temporary
After identifying exactly what you don’t like about your role, the next step is to decide whether the issue is temporary or permanent. For example, maybe you’re still not feeling confident in the position or working on a project you don’t enjoy. Both of those issues are temporary. However, if you’re in a research role and realize after a few weeks that you hate research, you may need to consider another position internally or externally.
Explore options to make things better
Once you are clear on why you are unhappy, you can develop an action plan. If you aren’t getting along with your boss, it’s a good idea to address those issues with them directly. If it’s the work itself, you could come up with suggestions on making your projects more challenging or what other tasks you may want to take on. Think about how your job could adapt in ways that are better aligned with your skillset. Once you have a meeting with your manager, you may find them more flexible and open to suggestions than you thought. The last thing you want to do is blindside your boss by quitting without giving them a chance to improve the situation.
Find professional development opportunities
Whether you decide to stick it out or not, it’s a good idea to explore professional development opportunities outside of the office. Consider taking online courses or volunteering for a cause that you care about. Perhaps there is a nonprofit board that could benefit from your expertise. If you can’t find leadership roles internally, an outside organization could provide you with the challenge and stimulation you need.
Change your mindset
Another option is to change your mindset and focus on the aspects of the role you enjoy. Every job has elements that are tedious. But if this position can be a stepping stone to something better in six months, it may be worth staying. You could also consider whether certain benefits could offset the fact that you don’t like the new job. For example, the role might provide flexibility so you can spend more time with your family. Think carefully about the pros and cons of the position before determining it’s time to leave.
Carefully consider your next step
Whatever you decide, don’t make a hasty decision. Every new job has an adjustment period. If you have followed these strategies and feel the same way in six months, it may be time to start looking for other opportunities. Also, if you moved on voluntarily, you could even consider whether it’s possible to go back to your old job. No matter what, you’re under no obligation to include every position on your resume. So, if you decide to stay for a short time and don’t feel there is anything worth highlighting, simply leave it off.
Remember, no job is perfect. But you do deserve to be happy. At least one-third of your life is spent at work. That’s 90,000 hours over the course of a lifetime. Make it count.