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I've been here for two weeks and hate it – should I quit?

Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder Writer

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Wine, opera, soccer -- beloved by some and detested by others. Their admirers often tell skeptics, "Give it some time. You have to acquire a taste for it." Often their advice proves true and the naysayers grow to appreciate the nuances of a good wine, the passion of a tragic opera, or the strategy of a soccer game.

Sometimes ... but not always. Time doesn't always change someone's mind. You can find sports fans who would rather watch a bowling tournament on TV than attend a soccer match. You can drink a case of wine and still not understand why anyone would rather sip fermented grape juice than chug a cheap beer. Matters of taste have no set rules.

But what do you do when you feel like you're at the wrong job? You looked at job postings, polished your résumé, researched the company, went on the interview, imagined yourself starting fresh at a new job. Then two weeks later you find yourself wishing you had stayed where you were. Is it just a case of settling into a new position or is it a sign that you should get out before you waste too much time in a job you hate?

What did you expect?

When you start a new job, you probably bring some expectations with you. Maybe you think you'll have more freedom, a better boss or less annoying co-workers. Ask yourself if you're truly unhappy or if your expectations were too lofty before you hand in your resignation letter.

Steve Langerud, workplace consultant and director of professional opportunities at DePauw University, advises unhappy employees to identify where the problem lies.

"Be clear about what you hate and why. It is a person, place, thing or idea? Being vague about 'hating your job' does not help you either change your current situation or find a better one," Langerud says. If possible, speak with a trusted colleague to find out if the cause is particular to you or affects others. "Are you the only one who feels this way about the workplace?"

If no one else shared your frustrations or disappointment, Langerud thinks you should consider the possibility that you're not in the appropriate environment and leaving is the right solution.

"It is amazing how many people stay in bad situations," he says.

Stay just a little bit longer

Amy Brownstein, founder and president of Brownstein Public Relations, expects more than two weeks from her new employees. In her experience, many workers aren't prepared for the demands of working in public relations and consequently want to leave prematurely.

"When I hire people I tell them they have to stick it out for a month and that they think they are going to want to quit every day for two weeks because the job or any job where you have real responsibility and accountability has consequences if you make a mistake," Brownstein explains. She also warns them that the job can be overwhelming, but eventually you get used to the onslaught of demands coming your way.

"Especially if it's your first job, how are you expected to not be scared? The key is to stay scared, move through the fear, do what you are asked to do, don't analyze it too much, let it sink in and grow slowly," she recommends. "If you keep quitting your jobs, all you will have are lots of little assignments on the résumé and nothing of any value. It simply means you tried to attack and chip at the tip of the iceberg and failed to see the foundation and unmovable strength that lay beneath."

What is your game plan?

Whether or not you should stay or leave your new job might not come down to personal satisfaction. Practical matters, such as finding another job and affording food, dictate whether or not resigning is an option.

Emilie Schaum, the director of human resources at marketing agency Lippe Taylor, advises you to ask yourself three questions so you don't end up in a worse situation.

1. "Can I afford to quit?"

"Do you have the financial resources to cover your living expenses if it takes a little longer to find your next position and without further sacrificing your professional happiness?" she asks. "While there is definitely a hiring upswing in certain market sectors ... a new opportunity may depend on your level of experience and asking salary. Are you willing to freelance until you find your next full time position and are freelance opportunities available?"

2. "Did I do the right research?"

"If you did all your interview homework before you accepted your current employer's offer -- e.g., asked probing questions during the interview, examined the website, and did some fact finding by talking to [former or current employees] -- what changed? You need to really understand this in order to make sure you do not find yourself in the same situation again," she cautions.

3. "Are things as bad as they seem?"

"Unless the current situation is one where you are being harassed or having to do something unlawful or unethical, perhaps you might talk with your immediate supervisor about your concerns and the two of you can find a remedy," Schaum suggests. "Definitely talk to a close and trusted friend or family member whose opinions you value."

No one can make the decision to stay or leave for you, but the right advice might give you some clarity.

Schaumm reminds, "You might hear that the working relationship is not unlike a personal relationship: There's an adjustment period that needs time and there's a need to give-and-take as nothing is as perfect as it first seems."

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 10/01/2011 - 4:42 PM


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