When your new job goes pear shaped……

Ange Connor

When your new job goes pear shaped……

Starting a new job comes with mixed emotions. Nervousness, excitement, apprehension, self-doubt, feelings of new beginnings, hope, the list goes on. We hope when we start our new job, over the first few days, weeks and months we ease in to our new role, learn the ropes, connect with our new team members, build a great rapport with our boss and away we go. But unfortunately that is not always the case.

Have you ever started a new job and had that sinking feeling in your stomach that maybe, just maybe you have made the wrong decision in accepting this new position? I have and I know I am not alone. Sadly, I actually see it way too often. But how do you know if you have made the wrong decision? How long do you give it to see if you can settle in and find your groove? How long do you put up with that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that something isn’t right? How long do you try and push out the doubt in your mind and try to stop obsessing about whether you have made the right or wrong decision?

I don’t think there is an easy answer to these questions. It’s going to be different for everyone. Depending on what’s causing you to feel this gnawing unsettled feeling, your behavioural style, your personal circumstances, all come in to play when weighing up what you do next. Do you quit, do you start applying for other jobs, do you try and rectify the situation or do you chuck it in and move on?

Chances are you are feeling a little emotionally overwhelmed with what’s transpiring and when we feel this way it can be the perfect recipe for making a poor decision. So how do you navigate your way forward?


  • Talk to someone

Voicing your concerns with someone close to you will help. A problem shared is a problem halved so they say. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be someone from your new work environment. Ideally this person will know you well and they won’t have the emotional attachment that you may have to the situation. They will see the situation with a bit more clarity and will be able to offer advice and strategies for weighing up what to do next.

  • Identify and articulate what exactly it is that is causing you to feel unsettled in your new role and why

I’m a big believer in getting it down on paper. When you have to write it down and articulate it, for some reason things seem simpler or it gives me clarity. Take the emotion out and hone in on what it is exactly that is causing you to feel this. Is it behaviour directed towards you, or lack of direction, feeling unsupported, no work to do, not having your own work to go on with? Sometimes some of these things go hand in hand with simply being in a new job and will take time to overcome until you have learnt the ropes, others can be due to poor leadership and management, poor team culture or simply a different style of working which you may not be used to.

  • Identify some actions

Once you have clarity on what is unsettling you, you can start to identify if fixing these issues is possible. If there are actions you can take to try and improve the situation develop your plan of attack and action it. And if you can’t influence and fix the things then you might have to make a hard decision; can you live with it or is it time to work on your exit strategy? Actions might be things like raising your concerns with your manager – open up the communication channel and give or get feedback. Or maybe it’s investing more time and effort in building rapport with your new team members or investing more time in learning the product or service to build your confidence.

  • Review and Assess

If there are actions that you can take to try and improve the situation give the actions a test run and then pencil in some review dates. You might give yourself a week or two weeks, maybe a month depending on the circumstances and how long it might take to see a change or an improvement. If you see some improvement; great, you will probably be happy enough to chip away and continue working on things. If you don’t see any change; maybe it’s time to start working on your exit strategy.


Unfortunately our induction and on-boarding process often leaves a lot to be desired and if done properly your manager would be checking in with you frequently and you wouldn’t be in this situation as you’d be able to discuss it openly and honestly with them. However, most organisations need to do a lot of work on their induction process so you might need to take control of the situation, be brave and put it out there that you aren’t settling in and it’s not what you expected. Not an easy thing to when you are the new kid on the block and don’t want to rock the boat.

If your manager is any good at their job they’ll welcome your feedback and happily work with you to try and help you settle in. After all they have just invested significant time, money and energy in recruiting you and probably don’t want to go back to square one. If you do raise your concerns and you don’t get the support and guidance you were hoping for them maybe it’s a sign……..

Many people in this situation are most concerned and feel that they should stay because it will look bad on their resume and what will they say at an interview when they have only lasted a few weeks or months in a job. Honesty is the best policy. Sometimes we all make the wrong decision; we are sold to at an interview, we have our rose coloured glasses on or we are just so desperate to get out of one role that we make the wrong decision in jumping in to a new role. It’s how you handle the situation and conduct yourself that will help or hinder you in moving to the next right job. Own the bad decision, learn from the experience, reflect on what you’d do differently next time and demonstrate the effort you made to remedy the situation. We all make bad decisions, it’s what you do next and how you handle it that shows your character.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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