Starting a New Job

8 Steps To Take When Your Job Is Not What You Expected

February 25, 2021

Job hunting and getting an offer for a position you're excited about can boost your career. However, there may be times when the job doesn't quite work out. This could be because of anything from the job posting not matching the responsibilities you have once you're in the role to your coworkers being unpleasant to work with. In this article, we discuss what you can do if your new job is a bad fit.

Read more: 14 Job Hunting Tips To Get the Job You Want

What to do when your new job isn't what you expected

Follow these steps when your new job isn't working out:

1. Stay professional.

Especially if you were really excited about this new job, it can be normal to feel disappointed and hurt. However, it's best to remain professional and calm in your situation. Assess why the job isn't what you expected. You may realize that the company doesn't match your interests, your responsibilities are different from the job description or your boss isn't as friendly with you at work as they were during your interview process.

You may be in a situation that the company doesn't intend for you to be in either. For example, if the training department forgot to schedule you for new hire orientation, you may feel like you don't belong, but this could be a simple mistake that you all can work through. If your boss doesn't assist you when you start, it could be because they are going through a rough time with a project. There could be perfectly valid reasons for certain circumstances at work — figure those out and reassess your situation.

Read more: 10 Tips To Help You Network Like a Pro

2. Give the position a chance.

The hiring manager must have seen something in you that made them want to hire you for the role. Even if your role and responsibilities are different from what you thought they would be, you could still benefit from the opportunity. Get to know your coworkers, perform your job duties as expected and take initiative on projects. Although you may feel unsettled at the beginning of your time in this position, you may also be surprised later at how much you enjoy your job and the people you work with. You may even have the opportunity to learn something new.

Read more: 21 Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

3. Speak to your manager.

If you're been working in the position for some time and come to realize that the job is still different enough from what you were expecting, schedule a time to speak with your manager. It's best to have a planned time to meet and block off both of your calendars for plenty of time to discuss the situation. This both ensures that you don't get any interruptions and that you can begin and end your discussion in one sitting.

Before the meeting, review the job posting with the responsibilities for the role and list out everything you do. Compare and contrast the two lists so you can easily show your boss what's different between them. You can also make note of specifics you discussed during your interviews or any other correspondence leading up to you starting at the company.

During the meeting, let your manager know that you want to make sure you both come to the same understanding and you're both managing expectations going forward. You could tell your boss that you were under the impression that you were doing a certain task and ask when you'll be taking that on.

The situation you're in could be just a misunderstanding that your boss is more than willing to correct by updating your responsibilities. If this is the case, you may want to remain in the role, as a manager who is highly amendable to your needs and wants to make you happy is desirable for most employees.

4. Look for a new job.

If you're been working in the position for some time and come to realize that the job is still different enough from what you were expecting, schedule a time to speak with your manager. It's best to have a planned time to meet and block off both of your calendars for plenty of time to discuss the situation. This both ensures that you don't get any interruptions and that you can begin and end your discussion in one sitting.

Before the meeting, review the job posting with the responsibilities for the role and list out everything you do. Compare and contrast the two lists so you can easily show your boss what's different between them. You can also make note of specifics you discussed during your interviews or any other correspondence leading up to you starting at the company.

During the meeting, let your manager know that you want to make sure you both come to the same understanding and you're both managing expectations going forward. You could tell your boss that you were under the impression that you were doing a certain task and ask when you'll be taking that on.

The situation you're in could be just a misunderstanding that your boss is more than willing to correct by updating your responsibilities. If this is the case, you may want to remain in the role, as a manager who is highly amendable to your needs and wants to make you happy is desirable for most employees.

4. Look for a new job

It's a reality that even after speaking with your boss, the job is still not a good fit and therefore, not a position you want to hold on to. You can start searching for and applying for jobs in the more traditional way, which can include looking on job boards or social media for available positions and submitting your resume and cover letter.

As you go through your job search, make sure you're looking at all the details of the position available to you so you can evaluate factors like pay, hours, work environment, expectations and your responsibilities. You want to do as much as you can to avoid duplicating the current situation you're in.

When you start interviewing, a hiring manager or human resources representative may ask you questions about your current position and why you're leaving so soon. It's OK to be honest about your situation, but avoid speaking negatively about the organization or divulging too many details that could make an employer believe that you caused any of the issues.

Just like you want to be diligent when reviewing positions to apply for, you should also ask important questions during your interview so you have a stronger understanding of the things that are important to you, like the company culture, promotion opportunities and employee turnover.

5. Reach back out to other employers.

If you turned down another offer or withdrew your application from a hiring process at another company, consider reaching back out to your contact to see if the position is still open. Although you may need to address what happened, you may also be able to pick up where you left off or apply for a similar job at the company.

Another option is to call your previous employer. Especially if you were employed there for a while, got along well with your managers and coworkers, received positive annual reviews and left on great terms, they may be more than happy to welcome you back to the organization. In this case, you may not have to apply for other jobs or go through a hiring process at all. While there is a chance your previous employer has already filled your position, you could apply for another job at the same company or ask for references to use during your job search.

6. Let your network know.

You may not want to divulge the details of why you're back on the job market, but reach out to your network to ask them to keep you in mind for opportunities they see. You could contact previous coworkers and business contacts, or even post on your social media networks. If you have not informed your current employer that you're seeking other opportunities, be cognizant of where you post your intentions or who you reach out to so you can avoid the news getting back to your manager.

7. Leave your current position.

Depending on your situation, you may wait to leave your current role until you've found something new or depart even before that. If possible, give at least two weeks' notice before you move on. Remember to get along well with your coworkers and manager for the time you have left, and continue to do your work too. Even though this position isn't working out, you may still be able to maintain a professional relationship with your manager.

Read more: Common Reasons for Quitting a Job After a Month (With Tips for Doing It the Right Way)

8. Update your resume.

While you may have only been at the position for a brief time, you could have still gained new skills that you can include on your resume. List them out in the skills section of your resume so a hiring manager can see everything you have experience in. Consider if you want to include the position in the job history section of your resume. Either way, you'll need to be prepared to answer for either a short work history at the company or what may look like a gap in employment.

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