Published July 19, 2013
They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and the adage also applies to cubicle space.
According to a recent Glassdoor survey, six in 10 employees say they’ve found aspects of a new job different than the expectations set during the interview.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unhappy in a new job, experts recommend taking steps immediately to find the root cause of the disappointment to remedy the problem.
The job may have different employee morale, responsibilities, hours, corporate culture or career projections than what was detailed in the hiring processes, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to start the job search again.
“Everyone has a little bit of mismatched expectations—the role they were told they were going to perform isn’t the reality,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at TheLadders. “Sometimes the role isn’t exactly figured or the project wasn’t as big as people thought.”
If you sitting in your new desk and are unhappy with your role, experts suggest the following tips on how to fix your less-than-ideal job:
Know Why You Accepted the Offer
“If you’re in a scenario where you feel like you need to get something, then take the job but limit the number of surprises,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder.com. “There’s always something that could be better at every company.”
Being adaptable to the situation is important, especially when the position is less than perfect. You can still learn from a bad environment and obtain skills that are transferable to later in your career.
“Try to turn it into something closer to your ideal and take control over your fate,” says Haefner. “This will help when looking for that next opportunity.”
Identify the Differences
“Reread your offer letter or contract to verify that it differs from your expectations,” says Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glassdoor.
“This is your best line of defense for job duties that may be different.” Even though there are situations where hiring managers verbally described aspects of position that aren’t outlined in the letter, listing the differences will help clarify the issue.
As you go through this process, decide whether you can adjust to these changes. “If you can, focus on your job but do what you can to improve the situation internally,” says Dobroski.
Make an Effort to Fix The Situation
Once you identify the problem, it’s now time to try and fix it and give the new position time to evolve.
“It’s really important to have done all of this because you joined this company for a reason,” he adds. “You should always do your best to work it out.”
Work to boost employee morale. Often times, worker morale may be different than your expectations. “One way to fix this is to work with HR to help raise morale, organize an office party or volunteering opportunities to bring the company together,” says Dobroski . These events are generally inexpensive and can help strengthen relationships within a team.
Talk to your boss. “Have a conversation with your boss as soon as you think it’s important,” says Haefner, and allow for an explanation. “If you feel that things are so different than you were told, then you need to give that manager a chance to fix it.”
Whether it’s the hours, responsibilities or role that’s not what you expected, Augustine recommends understanding what your boss expects. “Don’t make assumptions,” she says.
Be sure to remain tactful and professional during these discussions. “Work with them on how you can remedy the problem,” says Dobroski. “If the boss has a very bad attitude, take it from the perspective on how you work best and ask your boss how they work best.” Asking for more independent projects and responsibilities can also help improve your workplace happiness.
“If you believe your boss is incompetent and will hold you back but you’ve tried to communicate and this isn’t working, it may be time to look for something else internally or externally,” says Dobroski.
Look for internal opportunities. “It could be just that department and it’s always worthwhile to see if there’s a better fit somewhere else in the company,” says Haefner. Always keep your options open in your current company since finding new opportunities takes time.
Your colleagues will be curious why you want to switch so soon after starting, but you can still network and start to build the relationships. “Transferring is hard but you can get exposure and try to turn that into a transfer.”
Look for a new job. “Consider the first 90 days of any new job the extension of the interview period,” says Augustine. The first few months tend to be the ramp up period when you’re acclimating to the new position. “You can’t assume the job is like that in the long run. Give it time to see where it’s leading.”
If you’ve done all your due diligence and worked to repair the situation, start a fresh job search after six months. Review your financial situation before deciding whether to quit.
“The bonus is that at least you’re getting a paycheck while you’re searching,” says Augustine. Before restarting your search, clarify your goals so that you can avoid these problems in the future. “It’s being proactive and can save you some time and potential stress in the future.”
Be clear about your priorities and what you want in a new job, says Augustine. If you do decide to jump ship, it may be easier to land a new position while you’re still employed. Find the right opportunity so that you’re not just getting out of a bad situation.
Quitting without another offer is a personal choice, says Haefner. Know your own risk profile and take the time to think about what makes sense for you. “You don’t want to impulsively quit your job,” she adds.