wrong job cartoonThe hangover of your leaving party has just about waned and you have joined your new company.

The first few days (perhaps weeks) were taken up by the induction programme and generally finding your way around the business (and the building). You’re now at the stage where you are starting to develop a routine and your feet are under the desk so to speak.

All should be well, however in the back of your mind something is telling you that all is not as it should be … You’re putting this slight feeling of unease down to new-starter’s jitters and fear of the unknown, but you’re slowly coming to the realisation that you might have made a mistake joining this business.

Arghh…! What do you do now?

Deep breath in, stiff drink, a gruelling hour in the gym or anything that works for you in order to take a step back and take stock.

Thankfully, this situation does not happen often but something has clearly gone wrong somewhere. It is now a matter of working out what to do. Grin and bear it? Resign on the spot? Start applying for jobs on the quiet?

In my experience it is worth doing the following, not necessarily in this order:

1. Let’s determine what it is that is not quite right. It could be the job content, your boss or your relationship with your boss, your colleagues or the general culture of the business.

2. Whatever it is, can it be fixed? Is it something that you can learn to live with? Or has the rot set in and there is only one option – leave.

3. However uncomfortable this might be, you have to talk to your boss. You’re both adults (assuming no paper girls or boys are reading this article) and you need to discuss this in the most neutral and objective manner possible. After all, your boss does not want a disgruntled employee, does not want to invest time, money and effort in fully inducting, integrating and perhaps training a person who might leave within their first 12 months. So, have the conversation, making certain to stick with the facts, no emotion. This is as much your fault as anyone else’s.

4. After this conversation it is decision time, if your boss can change things so as to accommodate you then make certain that you agree timescales and measures / review times. You’d want to avoid your boss paying you lip service, trying to find a quick replacement (maybe the 2nd candidate on the short list?) and to turf you out just before the end of your probation period …

5. You’ll find that if genuine changes have been made and you feel more comfortable in staying with the business, your relationship with your boss will be far stronger than if none of this had happened. After all, you have faced adversity together and have found a solution to the problem. Together.

6. However, if it transpires that you have made a mistake, didn’t do your research properly or indeed you were sold a pup, then leaving would be the only option.

7. The question then is – when? Of course, if this all happens within the first few weeks of joining the new business then you have the option to phone your old company to see whether you can have your old job back (another good reason to always leave on good terms…!). If that door is closed, then you’ll have to make a decision. If you leave immediately, without having a job to go to then you will be in a weaker negotiation position with any new opportunity then if you were still working. However, when explaining that you made a mistake, it is more likely that you are believed than the person who stayed only 12 months in a job because they found that they made a mistake. Really? It took you 12 months to find that out and do something about? If you leave immediately, the advantage you have is that you can make finding the next opportunity your full time job.

8. If you do decide to stay whilst looking for the next opportunity, then step up a gear and deliver your very best work whilst at this business. When you depart, you want to be regarded as a good leaver who, despite recognising that the business was not right for them, still delivered good work.

9. Finally, don’t beat yourself up, we all make mistakes. Just make sure to learn from it and be extra careful in your subsequent career moves…and don’t do it again!

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