Feeling the new-job blues? These tips will help!
The job-search process can be stressful, and most professionals can’t wait until they finally sign that perfect contract. Time to say goodbye to their old job and embrace the excitement of a new office, new colleagues, and new responsibilities.
But what happens if you’ve crossed over to the other side and found that the new job isn’t what you imagined? What if you dread going to work and wish you could have your old job back?
Believe it or not, this crestfallen feeling is pretty common. However, it doesn’t mean you should resign from the new position and run back to the comfort of your old office. Here are five things you should do instead.
Take some time to breathe
Negative emotions don’t automatically mean you’ve made a mistake and chose the wrong job. Most professionals don’t realize that starting a new job is a major life-changing event. When it comes to the stress scale, a job change is up there with marriage, divorce, or even a death in the family. Let go of the expectation that you “should” just go on as if nothing happened!
Instead, go easy on yourself. You’ve just lost your old crew. Yes, you changed jobs voluntarily — but a loss is still a loss, and suppressing or ignoring that fact won't move you forward. Make it okay to miss your former co-workers, that amazing coffeemaker in the kitchen, the fun team lunch on Fridays, or whatever it is that you miss.
Find one thing to enjoy at your new job
Happiness at work is a practice and that means it will take some work. Your new task is simple — but not easy. Go and find one new thing that you enjoy at work, and do it every single day.
This will be difficult at first because our brains tend to automatically seek out what’s wrong with the world around us. Set aside a few minutes each day to write down a few words about something that made you smile. You could use a Word document, a simple notebook, or a more formal journaling tool, like the Best Self Journal.
Another way to go about this is to decide in the morning what will be the highlight of your day. Perhaps it’s finishing that report, or enjoying a coffee break with a new colleague, or trying something new for lunch. It doesn’t matter if you choose a big thing or something really small — the key is to have something that you look forward to every single day.
Remind yourself of the big picture
Professionals change jobs for so many reasons, and sometimes the major reasons you left can get mixed up with small annoyances. It’s true that sometimes, we can blow small things out of proportion.
Did you leave your job because of your ever-micromanaging boss? The eternally broken copy machine? The lack of upward mobility? That one difficult client? The lack of budget funds for basic supplies? Or the rickety office chair that made your back hurt? Probably not. There was a bigger reason you’ve put yourself through the discomfort of the job search.
Remind yourself of that reason. What were you seeking? Does your new company still offer that opportunity? Is it possible that, underneath all the inconveniences of adjusting to a new job, this might be a gift for your future self?
Make a list
Now that you know what you were hoping to get from your new job, it’s time to make a list.
Disappointment is a symptom that in some way (big or small), reality failed to match your expectations. So, let’s hunt down the mismatches that may be causing your new-job blues. Think about what you expected — and what got delivered. The more specific you can get, the more useful this list will be in our next step. Here’s what to focus on:
Were you promised an office, but assigned a cubicle instead?
Are you working longer hours than you expected?
Are your actual job responsibilities drastically different from what had been discussed during interviews?
Are you getting the training you need to be at your best?
Are you sitting on your hands with nothing to do?
The truth is that you and your employer both want this hiring decision to work out. HR and the hiring manager don’t look forward to re-opening the candidate search. You probably aren’t eager to jump back into job-search mode, either.
So, if you have specific requests that could help you succeed and add value, chances are that the company will be willing to accommodate them. Some things, like a mismatch between you and the company culture, can’t be helped. But there’s plenty that could be fixed if you ask.
Know when to call it quits
Yes, there are situations where quitting a job you’ve just started is the best choice. Perhaps you have landed in a toxic work environment. Maybe the new job requires additional training that the company can’t provide. Or perhaps the actual job is very different from the position you had been promised — and the company can’t or won’t change your assignment.
If that is the case, be absolutely certain about your decision, because it will be final. Talk it through with a mentor or a friend whose judgment you trust. Once you speak up, there’s no going back!
It’s usually best to deliver the news to your supervisor in person. Be prepared to explain your reasons for resigning, keeping your explanation objective and professional. Be polite, offer as much notice as you can, and acknowledge that your departure puts the company in a tough spot. And know that despite your best efforts at a graceful exit, there will probably be hurt feelings and burnt bridges by the time the door closes behind you.
Dealing with disappointment in your new job
So, what should you do if you are a week or two into your new job when you realize that you don’t like it there?
First off, don’t make rash decisions. You can’t take back a resignation! It can damage your reputation and hurt your career. Be sure to look at your situation objectively. Sometimes, professionals expect that the new job will be all sunshine with no downsides whatsoever., and that’s neither realistic nor reasonable. Remind yourself of why you chose this job and consider whether it’s still possible to get what you had hoped for. Finally, know when leaving is the best course of action. And if you choose to resign, handle the transition with as much patience and grace as you can muster.
Of course, it would be better to choose the right-fit job in the first place — and avoid the potential reputation risk and hassle — but you still have options if it ends up being a bad fit.
Feeling disappointed at your job and looking to make a change? Make sure your resume is up to par with a free resume review today!