You’ve finally landed the job of your dreams, only to realize it isn’t meant for you.
The culture seems off, leadership is distant, and co-workers disengaged.
What should you do?
First of all, realize you’re hardly alone. Harvard Business Review says in So You Want to Quit Your Brand-New Job that 30% of 2022 hires are leaving their jobs in the first 90 days. The Guardian reports even more employees (70%) are shocked enough at the new workplace culture that they’re considering whether to stay.
No matter the situation, here’s how to strategically figure out your next steps:
Analyze what you could gain by staying in the new job.
Perhaps you negotiated desirable benefits or compensation that make you feel you should ride it out, such as:
- A salary bump that makes other areas of your life easier (like the ability to afford quality child care or ease worry over rising inflation).
- A new job title that means you’ll have more leverage as you rise up the career ladder in future roles.
- New, in-demand skills you’ll earn in training, or additional responsibilities that will help make you even more valuable in your field.
- Career prestige from working at a name-brand company.
These positives may outweigh any other part of the decision.
The corporate culture and team atmosphere may not be a fit, but if you can maintain your position long enough to reap long-term rewards, the discomfort may be a small price to pay. The point is to think strategically; will you be GLAD you stuck it out? Can you make an agreement with yourself that you’ll stay for a certain amount of time?
Decide if a quick exit will save your reputation or sanity.
Employ Inc.’s 2022 Job Seeker Nation Report reveals that 65% of all workers believe you can get a good idea of the company culture in less than a month.
In other words, pay attention to your intuition.
Maybe you can’t bear to deal with the new job for even another WEEK, due to:
- Promises made to you that are now broken, despite your best effort to carefully negotiate aspects such as remote work, specific benefits, or compensation.
- An atmosphere so toxic that you’re concerned for your mental health.
- Signals from past or current colleagues, such as comments about how they can’t believe you took the job.
- Practices that would land in the Ask A Manager column, where you’ll see questions on crazy workplaces.
Any of these situations would show your fears are warranted.
If you can’t decide what to do, lean on past mentors or colleagues to discuss what’s going on and whether it makes sense to throw in the towel.
If there’s still a strong market for your skills (meaning that recruiters and employers are seeking you out), it could make sense to leap now, rather than waiting for things to get worse.
Prepare for an eventual (or immediate) job search.
Even if you’re planning to stick it out for a while, always, always, ALWAYS be on the lookout for your next opportunity!
First, identify employers you admire using parameters such as industry, products, or company size. Then, assess their company culture (which you can look up on Glassdoor).
Reach out to insiders and make connections, follow them on social media, read company news, and check out their mission statement to get an idea of their values.
Next, brush up your resume and LinkedIn profile with data-driven achievements and branding statements, as described in What Should Your Resume Look Like in 2022? Give compelling details on how you add value as a strong leader in past positions, with examples directly tied to the position you’re pursuing.
If you’re leaving your new job immediately, you may be able to omit it from your resume or LinkedIn for a few months, but you’ll need to prepare a strategy for discussing this at the interview.
Develop and refine a short, powerful statement that outlines your value proposition to ideal employers. Use it as your elevator pitch and incorporate it into your cover letter.
Re-activate your network – and relaunch your search.
Maybe you didn’t reach out to others during your previous job search. However, it’s never too late to build a strong network.
Notify your personal and professional contacts that you’re on the move and show gratitude for leads or information they share with you.
Spend time getting to know THEIR job status and find out how you can repay them by staying in touch, writing a recommendation, or even assisting them in their own search efforts.
Consider contacting employers from your previous job hunt; they may have hired a candidate who didn’t work out. Respectfully let them know you’re back on the market and stay on their radar. Do the same with any recruiters you’ve worked with in the past.
If you’re looking at job postings, decide if the role and employer match your desired criteria and workplace fit (you don’t want to get burned twice; see Fast Company’s How to Identify a Toxic Culture Before Accepting a Job Offer). Job postings can sometimes signal unrealistic expectations, so read between the lines.
Your job search will be considerably faster if you use a variety of methods to find ideal positions, including discussions with recruiters, online job postings, and job leads from your network, coupled with interviewing skills that strike the right impression with employers.
To summarize, you must quickly review your options with a clear head if you’ve found yourself in a less-than-ideal position. Carefully consider what’s MOST important to you and how each option fits your long-term career plan.
It can make sense to stay for a while if the new role benefits you, or simply jump ship and restart a fresh, strategically planned job search.
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