6 Things to Do if Your New Job Sucks

Written by Melissa Anzman mistakes with eraser

Inevitably, once a week I get a call about someone freaking out over their new job convinced they made a mistake. They are usually in panic mode – ready to restart their search (again).

We’ve all been there, right? Maybe because we were blinded by the money or potential or cool-factor of a new job, instead of evaluating the “right things” during an interview, or perhaps it’s because our boss is a completely different person than he appeared to be. Regardless, jumping ship when you’re just getting started isn’t the best option.

6 Things to Do When Your New Job Sucks

1. If your health and mental well-being has been comprised…

Don’t try and make the situation better. Don’t worry about completing the steps below, listen to your body and make the best decision for you, health-wise. Please. I know you don’t want to start looking again or feel like you are quitting too soon, but no job is worth being physically ill for, capice?

2. It sucks because…

You have a list of reasons why your new job is awful, right? Start by digging deep about why is bothering you the most.

Usually when your new job sucks out of the gate, it’s because you didn’t do the hard work before finding a new job – or you didn’t know you needed to do the work. Essentially, you are going to continue to be unhappy at work if you don’t understand what you need from work to keep you motivated and performing.

There are usually two things, a Balance Scale that will keep you in check when things get annoying – so decide what needs to be on your scale. Reflect back on your balance scale a bit, and determine if you are getting enough of what drives you or if this is the missing component.

3. You had your rose-colored classes on

Transition and change is difficult – for everyone. When you bundle your big transition into a new job with expectations of what kind of environment or work opportunity you are walking into, you have invited stress into your life. And don’t forget that you are going to be the new girl. Having to make new friends, find new people to have lunch with, figuring out the dress attire, and arrival expectations, and so on.

Your first day, or week, or month, is not going to be great. It’s probably not even going to be good. Know that going in; expect that before you start.

4. Learning a new job takes time

We are taught in school to always be the best; to deliver above everyone else. But when we start a new job, while we have the skillsets, we are still very new and green to the position and company.

It can feel a lot like Bambi trying to walk for the first time. And that’s uncomfortable – especially as you were probably a high-performer in your last role.

When I took Jenny’s course Make Sh*t Happen, she helped me see the other side of that conversation. When you start something new, you are not going to be awesome at it. It takes time to build up the information you need, the way to get things done, the people you need to work with.

Being in a new job takes time to navigate. It’s not going to be the same job or company or boss as your last job – good, bad and ugly.

5. Set a skills learned goal

When I have a client who is a job-commitment phobe like I am, I have them set very specific goals around what they will be “using” their current job for. In other words, they have to gain certain skills that excited them about that role when they accepted it, before even considering moving on.

Not only does this approach help shift your focus away from the parts of your new job that you aren’t liking, but it also ensures that you are building your resume and skills toolkit for your next role. If you’re still not convinced, try and looking at it from this angle: if you are going to “have” to be in a crappy job, you may as well as improve yourself for your next job.

6. Commit to something small and then build on it

I am going to be blunt here {you have been forewarned}: leaving your new job before six months isn’t good for you or your career path in general. I’m not saying you will never get a job again or you will forever be seen as jumper, which isn’t a bad thing but a fear people have anyway; but you are left with limited options.

You can either include the position in your resume and then have a darn good explanation as to why you peaced out after only three months, or you leave it off your resume and figure out how you are going to explain a time-gap.

See, getting past six months is really the sweet spot. So if at all possible, try and stay and learn for six months. Commit to a date or a project one month out and then start counting down. Break up the time in smaller chunks to help you make it to your next mini-milestone. And while you’re doing it, build your own portfolio of goodies.

It’s extremely demotivating to think your new job sucks. I know, I’ve been there too. But it will either get better, which happens for most people, or you will have increased your marketability for your next job by sticking it out just a tiny bit longer.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below: How have you worked through new job letdown? 

melissa anzman

About Melissa

Melissa Anzman is the creator of Launch Your Job  where she equips ambitious leaders with practical ways to grow their career. She is the author of two books: How to Land a Job and Stop Hating Your Job. Follow her @MelissaAnzman.