What do you do when that shiny new job doesn’t fit?

When it’s time for a career transition, you don’t want just any job. You want something you’ll look forward to every morning. Something where you will flourish as a leader in an organization doing work you feel is important.

Let’s say you land just such a job. Huzzahs all around! But then about a month in, you start to get this sinking feeling that it’s not the wonderful fit that you were sure it would be. Clearly, your new employer also expected it to work, or you would not have been hired. But here you are, dreading the start to each new work day.

You worked hard to get this job. The employer and recruiter were diligent to follow expert hiring practices. So what happened? Maybe it has to do with the personalities involved. Maybe it has to do with a corporate culture mismatch. Maybe the job isn’t really how the employer presented it. Maybe it is simply a painful piece of learning about yourself. Regardless, you might have a bad job fit on your hands.

No matter the reasons, a bad job fit can be devastating. Learn the steps you should take to manage your career path and find the best fit.

Okay, so it’s a bad job fit. What now?

Give it some time

Don’t expect to feel at home in your new environment right away. You won’t be fully trained overnight. Nor can you expect to gel with your new colleagues that fast. Stick it out for six months; at least a year is better, says Kathryn Vasel writing for CNN Business.

Identify the problem

What exactly about the job feels off? Write it out. This understanding will help you not only in the short term to improve your situation, but also in the future to avoid a repeat of a bad job fit.

Talk to yourself and maybe even the higher-ups

To the extent that you can change your own perspective and way of working toward objectives, do so. If you need to, prepare to speak with your boss about it, advises Vasel. Hiring and onboarding is expensive, and employers know that keeping a team member engaged pays off on both sides.

Just be sure to frame what you say so that it doesn’t sound like complaining. Vasel quotes executive and career coach Anna Bray: “Have that conversation in a solutions-oriented way. Be thoughtful about it and point to specifics.”

Quit if you must

As calamitous as that feels, there are worse things. Think about it. “There’s no way you’ll get to your actual dream job if you keep going around in circles at one that’s sucking the life out of you,” writes Megan Shepherd for CNBC.

If you quit, Shepherd counsels, remember that you don’t owe an immediate explanation to anyone. Determine your own narrative. You’ve made a tough decision. Take some time to process it before you decide what to say to whom, when.

What do we mean, process it?

First, it’s a loss – loss of a dream. It’s more than okay to grieve – it’s healthy.

Second, it’s a tad traumatic to leave a job prematurely, especially with none to go to. Expect that to impact you.

Third, maintain confidence. “It doesn’t have to mean anything about who you are as a person, or your abilities as a professional,” Shepherd reminds us.

Stay in the game

After you regroup, work your network. Get some meetings on your calendar with people whose perspective you trust. Ask their thoughts on your situation and let them know you are open to introductions.

Clarify your path

An experience of a bad job fit can precipitate self-examination, and that’s just fine. Return to the list you made of why the placement didn’t turn out like you thought it would. What difference will that knowledge make as you search for your next steps? A career coach can be a valuable resource to help you recalibrate, if need be.

Let us help you find a better fit

Our goal as an executive recruiting firm is to do all we can to maximize candidates and employers fitting like the proverbial glove. When you want to give yourself the best possible chance at your dream job, let us know. We look forward to getting to know you and placing you with a solid company where you can flourish.

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