Dear Matt: I recently took a job that sounded great, but now after six months I can't stand the job or company. I left a job I really liked for this and now I am regretting it. How can I avoid this and what can I do to get out of this mess?
Matt: The worst part about a new job is that it's new. You are out of your comfort zone, and there is a learning curve with a new company, co-workers, clients and boss. In many cases it can take up to a year to really get comfortable.
Karen Kodzik, a career management consultant and president of St. Paul-based Cultivating Careers (www.cultivatingcareers.com), says when considering - or accepting a new job - it's important to analyze what specifically sounds great about the opportunity. Is it greater potential, more money, closer commute, lower healthcare premiums, a better work environment? Will all of those or only some of those satisfy you? Will lower healthcare premiums make up for a job you may not really like? That's why it's hard to really know if a new job is a better job. Assess what specifically isn't right in your current situation. Is it the job duties, your boss, the culture? Were there signs of trouble when you took the job or did things change mid-stream? Then determine if those things are temporary or fixable.
"If it's not temporary or fixable, you may want to have a heart-to-heart with your manager to discuss an amicable exit strategy," says Kodzik, who offers a free 30-minute phone consultation to potential clients.
If the company is doing things illegally or unethically, get out as soon as you can. If you think your old position is available, swallow some pride and ask your previous employer about returning.
To avoid this in the future know exactly what you want and need in a job, company and boss. Then be sure to do your due diligence. Research the company, see what current and past employees are saying. Then craft very specific and detailed questions for the employer during the interview to determine how it matches your criteria for a good job. Make sure you get concrete answers with specifics. Once offered the job, ask to speak with some potential co-workers about the company, department, or anything else you may be wondering about.
Every job has its quirks, and not every new job is as good as it sounds. In fact, sometimes the best job is the one you have, especially in today's market.
Matt Krumrie is a freelance writer from Inver Grove Heights, and has nine years of experience reporting on the employment industry. This column will answer readers' questions. E-mail questions or subject ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.