When you quickly realize a new job isn’t your cup of tea.
Q: A few months ago I took a new job, shortly after my previous employer suddenly laid me off. I was grateful to be employed again so quickly — but I quickly realized this new job wasn’t for me.
I work in an office separate from most of my co-workers, the managers seem unhappy with their situations, the company is experiencing high turnover, and the work doesn’t excite me. While some of these challenges were described to me when I took the job, many were not.
Given how I was treated at my last company, I didn’t think I’d ever feel allegiance to an employer again. But I’m realizing that I’d feel genuinely bad leaving a company that gave me a chance when I was in a tough situation. It would seem like I was using them as a place holder until I found a better opportunity, and that’s not the kind of employee I want to be.
I believe upper management wants to keep me and cares about my well-being, but it’s hard to pinpoint solutions to the problems I’m facing. The job market is very good right now and I could probably find work elsewhere. Is it acceptable to consider leaving so soon? — Lynn
A: It’s certainly acceptable to consider leaving. Sometimes things don’t work out, and there’s seldom a good reason to stay in a job you don’t like for any longer than necessary. Still, you might want to take your time before you jump — not out of loyalty, but out of selfishness.
First, set aside any feelings of guilt about possibly quitting. Ultimately, employers have to make bottom-line decisions, as you recently learned yourself. And employees have to do the same.
If this job isn’t good for you, and isn’t even quite what you were led to believe it would be, you have every right to move on without feeling bad about it. Be professional and respectful, and give adequate notice, but do what’s best for you.
Sure, it’s possible your new bosses will be irritated with you — but they should want employees who want to work for them, and are not just sticking around to avoid making anybody feel bad. (You didn’t ask about this, but having one short stint on your résumé isn’t a big deal in the long run.)
That said, I think you should take your time. That’s because you need to make sure that you shift from focusing on the job you’re trying to leave to focusing on the job you want. You were forced to make a quick a decision after that layoff, but there’s no need to rush now. Take advantage of that luxury and really explore what’s available.
It’s even possible that this job search will help you figure out how to improve your current situation and work with management to refine the job you have.
Either way, you should take the time to feel confident that your next move really is a step forward.
Surviving an acquisition
Q: The tech startup I worked for was acquired by another company, and the new bosses decided it would be a brilliant idea to fire 60 percent of our team, including many who were here from the start. This made things so miserable that most of the others have quit, leaving me and one other person to handle everything. It has been this way for several months.
I gathered my evidence and potential solutions, and presented it to my manager, my manager’s manager, and the chief executive. But everyone continues to throw their hands up, saying they don’t know what to do because of all the uncertainty. And to be fair, there is a lot of uncertainty. Please help. — New York
A: Sometimes we get caught up in solving day-to-day problems, devising short-term strategies to address our immediate circumstances. I think you might want to try to get a better sense of the big picture here.
Why, exactly, did your new company acquire the startup in the first place? It sure doesn’t sound like the goal was to acquire employee talent. It doesn’t even sound like there’s much of a plan to integrate your old firm at all — maybe the point was just to acquire, say, intellectual property?
That’s speculation, of course. But the other big-picture matter to consider is whether your new employer has a coherent plan for the business in general — an “uncertain” chief executive doesn’t sound particularly promising.
It may be smart to focus on your employer’s future prospects. Instead of thinking about what you wish would happen, or even what should happen, think about what seems most likelyto happen — and how, or if, you would fit in.
Maybe you’ll have a better sense of the role you could angle for in this new job — even if that means abandoning all vestiges of your old one. Or maybe this process will help clarify whether your colleagues who quit were onto something.