If you ever find yourself in this situation, you may find that the best thing to do is to give notice and move on. But before you rush to do that, consider some strategies for when maybe that’s not the best, or the most financially viable, option.
1. Figure out what’s not working (and what is)
When you say you hate your new job, the first thing to note is what you specifically hate about it. After all, when you start any new job, you tend to feel clumsy and ungainly, simply because everything’s new. You’re used to feeling competent, and now you don’t. This sense of discomfort might feel like failure or frustration—and that might be the source of your thoughts of quitting.
On the other hand, it could also be that the work wasn’t what was promised, your manager is useless, or the culture totally sucks. Those are things that may not get better over time.
Then, look at what is working. Maybe you’re working for a great company with potential for advancement. There might be great mentors and experienced professionals on your team to learn from.
After you assess what’s working and what’s not, consider if the long-term gain is worth slogging through these difficult early months. Then, you’ll be able to think about your next steps and options much more clearly.
2. Have “The Talk” with your manager
It’s no secret: It’s a big fat hassle for organizations to recruit and hire employees, only to lose them in a few short weeks. That means, as a new hire, you have leverage. Use it! After all, the organization hired you because the people there believe you can help it succeed. The employer is probably going to be very disappointed if you leave.
Someone, for example, lands the job of her dreams at a nonprofit. The week after she started, her boss goes on vacation and leaves her with a big list of to-dos, vague instructions, and good wishes. By the time her boss returns, she is overwhelmed, unnerved, and ready to quit, thinking she had made a very big mistake and will be awful at the job.
But she can actually decide to try a different approach. Though her first instinct would be to gloss over the situation when her boss returns, she can meet with her manager to explain what happened and how it makes her feel. She can share her desire to do well, but report feeling lost and unsupported in the early weeks.
Who knows, her boss might listen and apologize. The boss might even arrange for her to receive training and coaching on the company’s software and other processes. Contrary to her first days on the job, she can now move forward feeling welcomed, valued, and supported. Resignation averted!
It’s not always easy to say, “I need help!”—especially in a new job where you want to be seen as a competent high performer. But by asking for what you need, you may be able to change the path of this new job.
3. Give yourself a time frame
OK, so you’ve started the new job and it’s less than ideal. But remember, jobs—and the success that comes with them—are an acquired taste that require time, practice, and learning.
Most new employees leave jobs because they don’t feel confident in getting the work done or getting to know the boss and colleagues. So, give yourself time to do both. Create a timeline that you’ll use to make a go or stay decision—and during that time, commit to learning the job and the work processes.
Get a mentor. Meet weekly with your manager. Build relationships with the colleagues and teams around you. Do everything you can in your control to make the job the best experience possible.
If, at the end of your time frame, nothing’s better and you don’t believe you’re moving forward, consider putting your termination plan into place.
4. If all else fails, quit and ask for your old job back
Yes. The grass isn’t always greener. That big brand name, with 500 employees and social outings might feel more like a funeral than fiesta.
Taking a job and wanting to quit immediately is a story that happens far too frequently. It reinforces how critical due diligence is in the job search. “I should have asked more, better questions before I took that job,” is a common observation.
If you leave, remember that your next job search is a two-way street. Sure, that company is looking for talent. But you need to look for the place that’s right for you.
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