I didn’t sign up for this!
So, you signed the paperwork saying farewell to your old job and hello to the new. It’s only been a month and you’re still finding your feet – yet already, something is feeling not quite right. A little ‘off’. Three months on and you’re caught in a downward spiral, lamenting the day you ever cast eyes on the job ad that led you to where you now sit.
Hands up if you’ve ever had the ‘I didn’t sign up for this!’ employment experience? I believe most of us have.
Whether the mismatch relates to the role itself, the personality you thought your manager had based on interview and pre-employment discussions, or how your values and ways of working align with those of the organisation, it can be a real kick in the teeth when the moment finally dawns on you – ‘this isn’t for me’.
And yet here you are, and most likely you’ll have to soldier on at least for a defined period of time (until you find a new job, until an acceptable period of time has passed to avoid looking like a job hopper, until your side hustle is off the ground, until maternity leave time arrives, or whatever other ‘until’ applies to your personal circumstances).
There have been times when my gut whispered to me ‘beware’ from the outset but for one reason or another I forged ahead, only to ask myself ‘why, oh why?’ sooner or later (likely sooner). Often what starts badly is an indicator of things to come, for example, a chaotic hiring process and poor communication speaks volumes about how an organisation is run and doesn’t work well for my personality type.
There have been times when I felt I wasn’t a good fit, usually for the organisation not the role, and I’ve been okay with that. Because I took a good look around me and frankly, I didn’t want to fit in!
And there have been times when I have been left feeling undermined and gaslit, isolated and anxious, full of self-doubt and unsure whether I was any good at my job.
All of the above said, often something good comes from a bad situation, whether it be a chance encounter that opened a new door, the forming of an unlikely but lasting friendship, or even just a clearer understanding of what is important to you career-wise thus enabling your next move to be a better one.
If change is on the horizon and you’re interested in finding out more, contact me for coaching to help you:
survive the now
plan your job hunt effectively
ace your interviews
create a plan to hit the ground running once you are in the door
Top tips for surviving the defined period you have decided you will stay (and it is important to set yourself a realistic end date):
Identify professional development opportunities and any budget up for grabs. Use this time to increase your skills and make yourself a more attractive candidate for your next employer.
Make sure you continue to deliver, if only for the sake of your resume/CV. When the time comes to update it, you’ll need key achievements (at least five) and not just a list of tasks you completed as part of your job description.
Set impermeable boundaries around your time. If you really aren’t happy in a role, allowing it to encroach on your ‘you-time’ will only make you feel more bitter and resentful.
Cultivate at least two referee-worthy relationships and maintain these even after your departure.
Find gratitude in the positives. Oh, I know this is a toughie! Seek out the golden lining, for it is there somewhere, often disguised as a trade-off. For example, perhaps the work is mundane and you don’t relate to your colleagues, but the flexible working policy enables you to spend more time with your little one?
Keep it nice!