After several weeks of setting up your workspace and attempting to get up to speed, you're finally settling into a routine at the job you took not long ago. There's just one problem: You're miserable already.
It happens to the best of us. You think your new job is going to be great (obviously, or you wouldn't have accepted that offer in the first place), only to discover annoyingly early on that the opposite is true. If that's the scenario you're dealing with, here's how to approach it.
1. Identify your primary points of dissatisfaction
When you're unhappy at work, that sentiment can quickly take over and dictate your general mood. But when you stop and think about it, you may realize that not every aspect of your new job is loathsome. In fact, there are probably a few facets you actually enjoy, whether it's getting to dabble in new software or having seemingly pleasant coworkers.
Before you resign yourself to outright misery, or decide to quit, take some time to pinpoint what it is about your job that's getting you down. Is it the hours? the pressure? the fact that you're spending too much time looking at data, when you'd rather be doing something more creative? Only once you nail down your sticking points can you take steps to address them, either alone or with the help of your manager. So figure out what primary issues are really at play.
2. Determine whether the role was misrepresented
Maybe you're unhappy with your new job because you've already had to travel three different times within the first five weeks, and that's something you totally weren't expecting. Or perhaps you're getting thrown by the fact that you're spending a chunk of your time booking conference rooms for higher-ups, when in reality, you're supposed to be working on marketing campaigns.
No matter the specifics, there's a difference between being bummed about the way your job panned out and having had that role misrepresented during the interview process. If you're dealing with the latter, then you have every right to approach your manager or human-resources representative, and discuss options for ensuring that your job duties align better with what you were told you'd be doing.
3. Establish a time frame for improvement
Whether your new role subjects you to a jam-packed schedule or a workload that's not what you expected, one thing you need to remember is that when you start a job, there's a learning curve for everyone involved -- including your manager. Before you make any moves, sit down with your boss to discuss the problems you're having, and see if things improve after a reasonable period of time.
Also give yourself time to acclimate to your new schedule and surroundings. You may come to find that things perk up after, say, three additional months -- and if they don't, you'll be justified in taking your business elsewhere.
4. When all else fails, leave
We're often told that staying at a job for less than a year can make us look wishy-washy, negatively impacting our careers. But after a few more months of sticking things out, if you're still unhappy where you are, it may be time to call it a day and move on to something more suitable. It's not unreasonable to explain to your boss that the role you took was simply a bad fit, and as long as you give proper notice, you should be able to leave with no hard feelings or black mark on your record.
It's never fun to find yourself dissatisfied early on in a new job, but if it happens to you, don't panic. Take the time to figure out what's wrong and give things a chance to improve. With any luck, they'll do just that. And if not, take comfort in the fact that you're by no means stuck there forever.
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