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. You may also want to express your need for continuing onboarding the right way. Many companies simply offer a few canned learning programs and hope it’s enough. Not good. Please share with your boss that you need more, perhaps coaching, one-on-one time, a mentor or additional training.
2. Who do you know who can help? Your network is your most powerful tool and is often left underutilized. Don’t wait too long to reach out to them for support and advice. Who knows? They may even have something better within their own organization and help you make professional switch. Your coach can also 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. After all, you deserve to be happy. One of the strategies that Carly and I worked on together was looking for ways she could build her skills set and make positive contributions to her new company while simultaneously unleashing her career 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 do something about it? As a coach, I’ve heard “My new job is a mistake” a few times before Carly. And for those who are reading this article and know me personally, I can honestly say “Been there. Done that.” Sometimes you don’t know it’s a mistake until you’ve spent a little time in the job. It happens. It’s okay. But please don’t settle. And don’t wait for someone else to make it right. Do something about it. And please don’t be ashamed. When I found myself struggling in a new job, one of my dearest friends gave me great advice. The world won’t care tomorrow if you leave today. Best advice I ever took and the best professional decision I’ve ever made.
How To Be Career Happy? If You’re Struggling In Your New Role, Reflect On The Above Questions
I hope this article provided you with a few applicable ideas for success. I would be honored if you shared this on social media. And speaking of sharing, please share your own ideas and experiences below. Together, we can build a happier career community.
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