It sucks, doesn’t it? You started your new job with off-the-chart expectations, only to find that it was one huge mistake. Maybe the work is not what you expected, or you don’t get along with the boss, or you just hate the company culture.
Whatever the cause of your woes may be, you have a problem.
Fortunately, it’s a surmountable problem – one that you may be able to solve without even quitting.
Here is some advice to help you turn your terrible new job around:
1. Lower Your Expectations
No job is perfect. Research shows that hiring processes are about 60 percent reliable, which suggests that perfect matches between new hires and jobs are rare. Most new hires will need a little time to get adjusted and up to speed, so it’s perfectly normal to feel a bit uncomfortable in your new role.
This shouldn’t be a surprise: Interview processes are built on deception, with candidates and employers putting their highly specialized “interview faces” on. The result: Neither party gets a realistic view of the other.
That’s why one of the best ways to deal with the new job blues is to come back down to earth, accept reality, and stop chasing the illusory dream job that emerged during the interview process.
2. Boost Your Confidence With a Quick Win
Research shows that one of the best ways to build confidence in a new job is to score a quick win.
Look around: Is there a problem or situation in your team or department that needs rectifying? Could you be the one to rectify it? If you can’t find one on your own, considering asking your boss for their input.
Chances are, if you pull off a win like this, you’ll feel you’ve made a genuine contribution to your team. As a result, you’ll feel more engaged and more confident at work.
A gentle word of warning here: Don’t take on more than you can handle. Give yourself a challenge that only requires a few nights of overtime – not a few months of 60-hour weeks.
3. Socialize and Network
When things are not going well in a new job, you may feel like retreating into your shell. However, the best thing to do is the exact opposite: Research shows that people who build relationships with coworkers quickly are more satisfied (and productive) at work.
If you are not making friends easily in your new job, here are a few tips to help you build some better relationships:
- Ask your boss for a buddy or mentor.
- Introduce yourself to everyone, or get your boss to introduce you.
- Get involved in water cooler chats.
- Join the team for post-workday drinks.
- Participate in team sports and games with your colleagues.
- Carpool with employees who live near you.
- Ask colleagues for tips and hints about your new job/office/company.
- Offer advice when you can.
4. Get to Know Your Boss
Poor relationships with bosses are one of the main reasons that employees leave their jobs. If your relationship with your new boss leaves a lot to be desired, there are a few things you can do to improve the situation. Talk to your coworkers, especially those who have good relationships with the boss, and ask them for their advice.
If none of these interventions make you feel any better about your job and/or the organization, then it may be that this job is simply not right for you. You may have to accept that you made a mistake in taking the job, and you may want to consider moving on.
But, hey, look on the bright side: You’ll have gained some new self-knowledge that will help you avoid similar mistakes in the future.