I know what it’s like to start a new job and already be thinking “my new job feels wrong.” In my own career, I had that happen MANY times. In some cases, the problem is simply that it’s all new, and not necessarily wrong for you. Often you just need to give a new job time.
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes you’ve landed in a bad job and need to start thinking about an exit plan, just in case. And if you do decide to hang in with the new job, how long do you wait to find out if there’s any hope? And what should you do in the meantime?
How’s a new quilt like a new job?
You may be wondering what a quilt could possibly have in common with reasons to give a new job time. Well, the quilt looked really good online. And it seemed to meet all my basic requirements.
But when I got to experience it in person, I was really disappointed. It just didn’t live up to my expectations. And the colors that seemed so right at a distance, were way too boring up close. In fact, I was ready to send it back.
But then I remembered that, while the mind is a flexible thing, sometimes it needs time to adjust to change. And time to get used to a new way of looking at things. It took me about a week (jobs take longer), but as each day went on, I liked my new quilt more and more. And now, I actually like it a lot!
While you give a new job time…
Whatever the job, it’s important to do your best to make things as good as you can for yourself. Learn new skills if needed. Connect to people. Be supportive of others. After getting familiar with the place, find ways take on things you especially enjoy in addition to your regular assigned tasks.
Here are a few more articles with tips that can help you give a new job time. Even if they don’t address your exact situation, each one may offer a clue. Why not use some of your waiting time to browse them — and see what creative solutions you can come up with for yourself!
“Even if your boss and coworkers love you, most of the time they aren’t thinking about how to change things to make them suit your special needs. Your number one ally in your new quest to improve your work life is always yourself.”
“When it comes to success, so much of it is about attitude. If you have a huge list of things wrong with the job, ask yourself how many of them you’ve tried to make better. And just how important each one really is. Also ask yourself if you are focusing on only the problems and ignoring the good things. A poor attitude on your part can make any job feel like the wrong one.”
“Whatever it is, the problem occurs if we start to view the job ONLY with that close-up zoom lens we spoke of earlier. And we start to only see the parts. We forget to zoom out and see the whole picture. So while we obsess about the parts that aren’t working, we forget about the good stuff. And we also miss chances to get involved in things that we would enjoy.”
“From Ryan’s perspective, he feels sure he is someone everyone would want to work with. He knows he’s good at what he does. But with a new perspective and clearer pair of eyes, he might realize that he has not reached out to be a team player. And his “me me me” song of Ryan has not made anyone want to add him to their chorus.”
“Stop and take a look at the whole picture. How much of your day is spent on things that are wrong, rather than ways to make them right? When people spend their workdays moaning and groaning about how unfairly they’re being treated, they waste precious time focusing only on the negative.”
“So your boss is in the driver’s seat, and you have to go along with her. But don’t forget that your side has a steering wheel, too. If you find yourself spending endless hours recounting your boss’s faults in excruciating detail, you are throwing away precious time that could be spent on making things better for yourself.”
“When things feel so wrong, we sometimes forget the value of what is actually working for us. In Tom’s case, his job gives him an amount of freedom that another job might not offer. And while Tom’s manager could have handled this differently, we sometimes have to help “manage up” to get what we need.”
“And what I eventually learned was that real power is accepting what you can’t change and working on what you CAN change. That’s the most effective way to take control of your own career. It’s not about letting your emotions lead the way, although at times that sure feels right in the moment.”
An important exception
If there is something dangerous or totally unacceptable required of you, I’m not saying you need to stay regardless of circumstance. Especially if it’s a lot more than simply the job feels wrong. Some jobs just aren’t meant to be. And no job is worth putting yourself at risk.
Of course, it’s good to be open to possibility. And it’s great to give things a chance. (At least a few months if possible.) But if you’ve walked into something truly horrible that you are sure can’t change, by all means … get yourself out of there as soon as you can.
That said, just double check to see if you can at least try it on for size first. When I was young, I left a few jobs very quickly. And, although I never look back with regret, I don’t doubt I could have made a few of them work. And gained a lot of skills, contacts, and emotional smarts in the process.