What To Do When That New Job Is Not What You Thought It Would Be

A new job may turn out to be different from what you expected
A new job may turn out to be different from what you expected
Image Credit: Stanislav Lvovsky

Ah, a new job! When we take a new job we’re doing so because a lot of promises have been made to us. We may have been told that we’ll have a fancy title and they’ve promised us a lot of pay. We’ve been told that we’re being placed in a position of power and that we’ll be able to use our manager skills to have a big influence on the direction of the company. However, when we show up, we discover that what we were told does not match reality. Should we stay or should we go?

The Mistakes That We Make

Let’s face it, nothing ever seems to turn out the way that we had mentally pictured that it would be. What seems to happen with new jobs is that it turns out that our new employer overstated a job’s importance or forgot to tell us about some of the challenges that came along with the job. When we find ourselves in this situation, we need to make a decision about whether or not we should stay or go. What we need to understand is that in today’s world, business is changing very quickly.

What you need to understand is that when you find yourself in this kind of situation, you need to realize that you are not alone. It turns out that roughly 40% of managers fail in their first 18 months at a new job. So what’s going on here? Managers who may have been disappointed by a previous job that they had will often not take the time that is required to find out enough about a new employer. This can lead to their expectations not being met in several different ways. This can include such things as the level of staffing that is available, just exactly what their scope of authority will be, how healthy the overall company is, what kinds of manager training they can get, and, perhaps, the size of the office that they will be given.

What should we be doing before accepting a new job? I think that it should go without saying that one of the most important things for us to do would be to attempt to talk with the person who had the job before us. If we can sit down with them and get them to talk honestly with us, we can get a good feel for just exactly how much control we’ll have and what many of the challenges that we’ll be facing will be. We’re also going to need to be careful about what other people in the company are doing. Most importantly, is anyone doing parts of our job as a part of their job? If so, it may be hard to get them to stop doing that. You are going to struggle to be successful if other people are stepping on your toes and doing your job.

How To Avoid Job Disappointment

If we want to avoid disappointment when we take over a new job we need to make sure that we don’t show up for work with mismatched expectations. One way that we can make sure that this does not happen to us is to make a request of our new employer to provide us with a detailed job description. The goal of this job description is to allow us to understand what this job looks like at this time. You can take things one step further and ask that your offer letter spell out important details such as just exactly who your supervisor will be. You will have to be careful with this however. You may join the firm working for the person that your offer letter specified only to find yourself being transferred to a different part of the company where you will find yourself working for someone else.

If this kind of change happens after you’ve already joined a firm, you may find yourself feeling as though you’ve been tricked. The problem with being transferred to work for a new boss may be that you feel as though you will have less visibility along with less professional growth than you had been counting on. One of the other issues that a lot of new job managers run into is that they did not do a good enough job of researching the company that they have just joined. What they quickly start to understand is that the firm’s true financial state only becomes revealed to them after they have started their new job. This can be an eye-opener and may have changed their mind about accepting the new job in the first place.

There can be a silver lining to all of this. Sometimes when we take a job that turns out to be different from what we were expecting, good things can happen. You need to understand that although you may join the company in the position that was promised to you, things can change very quickly. There is always a good chance that the person that you are supposed to report to may choose to leave the firm or may get promoted. When this occurs, the company may decide to promote you and place you in their position. If something like this happens, then no, the job is not turning out the way that you expected. However, it may be turning out better than you could have possibly expected.

What All Of This Means For You

Any time a manager changes jobs, the switch comes with a bit of a risk. The reason that we accepted the new job in the first place is because a series of promises were made to us. These may have included such items as pay, office size, span of control, and what we would be allowed to do. However, as we start this new job, we may discover that what was promised and what is being delivered are two different things.

The world of business is changing very quickly. There is a good chance that the job that you thought that you were signing up for may not be the job that you end up having. If this happens, you are going to have to decide if you will stay or if you will go. One of the reasons that we can find ourselves in a situation like this is because we did not do an adequate enough job of researching the firm before we took the job. If possible, before accepting any new job you’d like to talk to the person who had the job before you. In order to avoid situations like this, we can ask for a detailed job description and an offer letter that will tell us who we will be reporting to. The good news about all of this is that although a job may not match your expectations, there will be times that it may quickly transform itself into an even better job than you were expecting.

Switching jobs is a tricky task for any manager to do correctly. We need to understand that if we don’t do it correctly, then we may end up being disappointed when we start our new job and start to attempt to do some team building. Taking the time to research the new job and making sure that we know what we are getting ourselves into is the key to making a successful transition to a new job. Do your homework and make sure that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How long do you think that you should stay in a job if it is not what you were originally expecting?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Let’s face it. A big part of the job of being an effective manager is the art of conversation. During an average day, we end up talking with a lot of different people about a lot of different things. It would be fair to say that our conversations have a lot to do with our ability to get things done. However, then there are THOSE conversations. You know the ones that I’m talking about. Dead-end conversations.

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