Before our career journey ends, we’ll all have made a mistake or two. This may include starting a new role only to find out it wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be. Unfortunately, disappointments are a part of life; but it’s what you learn from them, and how you choose to move forward, that really counts. Take Carly. Upon leaving her 70-hour a week job as financial analyst for more work/life balance, she soon discovered that what looked like “zen” from the outside was anything but. The position she accepted placed Carly right in the middle of chaos. Sure, she didn’t have to take home work at the end of the day, but she couldn’t leave the office without a mountain of stress. A week after she began her new position, Carly called me. “My new job is a mistake!” she cried. “What am I going to do?” After reassuring her that she had options, we rolled up our shirtsleeves and got to work. We began by reflecting on many questions, starting with the following:
1. What’s not working in the new position and is there anything you can do about it? It’s hard being the new person, let alone being the new person and asking for change. Still, supervisors don’t know how you feel unless you express your concerns. If you enter into a toxic work environment there is still hope for change, but improvement starts with clear communication.
2. Who do you know who can help? Your network is your most powerful tool and is often left underutilized. Your coach can help you establish talking points, approaches and networking strategies that will rally your network community to help manage change or if needed, find a better position.
3. How long can you hold out before quitting? Time does heal, but not every job is salvageable. So you need to explore how long you can “healthily” stay employed before giving notice. It’s often easier (but not necessary) to find a job when you have a job, because resources, including a large network, are at your disposal. And when you are gainfully contributing, employers can more clearly see your value.
4. Did you know that planning a transition will make your current job better? Our brains are wired toward hope. And when we have it, everything seems a little brighter. One of the strategies we developed was to look at ways in which Carly could continue to build her skills set and make positive contributions to her new company while unleashing her transition plan. This delicate, yet critical, combination of efforts improves dispositions while paying off in the long run.
5. How will you address this “blip” in your career marketing materials and in your next interview? Your employment record follows you wherever you go and so do referrals, so no matter the duration of the position, you want to end on a good note. When you do, it’s much easier to honestly and strategically tell your story.
6. Are you ready to pick up where we left off? As a coach, I’ve heard “My new job is a mistake” a few times before Carly, but my client’s also have a solid foundation to build from. Our work together is not only designed to make you happier in your career, but also gives you the tools to find career happiness.