Your dream job turned out to be a nightmare. Here’s how to salvage it.
You eagerly answered the job listing and left the interview loop excited and hopeful. When the job offer came through, you celebrated for days. At last you’d found the shiny, new position of your dreams.
Only now that you’ve started the gig, you feel duped. The job description you responded to and discussed during the interviews bears little resemblance to the work your boss actually wants you to do. You’re underutilized, bored and demoralized.
But don’t draft your letter of resignation just yet. There’s a lot you can do to rectify the situation. Try these five suggestions first.
Sit tight. Avoid doing anything rash or saying anything you might regret. If you just started the position, give it three or four weeks to improve. So many jobs get off to a painfully slow start with little on your plate beyond training materials, orientation meetings and menial tasks. Yes, a lackluster beginning might make you wonder if you’d be better off at home, yelling at CNN until your next interview rolls around. But there’s something to be said for wading into a new job slowly versus immediately diving into the deep end.
Have a heart-to-heart with your boss. If things haven’t changed after a month, schedule a chat with your manager. Bring a written list of the leading responsibilities you were hired to perform and talk through them with her. Be direct. For example: “In the interview we discussed me polling customers, collaborating with the web team and managing the pool of freelance designers. Are there opportunities to start on any of that now?” Get clear directives on relevant deadlines, tools to complete the work and teammates to consult.
Come prepared with suggestions. Sometimes internal shifts at a company alter a supervisor’s vision for their direct reports. If you suspect this has happened, ask for an updated job description so that you understand the big picture. If your boss’s new take on the position doesn’t exactly wow you, suggest a few tasks you’d enjoy doing that capitalize on your experience and could help the department. Hopefully, you can return to your desk with several attractive job duties in the mix.
Look beyond your department. Seek ways to broaden your experience at the company. Volunteer for interdepartment committees that appeal to you. Take advantage of corporate training and education programs. Attend meetings and events where you can hobnob with people and teams whose work interests you. And watch for opportunities for an internal transfer to a more enticing role.
Know when to cut your losses. If you’ve tried all these recommendations in earnest and still feel deflated a year into the gig, it’s time to wave the white flag. A job that isn’t right for you — and a manager who shows no interest in fixing the issue — isn’t likely to change after 12 months. Get to work polishing your résumé so you can move on.