Your new job looked like it was just the ticket when you landed it. But now you wake up every day hating the idea of going to that job. You wonder whether it’s already time to start job hunting again.
When that voice inside your head screams “get me outta here,” it may be time to move on—but it’s best to take a deep breath and examine what is in your best interests.
So before you head to the online job board and the next networking session, take a look at the following three steps to consider when to make the best of it, when to quit and find something new, and how to avoid burning bridges in the process.
Note: whether you decide to make the best of things or move on, do stay in regular touch with professional network and mentors. They can help with ideas for making the best of things while paving the way for you to move on successfully.
Step One: Take a Close Look at Your Current Situation
To begin, get out the pen and paper and list the reasons you applied for and then accepted the job you now have. Ask yourself these two questions:
Are those reasons still valid?
Has anything in your life outside work shifted significantly enough to warrant a work-related change?
Now add to your list the specific reasons you find yourself hating your new job:
Are the tasks outside your expertise? Perhaps you went in thinking that you were very qualified and find yourself surprisingly in over your head. Or perhaps you anticipated a fabulous learning experience and instead see that there is little to be learned in this position.
Are the tasks not well-defined? You may have thought from the job description that you clearly knew what would be expected and find yourself at a loss.
Does your manager’s style present a challenge you weren’t seeking? Is the manager’s style or company culture significantly different from what you are used to or expected?
Are you out of sync with colleagues in some way? Working side-by-side with colleagues can be the best or worst part of any workday. Is your response to your new colleagues based on past experiences? Or related to any of the reasons above?
Have you learned information about the company or its management that poses a conflict for you?
Has the commute become the main issue? Have you moved or do you plan to?
Step Two: Review Options for Staying Put
If the reasons you chose this job are still valid, it may be in your own best interest to stay put for now. Step two, then, is the time to consider what is within your control to change—and what lies outside your control.
Options for changing what you can include: requesting more training or more challenging tasks; talking with your supervisor about how the job description varies from the daily experience and exploring ways to narrow the gap to help you succeed; choosing at least one person at your job with whom you can extend a hand in friendship.
If you see yourself being able to explore any of these options, it may be time to stay. After all, leaving a new position leaves you in the awkward position of explaining the gap or why you left so soon on your resume and leaves you without a reference from that job—any of which may raise a red flag for prospective employers.
Step Three: Time to Quit—Without Burning Bridges
Whether you have tried and failed to make changes to mitigate why you hate your job, or you acknowledge that you’re in a situation that is untenable, it may be time to quit.
Consider first what noted management author Suzy Welch strongly suggests: whenever possible, wait it out for one year before leaving. Leaving sooner sends hiring managers the message that when the going gets tough, you get going. On the other hand, staying put for at least one year helps you avoid burning bridges with your current Management.
Take the high road. Stay professional in your demeanor and tone to avoid burning bridges. When it is time to quit, remember that you might run into members of your management team at networking meetings or elsewhere. Some prospective managers may be friends or at least acquaintances with your current managers. Management and colleagues will appreciate that you continued to be a “class act” even when the fit with the job did not work for you and may even try to be helpful when it is time to move on.
Leave with new value added if possible. Consider whether there is a significant contribution you can make—or have made—that improves the company you are leaving. Can you offer specific feedback to improve their quality of products, services, or processes? Can you write a handbook on additional processes or improvements you developed?
If you do leave, carry new lessons forward for yourself. Could you have known beforehand that you would not like this job through research or networking? Were there questions you might have asked in your interview? Are there other take-aways from having been in your current position? If so, then your time spent has been well worth it.
Whether you are in the midst of your crossroads or ready to move on, we can help. Contact us to learn how.