When the new job is a letdown

Yikes! Your new job seemed like a great fit...but now you can't wait to get out. Here’s what to do when you want to break up with your brand-new job.

When the new job is a letdown

What to do when that new job turns out to be the wrong job.

You wrote the most awesome resume, you nailed the interviews, and landed a job that seemed like it was tailor-made for you. Now you're a few months in and it hasn't turned out to be what you thought it was going to be. What went wrong?

Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons that a job might feel like a total letdown: your job doesn’t match the job description, you’re bored, your boss is intimidating, you constantly have to work late, your commute takes forever, or, worst case scenario, all of the above.

If you’re panicking because your dream job seems to be a total nightmare, you're not alone. A recent Monster survey found that 32% of people ages 18 to 24 have had two jobs where they don’t think they were a good fit for the role or the company. You may think that this gig isn't for you, but it can be tricky to decide if quitting is the right decision. After all, it takes time to get used to a new job. However, if you come to the conclusion that it’s truly not for you, how do you put in your two weeks’ notice when you’re just a few weeks or months into the gig? Monster spoke to career experts to get their take.

TBH, give it a minute

Reflect on why you want to quit your job. It can take time to adjust and feel comfortable when you start something new, especially when you're moving up a level in the office hierarchy, and that can be frustrating. You might feel like you’ll never be successful, which is scary and also not true.

“I think many people get disenfranchised pretty quickly in their jobs, often because they simply aren't good at them yet. There's a learning curve—it takes a while to figure out how to do really well in a job,” says Sean Johnson, an assistant professor at Northwestern University. “This idea that you feel passionate about your work when you arrive doesn't map to my experience or the experience of a lot of people I know. The passion often comes from mastering your craft, not before.”

Try to stick it out until you've had time to get good at the job. “If you still hate it, you can move on. But too many people flit from thing to thing and never dig into becoming really good at anything,” he says.

See if it's salvageable

It's tempting to give your notice without actually bringing up your concerns. But you don’t want to quit a job that could be great because you avoided advocating for what you need. Sure, you might not be able to change some things, like the length of your commute, but there are other things that are negotiable.

“Start by talking with your boss, and see how he or she responds,” says Christopher Lee, founder of the San Diego–based career-consulting company Purpose Redeemed. “If it appears that your manager doesn't care about your concerns, start looking elsewhere.”

If the problem is late nights at the office, maybe you can negotiate a flexible schedule that allows you to start earlier and leave in time to have a personal life. If it’s that the job doesn’t seem to match the job description, see if you can shift some of your day-to-day responsibilities. If your co-workers seem standoffish, try to make just one work friend or make the first move in getting to know your colleagues. There may be ways to make it a good fit for a while, or even just until you’ve got your next job lined up.

Think about the pros and cons

When the Sunday Scaries last all week and you're miserable from 9 to 5 or 9 to whenever-you-can-finally-leave-the-office, it’s hard not to get down on yourself. You might wonder how you missed the red flags, but blaming yourself isn’t going to make things better.

“First, be kind to yourself,” says Emily Frank, founder of the Denver-based career-coaching firm Career Catalyst. “I hear a lot of people in this situation talking about having poor judgment and making bad decisions, but the truth is that we can’t actually know what something is like until we experience it.” It’s especially difficult to make a good prediction because some managers don’t describe the job clearly throughout the hiring process, she says.

Try to find the silver lining by viewing it as a learning opportunity. “When you find that you don’t like something, even if it’s been a cherished dream, it’s time for introspection,” says Frank. “You will probably find that some aspects of the job are still appealing to you and that there are some skills you have enjoyed learning, which is important because it will inform what’s next.”

Evaluate your next job carefully 

“Remember the interview isn’t only about the organization getting to know you, it’s also about you getting to know them,” says Frank. It can be helpful to ask telling questions like: What do you like most and least about your job and the company? How would you describe the office culture? What would make someone successful in this role? Get to the interview a few minutes early to observe how co-workers interact and how your would-be manager treats the people she works with—do people seem happy or like they just want to hide under their desk and cry?

Do your due diligence before and after the interview. Find some current or former employees in your social network and ask them to share their experience of working at the company. Ask them about your intended role, team, and manager. People are more likely to be candid when they don’t work at the company anymore or when the feedback is anonymous, so take advantage of online reviews such as Monster’s company profiles.

“We all have to do some work things that we don’t madly love, but life is too short to fill your days with stuff that only brings you down,” says Frank. “Instead, turn your attention to figuring out what actually will bring you satisfaction and the happiness you deserve. It’s way more productive and fun than the alternative.”

Be strong in your decision

After you've assessed the current situation and have decided that you need to make a change, commit to that decision and carry it through to the finish line of a new offer. Still nervous about making a move? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can sign up for career advice and job search tips that can teach you the best ways to assess company culture, negotiate your job offer, and find the right fit. Why suffer through an unbearable situation when you can take control and move to something more appropriate?