How to Deal with a Disappointing New Job
You’ve finally landed the job you’ve been interviewing for for months! At first, you’re happy and excited, but your enthusiasm fades as the weeks go by, eventually reaching the level of “major disappointment”. What can be done when the job we wanted so badly doesn’t live up to our expectations or match our skills? How do we know if a change of perception is better than a career change? Some questions and food for thought.
Asking the right questions
Do you ever make a mountain out of a molehill when it comes to frustrations? If so, before making a radical decision – like quitting with a bang – assess the true nature of the problem. The goal is to do the right thing by asking the right questions. For example, are the issues encountered related to the job itself or to the situation? In other words, is the problem structural or circumstantial? Can your job evolve over time or does it seem locked into its current definition? Another good question to ask yourself is whether the negative aspects of the job could be compensated for by potential opportunities for advancement or if there are other meaningful benefits for you (work-life balance, etc.). Taking time to reflect also means ensuring this is not simply a natural part of the adjustment process.
What if idealizing a job was the norm, when people should really be tempering their expectations? While it’s true that no job is perfect, we should at least identify our career goals. Bottom line – beyond dissatisfactions – what do you want to put into and get out of this job? “Wanting, for example, to be in senior management at the end of your career means asking yourself, ‘What do I need to improve to become the best leader I can be? What should my path consist of?’ Depending on the context, this could mean focussing on various jobs throughout your career that will give you the opportunity to grow or acquire specific skills and enable you to achieve your ambitions,” recommends coach Cloé Caron. A way to build your career step by step…
Enhancing your role
All in all, the nature of the job confirms your suspicions: these narrow responsibilities are dragging your motivation down! No matter. Any idea for enhancing the position by aligning it with your skills can be worthwhile and well-received by your manager! The idea? Opening dialogue about the annoyances or misunderstandings related to your role. For example, “during the interview, I had the impression that x,y,z… When will I take that on?” This keeps the conversation open to new ideas in a way that reinforces your skills and results. And sometimes, simply broadening your view of other positions (and people) within the company may well give you further ideas for career development in your organization.
Adapting, but to what extent?
In most cases, stepping into a job means acclimatizing to our work environment and figuring out all the aspects of the role within the company. There can be expectations and regrets to manage, tasks or responsibilities to better understand, options to explore. But there are also signs to consider, like excessively high levels of stress and anxiety that undermine your mental health in the long term. Likewise, there are limits not to be exceeded that touch on ethics or rights to the point of compromising your values. These warning signs are all good reasons to quit your job, explains Gillian Williams, partner and co-founder at recruiting agency Monday Talent.
You’ve decided to stay? It’s never too late to approach your manager with your expectations, even to develop a career plan with them. Post reflection, does the decision to quit your job seem more justified? Disillusionment can lead to a more refined view of what we really hope to get out of a job, believes Erin Grau, COO of workplace wellness consultancy Charter, who has observed a realignment of priorities after the pandemic, like “the desire to be doing meaningful work, fulfilling a greater purpose, and creating value in the world”!
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