Did the new job not turn out quite as expected?
No matter how thorough research you’ve done on the position and/or workplace you’ve applied to, and no matter how great that seems to be, there are potentially many surprises that can show up on the day you meet up to the first working day.
First, the job description can differ a lot from what you actually end up doing. And secondly, the working environment can be completely different from what was communicated during the job interview. And between these two there are also a wide range of other professional and social factors that can lead to disappointment, remorse and direct dissatisfaction.
You were simply in love with a person who never existed. When something you’ve had such high hope for turns out to be a mirage, it can almost feel like a loss—a great grief that can be hard to come by.
Thus, there may be something to draw from the five phases of the grief process, or the Kübler-Ross model, as it is called in the professional language. It can lose you through the process and help improve the situation, or help you get out of it stronger – on your way to a new and better job.
One might well say that denial is a symptom of your ego taking a defensive attitude to what is actually the situation. Your mind is trying to find a way to maintain your well-being, even if this is a situation where it may be futile.
In our context, it can unfold in that you do not fully accept all the signs pointing out that the working environment or tasks are not quite as expected. Although you may observe that the rhetoric between colleagues is eerily and crass, that the tasks are both tedious and outside of what you were anticipated, or that the boss sets unreasonably strict and rigid requirements for both the implementation and results of tasks.
Then you may choose to think that some people are having a bad day, or that the tasks will be more exciting and relevant eventually. You do not interpret the characters as an indicator of how the workday will be going forward, but rather as an exception to the rule.
And it’s all natural. When we humans make a choice, whether it’s what phone to buy, or what job to accept, we tend to convince ourselves in the aftermath that the choice was right. And that despite any evidence pointing in other directions.
When you accepted the new job, you probably had faith that you would enjoy your work, colleagues and work environment – and perhaps painted a slightly too idyllic picture of how things came to be. Then, of course, you’ll be disappointed when you find that reality doesn’t live up to expectations.
And when you’re disappointed, it’s not uncommon to react with anger. You get mad at yourself because you were so “stupid” to seek a new job when it was really ok where you were. Or just angry at the whole situation. Angry because you feel cheated, or because things “never” go the way you want.
But remember that anger can have many victims or goals. Here it is important not to let your mind go beyond your new colleagues or the people you associate with at home. Map why you feel angry and acknowledge that the situation allows an anger reaction – as long as you don’t let it go beyond others.
The negotiating stage begins when you realize that anger is not the solution to the problem. You desperately ask fate to make the situation disappear, or at least to get a little better. You get thoughts like “Can’t a more exciting task come sailing down my desk?” “Can’t the new boss just stay in a better mood?” or “Can’t I just get a lot of new ideas, so I feel like I’m mastering the job?”
It is also common to become more “docile” in the negotiating stage. For example, by becoming a little extra friendly to colleagues, giving that little extra in the implementation of the work, or taking on tasks that are strictly not your responsibility. This is because you’re tweeting about the hope that things will get a little better, if you just do your best to facilitate it.
It’s when you start to realize the reality that the stage of depression occurs. You realize this wasn’t what you intended. You feel powerless, and you mourn the situation you have ended up in. It is both normal and completely understandable to feel the grief in such a situation.
In the acceptance stage, you have digested everything that has happened and how the new job has unfolded. You started by denying the signals. Disappointments first to anger. You desperately hoped it would work out, and was depressed when you realized that the job isn’t as perfect as you thought.
Now you accept that the situation is as it is, lifts your head up and looks towards the future. And this is where the big question comes: Are you going to resign, or are you going to stay?
Before making a final decision, you must decide whether it is affordable dissatisfaction or a truly unsustainable situation. Check if you recognize yourself in the signs that you’re in the wrong job. Also take into account which back parts it entails to quit. Even if you’re sure you’re in the wrong job, it carries a risk of damaging existing job relationships, losing your required income, or weakening your resume. But if you feel that the state of things is so bad that you see no hope, then perhaps it is best to enter the years.
But if you’re the type to think that the grass is the greenest where you water it the most, you can choose to stay despite the bad start. But then it’s about folding up your sleeves. You have to make a real effort to address the issues so that you will at least thrive better in the long term. For there are some steps you can take to make your job more exciting and to be happier at work. If it’s your new colleagues who are the problem, there’s advice on how to deal with different types of people at work. You can also find tips on how to give constructive criticism to a colleague – without conflict. If it’s gone so far as to deal with specific conflicts with someone at work, you can get expert tips to deal with it here. Or maybe even worse, if you have a conflict with your new boss.