how soon can you tell if a job isn’t right for you?

A reader writes:

I started a new job yesterday and something is off.

I had two interviews with the company before accepting and was really excited about working with everyone I’d met. But about halfway through my first day, I felt like I was going to cry at any moment (I was able to hold off until I got home. Everyone has been friendly and helpful, and the work is what I expected, but I just don’t enjoy it as much as I thought.

I’m an interior designer and I have a few years of experience in hotel design, and this job is hospital design. Initially I was excited to try something new, but now I feel overwhelmed, out of my element, and squeamish at the thought of staring at hospital rooms day in and out.

I feel like two days is not enough time to decide to stay or go just yet, but how much time should I give this? If I knew 100% that it wasn’t for me (and I’m at about 60% right now), I’d want to leave ASAP so there’s not a gap on my resume and also so it’s not (too much) of an annoyance to the company. Since I’m not sure, I’m thinking I should give it a month or so before doing anything rash.

How long is long enough to make an informed decision? How do you decide to leave a job if there’s nothing concrete, just a gut feeling?

Do yourself a favor and don’t let yourself think seriously about that possibility right now. What you’re experiencing is so similar to normal new job jitters and doubts that it’s too early to know if it’s something more. But if you start down that road in your head and think seriously about leaving when everything is so new, it’s very easy for it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy because mentally you won’t be giving it a real chance.

It’s not uncommon to not enjoy a new job at first, particularly when the work is out of your element. And that’s especially true if you’re used to being in your element; when you’re used to feeling competent and like you know what you’re doing and you’re suddenly somewhere where that’s not quite true, it’s can be disconcerting and unpleasant at first.

The thing to keep in mind is that new jobs are often overwhelming. They generally become less so — but it often takes a few months until you stop feeling like you’re a bundle of confusion and in the wrong place and just plain uncomfortable. (And even a few months isn’t generally enough time to feel truly comfortable — that’s just enough time to feel like you’re starting to get the hang of things.)

That said, there are times when it does make sense to make an “I’m out of here” decision faster, times when it’s more clear-cut and there’s not as much uncertainty to your assessment (in which case, I agree with you that it’s in everyone’s interest to cut it short). The sorts of things that should lead to a faster decision:
* if there’s been a bait and switch — if you’d signed up for one job but it turned out to be something completely different (and if you’d talked to your manager and confirmed it was going to stay that way — because sometimes jobs are different in the beginning while you’re being trained)
* if your manager makes it clear that she’s going to be a nightmare — hostile, incompetent, tyrannical, crazy, etc.
* if the culture turns out to be a terrible mismatch — for instance, if you discovered the workplace includes prayer in its meetings and you know you won’t ever be comfortable in that environment

In your case, though, what you’re feeling has a decent chance of going away when you’re more acclimated. So because of that, I’d give it at least a month before you even start thinking about leaving, or even two months. (And I really mean don’t even start thinking about it before then. If you have it in the back of your mind as a possibility, you risk it biasing the way you approach your next few weeks.)

I want to be clear: None of this is to discount the possibility that this really is the wrong job for you. It might be. But based on what you’ve described from the first two days, it doesn’t sound time to start down that path yet.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 81 comments… read them below }

  1. The IT Manager*

    Is the last italicized para (starting: Do yourself a favor and) from the LW or AAM? Sounds like it’s from AAM.

  2. Marina*

    Maybe I’m weird, but I HOPE to feel “overwhelmed and out of my element” every time I start a new job. If I don’t, it’s not a growth opportunity for me and I know I’m going to get really bored really fast. Depending on the job, the feeling lasts a week to six months.

    One thing that has helped me a lot is setting accurate expectations, both for myself and my supervisor. If I can tell early on that I’m going to have a steep growth curve, I want to have a frank conversation with my supervisor and make sure I’m clear on their goals for the first few months. My current organization is relatively unique and so has a steep learning curve for almost all positions, and the company culture is very clear that we don’t expect anyone to be up to speed for at least 3-6 months. It’s hard to be thrown into that kind of situation when you’re used to being an expert in your field, but it’s worth it if you can stick it out.

    The other thing is finding a mentor. In my current job I had one woman I called literally every day for the first three months. (I’ve been here two and a half years now and still ask her questions at least once every couple weeks.) It’s made a world of difference.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      This! My new job uses a lot of tech and programs that I’m not familiar with (and I’m not familiar with the industry, either). I felt really stupid, but now it’s starting to feel better. And my boss’s boss’s admin is my hero–if I don’t know how to do something, she will show me. They WANT you to take classes and ask for help and learn, because they want you to stay there forever. And they definitely make it worth your while, at least for me. :)

  3. De Minimis*

    Assuming it’s AAM, it made me laugh, given the formatting discussion in the open thread!

  4. Anonymous*

    As someone who has spent a fair amount of time working in hospitals, you could be a gift to the patients and employees, someone who is not in the hospital design mindset. If the thought of staring at hospital rooms makes you want to cry, you can bet others have the very same reaction. And you have the expertise to do something about it (assuming a supportive department and institution).

  5. Jenolen2161*

    As someone who started a new job not so long ago after being bored to tears at her old one, you NEED to give yourself a break and this new job a chance. It sounds like you’re having classic new job jitters. It’s so disconcerting to go from somewhere where you know all of the rhythms of the place (even if you’re completely sick of it) to a place where you can barely find the bathroom and remember where your workspace is, much less what everyone’s name is and where you should put your lunch. Please give this job a chance, since it could be the right fit, but anxiety from new surroundings, new challenges, and new ways of working is getting the best of you.

    And I second the comment about making a difference in patients’ lives. After spending 4 days in a hospital last year myself, I wish someone had been able to make my room look more like a hotel and less like a hospital.

  6. Vee from SD*

    OP, I agree whole heartedly with Allison. I went to a job where I felt it was misrepresented after I specifically asked in the interview (I’m a Payroll Administrator) if they had Expatriate payroll because I had no experience with that and quite frankly, didn’t want to deal with it. I was assured that the company had no expats. Surprise surprise, they sure did. There were a few other red flags, and I left that job after 2 weeks. The job was NOT what they laid it out t0 me to be.

    When I started my current job, I cried every night and was sure I had made a mistake. Everyone was nice, I liked the work, but I just was miserable without being able to put my finger on it. I stuck it out, and have been here 17 years. Turns out that I just was overwhelmed with the change, and in a few months, I was just fine.

    If there are no obvious red flags, please stick it out. Tell yourself it’s ok to cry in your car on the way home, and that might just be your way of processing the emotions of change. So much is being thrown at you and being overwhelmed is natural.

    Let us know what you decide to do.

    1. Jessa*

      I’m with everyone who is saying if there are not screaming red flags, talk to your manager, make yourself a plan. New jobs can be awful but some of them turn out really nice.

    2. Coquette*

      I started a new job 3 weeks ago and while I know it was the right move for me and my future, it’s been so overwhelming learning so many new things that I find myself questioning my decision to take it. But hearing you have a similar experience in the first few weeks/months of a job you’ve been in for 17 years is the reassurance I needed. Thank You for sharing your story!

      1. Anonymous*

        Same here, I had been on Jobseekers for about 5 months and so getting a job was a big thing. Im not even sure if it is enough financially yet, and I even have to drive for 20 mins to get there, don’t laugh! I am not a youngster at 52 and to suddenly learn new stuff is so over whelming. I was in such a state I shut my fingers in the car door as so upset (by accident)and I cried like a baby out loud in the car before I could set off. Two weeks so far and I am knackered, still confused but the support is great. I hate the lunch hour though as have to squash in a little area where everyone is trying to use the microwave or kettle and I feel invisable most of the time. I go for a walk in the cold most of the time, just to pass the time but I am getting stronger by the day and the challenge is doing me good I think. You do begin to think that no job will ever be right and I will never be able to learn anything new, but I know they want me to stay and I will give it my best shot until I win the Lottery that is! Scary stuff but if the support is there we have to be grateful as it gives us a chance to succeed.

  7. Christine*

    What the OP is feeling is absolutely normal! I can completely relate to that “what the heck am I doing??” feeling; I clearly remember feeling that way after the first day on my very first MSW internship, this after 7 years of pure clerical work. But it got better over time and really felt like I was in my element (It also helped that my Field Instructor was an incredible mentor).

  8. Joey*

    Two days and you don’t enjoy it as much as you thought?

    I haven’t been in a job probably ever that I enjoyed two days in. Enjoyment comes after you stop drinking from the fire hydrant that is learning how things work and getting your bearings at this job.

    1. Jamie*

      Drinking from the fire hydrant is an awesome phrase and I’m totally stealing that.

    2. Laurie*

      What if I have been in my new jobs for three weeks and I am completely stressed out and losing sleep over the fact that I feel like I am in over my head?
      The new job has me doing the work of 2 people in a high pressure environment with no communication, no support, no training a VP who is moody and has already barked at me over something I am new at, no flexibility and lousy pay.

  9. Rob Aught*

    For what it’s worth, I used to go through horrible new job jitters everytime I started a new position. This was really tough when I was consulting.

    This might sound silly, but I’d arrive at a new job or client and would be thinking “I’m a fraud! I don’t know this stuff! I haven’t learned all this technology yet!” Yet everytime the project would be successful or my performance reviews would be outstanding.

    I did eventually hit that position that wasn’t a good fit and I think I realized it early on but every job I’ve ever taken had so much to learn that I’m glad I gave it a few months before really concluding it was a bad job for me. Don’t let the initial stress and information overload put you off from a new job.

    Some of my best jobs were places where I probably spent the first month with a perpetual “deer in headlights” look.

  10. HR Pufnstuf*

    This is very much a common feeling. My experience is first week is overwhelming no matter how great a fit simply because of all the new faces, names, and infrastructure. My last big career change took 6 months before I began to feel like I was truly a good fit.

  11. Ali*

    I had this happen to me when I got promoted a few months ago. I had to learn a new system that was different from something the rest of my team was already working in, as they felt it would be easy to transition me first instead of training me on one thing then having to get used to another. I was so overwhelmed the first time I had to work in the system that all I wanted was my old job back, and maybe I made a bad decision by part taking the promotion because of the raise. I was basically in my same role, but doing more in-depth work, and I didn’t think I was cut out for it.

    But the other day, when my boss e-mailed me about something, he told me I was still doing a good job overall even though he had to contact me about a mistake. That helped me feel more comfortable knowing I had his approval. I’d stick it out at least a couple more months/weeks just to make sure you aren’t just nervous because you never know…

  12. B*

    I have been in both of the above positions AAM described. There was one job that within the first day I knew was horrible (owner, position, you name it). After 2 weeks, I left and everyone I had told thought it was the best move I could have done.

    There have been other jobs where I was out of my element and had to give it time. One my gut was right that it wouldn’t work out and to start looking so I could leave it off. The other times, sometimes it is just a matter of getting comfortable around people, place, and the work.

    Give it some time, take a deep breath, and if your gut was right then you start looking.

  13. Coco*

    What you’re feeling is normal. All new jobs suck. LOL

    Whenever I have a new job, I always go in with the attitude that it’s going to be weird and awkward for the first month. Then when it is weird, I know that everything is normal.

    Since you are in a new design field, you are technically out of your element. Those feelings are valid. That’s why they hired you. They wanted you to bring your unique hotel experience to the hospital design world.

    Don’t see it as staring at hospital rooms forever. See it as transforming the entire field of hospital design. Turn those hospital rooms into hotel rooms.

    It’s an exciting challenge.

  14. Liz*

    I think this is normal. Sometimes you can get so excited about a new opportunity that you can forget it’s a job, and then when you’re there and it’s not as fun as you imagined it can feel like you made a horrible mistake. Changing jobs is a major life stresser and can be overwhelming in the best situations. I’d give it a couple months. Besides, what do you have to gain by quitting? Then you’d just be unemployed.

  15. fposte*

    Additionally, jobs aren’t soulmates–it’s not a binary of wrong and right categories. Even if this job isn’t quite what you hoped, it can be a job where you learn a lot and move on from it, or develop new contacts, or develop new perspective on the overall field of design and where you fit in. It can be meh and keep your rent paid. All of those are just fine too.

    The learning curve is painful because it’s so slippery, and because you’re used to being at the top of it and now you’re at the bottom. It can be hard to tell whether this is a good place for you while you’re smarting from the friction burns.

  16. Jessa*

    My shortest job was less than 15 minutes, however, this was a temp job and it was completely misrepresented to the temp company. I have disabilities and while there were 3 tasks available, they wanted to put me in the ONLY one I could not physically do. I mean literally I could not do it at all. They then claimed that they had told the agency this, and would not move me to one of the other open tasks as an accommodation.

    The temp agency (who I trust because I’ve been with them off and on for over 30 years to fill in between jobs, and back in the day when you could make a living at white collar high end temp work – I was an Executive Secretary back when, I worked for them for years,) said very clearly “she’s on crutches, she can’t do x, y. z.”

    I called my rep and she was furious.

    But that was a severe misrepresentation of what the job was supposed to be.

  17. Andie*

    I have had two experiences with this. The first job I wanted to run the first week and didn’t think I would make it a month and I ended up staying 6 years. Once my co-worker told me she felt the same way when she started working there I turned a corner and it worked out fine.

    The second time with the job I am currently in I thought I was really going to like working for the organization because I had two good interviews and I really liked the director I would be reporting to. I knew the first 90 days I had made a mistake the director is a total nightmare! I really hate working with her. I would have quit a long time ago (been there 2.5 years now) but the COO & CEO talked me out of it. They are the only reason I stayed but now I wish I would have just quit. I regret not going with my gut on that one and finding another job but I didn’t want to make a lateral move.

    You have to give it more time than 2 days but definitely be honest with yourself if it is not the right place for you look for something else.

    1. Cattiva*

      I am in a similar situation to your latter example. I was unexpectedly laid off from a great job this summer (was employed for 4.5 years as an Executive Assistant). I was lucky to find a new job in just a month supporting a higher level executive and I am absolutely miserable. I took the job in good faith and expected a fast paced environment based on the seniority of the executive and his robust role but I am bored out of my mind (ex. I was out for two days and caught up on my work in 90 minutes). I have worked as an EA for over 10 years in many major global corporations. I feel like an entry level asst here. On top of being bored my boss also micro-manges. How can you micromanage an assistant??!! I gave it a month and started looking BC it just doesn’t feel right. I’m in my 4th month and expecting an offer elsewhere next week!!

  18. Anon-na-na*

    I spent a number of years after graduating from college in a field I loved, but realized I needed to transition to another field with more opportunities. After my first day in my new job, I went home and wept. Like really gross sobbing wept. I mourned my old field, my old co-workers…I mourned being knowledgeable in the way I had been before. For me, there was a significant grieving process that I had to go through. (Not saying everyone does, but for me this was very true.) I worried that maybe I made the wrong choice, and I think I had a lot of the same thoughts that you are having now.

    It’s been over two years now, and I am so thankful that I made the transition. My job has provided me with great opportunities for advancement as well as a supportive culture in which to grow. This is a field I NEVER thought I would be in, and yet, here I am. I hope that your new job surprises you in positive ways and that you wake up not too long from now (like I did!) and think, ‘I think I could fit in there. I think I could make a difference there. I think I could be valued there. I think I could be really good at this.’ Best wishes to you, OP.

    1. Regina Bee*

      I’m so glad to hear that someone else has mourned the loss of a job. It’s been twelve years since I changed industries and I still miss it every moment of every day.

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      Yeah, I was laid off from a job I loved with people I loved and where I was doing great work. I’m still mourning, although it’s been over a year. But after six months at the new job, I’m no longer comparing it to the old, but rather seeing the positives in the work and the people. It takes time, and that’s ok. Each week is better, and the regrets don’t come near as often any more.

    3. RLS*

      There was a job I held for 6 years, and it was the one that introduced me to the field I studied and work in now. While the reason I left was because of a very suddenly toxic environment and had no room to move up (and had also completely fulfilled my job; my superiors knew I had outgrown it and said so), I also had a grieving process…there was a distinct seasonal change to the work, and I found myself months later automatically thinking about the next shift in our workload, only to realize I didn’t have that responsibility anymore.

      I’d learned a LOT in my time there, and still held a lot of respect for my mentors there, even after the mistakes they made. I truly loved my work, the people I met, and the daily experiences. But I am still very glad that I left, because I was able to escape the “lifer” trap and work with other organizations, leaders, and methods.

      I think it is completely normal to mourn the loss of a job. I even mourn jobs I never had – when I made it so far in the process or was really invested and interested in an opportunity that didn’t pan out. We spend so much of our lives working, and it’s so important to our nature as a species (and survival; let’s be honest)…that when we’re able to find something we love to do AND get paid for it…well, it’s hard when we can’t do that anymore.

    4. LMW*

      I was going to chime in and pretty much write exactly this. You’ve summed up exactly my experience.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I was laid off from a job I had come to hate, but I spent six years of my life there and I miss a lot of the people. I’m better off where I am now, though.

  19. Original Poster*

    Hi all, OP here
    Thanks to Alison and the comments for your input – you’re the reason I even got this new job!
    I knew some of this was new job jitters, and I feel better hearing how common this is.
    I’m feeling foolish for even taking the job; I am extremely squeamish and have been known to faint at the sight of blood, but figured with hospital design there’s no blood, right? There’s not but there’s constant discussion of it and procedures and medical and surgical equipment… (I likened it to a person who’s afraid of heights shouldn’t be a pilot)
    I’m trying to give it a chance, but since the actual work makes me uncomfortable I’m also going to reach out my contacts at other companies.

    1. Runon*

      It might help, even if you do leave in the mean time, to focus on the end result. Because the work is trying to make people more comfortable when they are in very difficult and traumatic situations; trying to make it easier for lives to be saved; trying to create healthier and calmer environments to change and save lives.

      Focus on the end goal here and that might help a lot.

    2. fposte*

      That can definitely tire you out. Conversely, though, this is quite possibly a great experience for lessening your phobia, since repeated small-scale exposures that never escalate are pretty much the stuff of desensitization.

      Not saying you shouldn’t look if that’s what you want to do, just noting that this too is something that will likely change with experience.

    3. Anonymous*

      I was also going to chime in that it is totally normal to feel overwhelmed. It took me a good six months to feel like I wasn’t a total screw-up at my current job (got promoted a year later am approaching my 4-year anniversary and am on the path to leadership).

      However, I am also incredibly squeamish about blood etc (even the mere discussion of it, and if I get my blood drawn I need to drink a juice and lay down for 20 minutes after) so I totally sympathize and that seems like it might be more of a “cultural fit” issue in a way. I am having a hard time typing about it right now! But if you like other aspects of the job like your coworkers and boss, I wonder if you could talk to your boss/team and let them know you are having a hard time adjusting to all the hospital talk and maybe they could help ease you in.

      Of all my jobs I’ve had, I’ve noticed my happiness level actually had less to do with the work and more to do with the people I worked with and the culture so if that’s good, it might be worth trying to stick it out.

      Good luck!

      1. Emily*

        I think mentioning the adjustment to the “hospital talk” to your boss is worth considering! Surely squeamishness is something that healthcare veterans are familiar with.

        I’m the most squeamish person I know, but even I’ve learned to tolerate more than I ever thought I could (though, isn’t it weird how sometimes the mention of blood can be worse than the sight of it?) And on that note, if I were in the hospital, I sure wouldn’t mind if someone who appreciated my delicate constitution had played a part in designing the space. You might understand why keeping certain equipment or signage (have you ever had to put your head between your knees just from glancing at a medical poster?) out of sight is important better than someone who couldn’t relate!

  20. Runon*

    I’m adding another voice to this is totally normal. Brand new job jitters. I recently had a couple job transitions. The one I felt good about in the first week was horrible, because I had everything figured out in the first week. The one I am in now that I’m still unsure of? Is great, because I’m still learning new things and being challenged.

  21. Laura*

    What you’re feeling is totally normal. What you need to keep in mind are the good feelings you had during the interview process.

    Once I made the mistake of accepting a job where I did not get the “warm fuzzy” feeling that I’d had with other jobs in the past. I accepted it with reservations, because a contact had recommended me for it, and also because the pay increase was huge. My former company had been acquired and was in the process of relocating to San Antonio, and I had been approached about moving there, and then told that it would all be on my own dime. No thank you. I was going to be out of a job soon anyway, so I took it.

    Anyway, I knew almost immediately that it was a huge mistake. I did not get along with the other 2 managers who ran the place — one in particular was a sexist pig. The other one would get on my case about things like getting to the office at 7:04 when the workday technically started at 7:00, or not writing up one of my staff members who was a single mother with 5 children when she was late once in awhile or on a couple of occasions, had daycare issues and brought one of her kids to work with her. The kid was very well-behaved and sat in the cubicle next to hers and read a book for a couple hours until she could go drop him off, so it’s not like he was disrupting anything. Certainly not an ideal situation, but things happen and nothing is accomplished by being unreasonable, petty, or nit-picky when they do. I refused to write people up for things like that, and this jerk would say things like, “Doesn’t matter if you’re a minute late or an hour late, late is late.” His wife had always been a stay-at-home mom so he had no clue about what it takes to get 5 kids up and out the door each morning. Anyway, I digress. After about 6 months, the company acquired/merged with another company in the area, and used that as an excuse to fire me, and I was happy to leave. That same jackass had the nerve to call me a few days later and ask me some questions about how to do some stuff, and I told him my consulting fee started at $200 an hour, and when I got a $1000 retainer he could ask me whatever he wanted. I never heard from him again.

    What that taught me was to never take a job where I did not get that “warm fuzzy” feeling during the interview process, and since then (this happened about 15 years ago) that rule of thumb has never steered me wrong. Every job I’ve had since then has been a great experience in one way or another. In one, I got to go through the IPO process, which was very interesting. In another, it got my foot in the door to start doing software consulting, and the experience I gained from that is what landed me at my current company, where I’ve been for almost 9 years. But at first, for all of them, I felt weird, out of place, stupid for asking so many questions, and wondered if I’d ever get the hang of things. Eventually I did, and after a few months everything fell into place.

    It sounds like you had a great feeling about this position when you were interviewing. Don’t ignore your first intuition. It’s usually right. Give yourself a few months and if you’re still miserable, then consider looking around. But don’t throw in the towel so soon – you might be walking away from what could be a very rewarding and fulfilling part of your career.

  22. Katie the Fed*

    I had total buyers remorse when I first took my manager job. I went from being really good at what I did to not having a clue. And then there were employees anxiously watching me, a crazy workload, and one employee who thought she should just do my job for me (I replaced a really ineffective manager).

    I started by just observing and reading and watching for about a week before I really did anything. That learning period is what can make you anxious – you’re not doing anything yet and you’re used to doing stuff so it drives you crazy.

    Once you start doing things you’ll probably feel a lot better. But first you have to learn it.

  23. Liz in a Library*

    I completely agree with everyone that misgivings at the beginning are very normal. Change is really difficult!

    It also matters where you’re coming from. When I moved to my new job, I had completely unrealistic expectations because it seemed like the perfect job (and I do, in fact, love it) and my last job was such a horrible train wreck. It was a big let down that everything wasn’t completely perfect and rosy every moment, and I really ha to get myself past the fact that I’d expected a job to fix my whole life. Not saying this is what’s going on with OP, just my experience.

    If down the road, it’s clear that the job really isn’t for you, there’s no shame in continuing to look. But do try to give it some time–both to make sure that’s what you need, and to give yourself some interesting experience in a new area.

  24. Heather*

    Oh, I feel the pain shared by all of you. I am in week five here at my new gig and I still don’t feel comfortable. Although I have an assistant here to answer phones and help walk-ins, I am scared when the second line rings.

    At the head office last week I had the CEO stop and ask me how it was all going. “Well, it’s ok.” She knew by my tone that it is not ok. Her reply was, “90 days. After 90 days it will all be better.”

    We career oriented people want to succeed by singing “…nothing is going to stop us now…” but my friends, “we’ve got to hold one for one more day.” And if you know what tune I am quoting, keep on singing for 90 days.

  25. Anonymous*

    It would be helpful to know how many jobs OP has had. If this is the 10th time she’s started a new job and jobs 2-9 wently smoothly during the initial days and this experience is totally different, I’d say pay attention to your gut, but give it a month before doing anything. If the OP has not had a lot of experience changing jobs, then definitely give it more time.

    Change is stressful. Good change is stressful; bad change is stressful. You are likely suffering the job changer’s version of buyer’s remorse as well. Unless there is a serious serious issue and you have the option to go to another job immediately, you will gain nothing by leaving. If it turns out you need to leave, you will find a job much easier being employed than unemployed, that is a fact.

    You haven;t described any type of situation that would warrant up and quitting and being jobless .

    1. Original Poster*

      I have had 2 other jobs similar to NewJob, and this is the only one where I felt close to tears and even had wary “is the the right move?” thoughts BEFORE starting.
      This is also the first time I’ve left a current job by choice (the abridged version: I was scared when OldJob laid off 1/3 of the staff and started looking. As it turns out, I was not going to be laid off but I had gotten this offer and wanted a change)

  26. Jen in RO*

    I almost quit my current job on my first day. The first week, I got home so exhausted that I was in bed, sleeping, by 9 PM. I’ve been here for 3 years and a half now and I’ve realized that this is the career I want. I’m casually looking for something new, due to various [mis]management reasons, but the work itself and the coworkers turned out to be great.

  27. Anon in TO*

    Oh, I wish this had been posted ~7 months ago when I started a new job. I’m still not comfortable after 7 months, believe it or not. Part of this is because most projects last 2 years from start to finish, so I’m taking on things that are halfway done and doing many tasks for the very first time.

    A day hasn’t passed that I haven’t thought of my old job, where was an expert and knew everything there was to know. I was there 9 years.

    One thing that I think is legitimate concern is that my boss can only spare 30 mins per month to meet with me, and my two coworkers go into their offices in the morning, shut their doors and don’t come out all day, which really limits the opportunities for Q&A. This has made it really hard to adapt. My boss also hasn’t given me a shred of feedback since I started either. Throw in that I’m afraid of making major mistakes and I’ve been a wreck since last Fall.

    This is a contract job, so I always knew there was an end date. I never really got out of job searching mode but I’d like to feel competent for just one day…..

    1. Former Usher*

      I can sympathesize with the lack of feedback. Nearly eight months at NewJob without feedback. Yikes!

  28. Lindsay J*

    I started a new job at the end of March.

    It’s been a little over two months and I am just now beginning to not feel like I am awful at my job. A coworker and I were just discussing this yesterday because we were surprised at just how steep the learning curve was on this job. And this has nothing to do with my coworkers or managers because they are all (except for one) positive and encouraging and lovely – it’s just us comparing our work output to those of more experienced people and to our own expectations and going “Wow, this is overwhelming”.

    For the first few weeks I wasn’t sure if this was where I wanted to be. I interviewed for a different position the first week of April and was really hoping I would get it because it seemed a lot more in line with what I was used to doing than my current job. I ultimately didn’t get it because the decided not to hire out for the position and was upset at the time.

    However, now I have found that the feeling of dread I was having at getting up and going to work is going away, and I actually look forward to going in to work each day so I can be around my coworkers and learn new things. Part of it is that I am getting better and and more comfortable and confident in my job. It’s starting to be “my element” in a way it wasn’t and that I didn’t think it could be at the beginning. The other part is changing my mindset and realizing that not being perfect when I come in to a job is okay and that everyone goes through a learning process when they begin a job.

  29. HB*

    Also chiming in to add from a health care perspective – I once did an internship as a Health Educator at a clinic, and on my first day, I was so overwhelmed by that antiseptic-hospital-smell that I gave serious thought to quitting. The smell and sterile environment really bothered me. Every time I walked in to my office, that smell gave me chills and reminded me of being in the hospital, either visiting someone very sick/injured or myself being prepped for surgery (not happy memories, to say the least!). However, after a few weeks, it stopped bothering me. It just became the new normal. The internship ended up being a wonderful experience- it gave my career a new direction and I’m still working in a similar field. If I had quit due to new-job jitters and being uncomfortable with the atmosphere/smell, who knows where I would be today!

    I feel like you need to give a job at least 4-6 months before you can truly say if you love it or hate it. Until that point, you’re still figuring out where the bathrooms are and how to work the copier. It’s tough to get a real sense of what the day-to-day work is like until you’re a bit more settled.

  30. Twyla*

    I am offering up some pom pons to cheer you on. I recently took a new job too that is a great fit and right up my alley. The company is going through some growing pains though and I came from a larger, more sophisticated company. As a result, I have had things land in my lap simply because I have at least heard of whatever-it-is before and no one else has. The first 2 months I had more than one night in tears and a lot of stress on me and my family thinking, “what have I done??”

    But now, after a whole 5 months, I feel much better about the whole thing and am confident this was a good move. So, here is my cheerleading speech for you:

    Tell yourself repeatedly throughout the day, “I can do this. I am good at what I do. ” I could add, “and these are good people” and hopefully you can too. Change is traumatic even when it is good change. Unless something bizarre pops up, give it a few months and reflect. If you need to cry, do it, just do it at home. Project kindness, confidence in your abilities at the office. Look back in a few months and I think you will be surprised. Good luck!

  31. Kyle Jones*

    This is totally a normal feeling UNLESS the reason for wanting to leave is such that you just KNOW you have to leave. Examples would be: misrepresentation of the job duties, uncomfortable work atmosphere, etc. Give yourself some time to make sure that the jitters don’t have the best of you.

  32. Nadiah*

    i am only a month and 16 days into my new job (marketing) and i have already tendered my resignation last week. i was in editorial before and i wanted to try something new that involves meeting people more, but weeks into the job i realised i don’t actually like this job (marketing for a university), the work culture and environment. i haven’t even found a new job but i know, the longer i stay in this current post, the more miserable i am. it would not be fair to myself and also my employer. I’ve been crying myself to and from work everyday, and thought it’s not worth staying any longer.

    i took this job initially because it’s near home, the pay raise, and thought i could go into communication from here but when you don’t like the job, you just don’t like the job. it’s not for you. although my manager persuaded me to stay, i just have to be fair to myself. I believe there are bigger, better opportunities for me out there :)

  33. Tina*

    This is a very interesting discussion..I too have been experiencing doubts (started my new job less than a month ago). It is the first time I have not felt enthusiastic about starting over in a new company-this is the fifth in my working times- and has made me feel like a made the wrong choice. Nothing negative has happened in my new place, I just feel disconnected and I see this new job as just a ‘job’ rather than a career.
    I resigned from my previous company cause I had a terrible director who was bullying me; so maybe I feel like this cause I don’t want to invest in a new company as a defence mechanism this time…
    So my main question to others in similar circumstances is ” Is it ok to feel suddenly that you have a job and not a career and is it possible to still perform well in a new job when you find yourself being detached from the new workplace?”……

  34. Jen*

    Started a new job and after a month I still hate the job. Thought much of the feeling of being overwhelmed was just learning all the “New”. They did a restructuring of the job description and 10 hours of the week consists of helping with admin duties. The prior person in my current position took 40 hours to complete the job. Admin felt he had too much time on his hand and that the job needed to be restructured. I am not getting all my work done in a week and do not want this to count against me. Should I talk to a supervisor or is this just something I should continue–or quit?

  35. Angelfire*

    Thank you to all the posts here. I started a new job after being unemployed for 3 years and I am getting overwhelmed. I have been in Customer service my whole life. Started out with Retail/Sales then Travel industry/Sales, Then Healthcare, Insurance, Customer service/Admin. Now its back to Retail/Sales but the automotive industry. My Manager has been very supportive, and does not expect me to learn all the new products and services overnight. He senses that I am overwhelmed and assures me it will be okay with some time.
    Now he wants to know from me if I want to continue. I do want to continue because I think I need a little more time to see if this is what I want to do and feel comfortable. My Manager did say he does not want to have me feeling this way after training me for two months and I think that is fair. So my question is how much longer should I give this? I think after 1 month I should know if I want to pursue this. Should I tell him that that I need a little more time to decide? Or just play it by ear with weekly progress mini meetings and after 1 month let him know? I may be answering my own questions, but thought I would see what everyone thinks.
    Thanks again and I will be keeping in touch :)

  36. LMP*

    Wow…interesting discussion. I left a job that I loved 3 months ago. Eighteen months prior, my manager was forced out and my department was merged with another. The supervisor that I was assigned disliked me and the write-ups began almost immediately. I attempted another position in the same organization that didn’t work out due to misrepresentation and I could not return to my former position – manager wanted me back, supervisor didn’t and I really did not want to return if I had to report to the supervisor, so we parted ways amicably. Fearing unemployment and still reeling from losing a job I loved, I accepted one of the two first offered to me. I accepted the current job because it seemed like a good fit, although vastly different from what I had been doing. Now three months into this position I am assigned to a trainer that is condescending and downright mean. He has implied several times that my job is in jeopardy because I’m not learning fast enough ( according to his time line). To be fair, there is a steep learning curve here and if given the time I could master the position. After my last experience with a bullying supervisor, I was not going to put up with the same type of behavior so I went to my new superv

  37. LMP*

    Wow…interesting discussion. I left a job that I loved 3 months ago. Eighteen months prior, my manager was forced out and my department was merged with another. The supervisor that I was assigned disliked me and the write-ups began almost immediately. I attempted another position in the same organization that didn’t work out due to misrepresentation and I could not return to my former position – manager wanted me back, supervisor didn’t and I really did not want to return if I had to report to the supervisor, so we parted ways amicably. Fearing unemployment and still reeling from losing a job I loved, I accepted one of the two first offered to me. I accepted the current job because it seemed like a good fit, although vastly different from what I had been doing. Now three months into this position I am assigned to a trainer that is condescending and downright mean. He has implied several times that my job is in jeopardy because I’m not learning fast enough ( according to his time line). To be fair, there is a steep learning curve here and if given the time I could master the position. After my last experience with a bullying supervisor, I was not going to put up with the same type of behavior so I went to my new supervisor but things have not improved. When I met with the supervisor . I have now contacted HR to discuss. I really would like to stay

  38. LMP*

    Wow…interesting discussion. I left a job that I loved 3 months ago. Eighteen months prior, my manager was forced out and my department was merged with another. The supervisor that I was assigned disliked me and the write-ups began almost immediately. I attempted another position in the same organization that didn’t work out due to misrepresentation. I could not return to my former position – although the manager wanted me back, the supervisor didn’t, and I really did not want to return if I had to report to the supervisor, so we parted ways amicably. Fearing unemployment and still reeling from being forced out of a job I loved, I accepted one of the the two positions offered to me. I accepted the current job because on paper and in the interview process it seemed like a good fit, although vastly different from what I had been doing. Now three months into this position I am assigned to a trainer that is condescending and downright mean – has implied several times that my job is in jeopardy because I’m not learning fast enough ( according to his time line). To be fair, there is a steep learning curve here and if given the time I could master the position. After my last experience with a bullying supervisor, I was not going to subject myself to this same type of behavior so I went to my new supervisor but things have not improved, and now none of my co- workers will speak to me. My health has taken a dive due to the stress and I am seriously considering leaving because the culture in the department is like nothing I’ve encountered in past. I am considering contacting HR to discuss. Suggestions are welcome.

  39. James*

    I started my first job in interior design today straight out of uni. I felt really uncomfortable and scared the whole day thinking this is wrong for me. I think its because im insecure about my skills and i haven’t worked in the industry before only in the class. I hope it gets better though as i truly love design.

  40. Visitor*

    I just went through a horrible experience at a new job. I have been in the workplace for decades. I somehow assumed the person training me wanted ne there. She did not. (Always be sure you meet the actual work team before accepting the job.) I was not properly trained … I was kept at a distance from the computer. I finally, after several days of watching rapid screen flicking, was put at my own computer and expected to be able to do what was shown to me — and many other things that had not been shown. I believe I was begin hazed, but I did not want to bail. I was terminated. This has been traumatic. If training is not sticking, speak up. If you don’t have access to a computer, that could be a sign. If the nonverbal of being ill at ease is regularly shown, that may indeed be a sign you are not wanted.

  41. S*

    I’m so grateful for this thread and the many understanding and encouraging comments. I’m three weeks in to a 3 mo. temp-to-perm assignment in what seemed to be my dream role. It seemed like a fail-safe way to get the experience I need to continue this type of work. The money, reputation of the company, and many factors seemed ideal. But half-way through my first day it was clear that there’s a very different story behind the curtain. The entire staff is brand new (all within one month of starting) since this company was bought out. We’re all on guard, faking it, succeeding, encouraging, blaming, failing, tense, confused, etc. That makes the environment during a major company transition exponentially harder. I have a 3 hour commute (in total) on top of it. Plus, long hours into the night and weekends just to figure out the mess we inherited from the prior organization. I want to quit because I don’t feel like I’m succeeding and expectations of me are still unclear. If I can make it through 3 mo. I’m using the experience to move on to something more stable. If I can’t, they’ll have to fire me.

  42. Billyoats*

    I started my new role two weeks ago and relate to all of what’s said.
    I am good at what I do I know I am, but this new role is so overwhelming. I sit at my desk wanting to cry. I have in my mind I want to chuck it in and it’s a struggle each morning to get up and go. I feel really dumb at work for not knowing the processes and they have such a different way of doing things. I usually get so brand loyal to the place I work and haven’t found that yet. I’m super slow at the stuff I’m doing and they are piling on the work. I don’t even take a lunch break as I want to get up to speed quick. I do feel a bit invisible but the people are friendly.
    I have asked questions on how to do stuff and found they are vague to answer. One of the guys in my team is a bit arrogant and I feel like if I ask a q he thinks I’m so thick, so I tend to ask other team mates instead.
    It’s so hard going from a place where you have coffee buddies and know exactly what to do and running the department, being seen as a star to just another staff member that’s doesn’t know much.

    Since the first week I’ve been thinking of quitting, and wondering when it gets better and what’s to say another job won’t be the same or worse. A lonely scary disconcerting time! Not fun!!!

    1. Unsure*

      I know the feeling. At least you don’t have 2 co-workers on a team of 6 that hate you and you’ve been there 3 weeks. It’s always going to be scary but you gotta learn to do your job and do it well. Be confident in it, fake it if you have to, but give it a chance and stop thinking negative about it. You’re new people have to adjust and it takes time to get know people. People are slow to adjust to change whether its a new system or a new co-worker. Give yourself a chance.

  43. Road Runner*


    I took a job two weeks ago in a large hospital and I felt lost by lunch time. You have to meet the people who do the actual work BEFORE accepting the position. Had I done this, I would have realized about the mess, politics, and neuroticism of one the supervisors. Probably I would not have accepted the position. On top of that he person who is training me is counting he days to get out of there so training is not being a good one either. Now I am in and although I still feel that I don’t know what I need to know I feel a bit better and upper management are very supportive of me by telling me hat it is goin to take a bit of time to get used to the culture and become familiar with the job. This forum has been very helpful as I was going crazy about the inadequacy feelings that are shared by so many of you. So I thank you for that. I find that it helps to find support by expressing how you feel and being listened to. I have decided to give this job between one and three months to decide whether it is a good fit for me or not. So that is my humble piece of advice. Get to know the team before you accept the position, know what you are getting into, speak up if training sucks, get support from trusted ones or serious forums, meditate, follow your instincts, and give yourself between one to three months to decide. Thanks.

  44. Aaron*

    I just got a job as a line cook, but my co workers are very rude to me and call me stupid for not knowing how to make the food when it was my first day on the job. They weren’t joking at all either, they would push me away and say go clean the cooler or freezer while we do your work for you. I’ve had the job for 2 days now and I’ve gotten the same treatment, the managers won’t do anything because they don’t like to get involved in the kitchen problems. Do I have a right to quit right now or should I just take the abuse and stick it out?

  45. Unsure*

    I just recently started a new job, and am completing my 3rd week, however, the job is something that I am used and for the most part know how to do. My problem lies in the environment, more specifically 2 coworkers in particular. One is not too much of a problem, its the second one that is already making me feel like I shouldn’t be there. They, rather the one, never openly states anything but non-verbal communication implies slight hostility and not wanting me there. I have conversed with them and tried to not speak ill of my last job which I totally want to, and during our conversation she alluded to politics and how where there is people there will always be politics and I replied that I understood that but when working with a smaller crew it’s sometimes easier to get along with and bond with people, and I mentioned I thought my time was starting out good. They didn’t reply and said it could always be worse, and said good for me if I thought it was going well. Furthermore, during our workday one of the assistant managers and this person are cool and joke around, were verbally playing. I happened to be in the middle and both were on either side of me and she said its fine we will just destroy Unsure since they’re in the middle. I turned and said nope I’ll let you two go at it and I’ll sit back and referee, and you haven’t even seen me in action. I have no idea what I did in the past 3 weeks to make this person not like me and many of the conversations I’ve had with other co-workers has been fine, but somewhere along the way, i suppose i did something to person to not like me, either that or they just don’t like me because it’s pretty much been like that since I first started. I know there are times when people just don’t like you even on the first day and that’s ok, but I’m learning still, and am trying to retrain myself to their routines because I left my former job which I was great at after 6 years. Thats not easy to forget or relearn new routines. I’m doing my best but I guess it’s not good enough?

    1. Unsure*

      Oh and I forgot to mention that after 6 months they evaluate me and determine for me if the position is a good fit….

  46. je*

    I really appreciated this Q&A and the comments available. I finally returned to work a month ago after dealing with cancer five years ago and a long, slow recovery that followed. So much has changed for me and I adapted to a life not having to work but I knew I had to get back out there and on that horse! I got a fast-paced job in TV and apart from dealing with this massive change in my life and re-adapting to a workplace and all its expectations of you, it’s so far been a huge learning curve. I lost a lot of confidence in my skills and abilities being away from the workforce for so long and this job is overwhelming on so many levels for me personally. Nobody knows my history so when I get really overwhelmed I’ve had to bottle it up until I get home. Yesterday morning my trainer took me into the meeting room for a one month evaluation. She told me I’m not picking up the skills fast enough to use the broadcasting system that she would like and she’s been frustrated by how slow I am. I wouldn’t say she’s the best trainer either as she’s been a bit too vague on things at times and English is her second language which has caused a couple of barriers. But I somehow got this feeling that she was frustrated by me but at the meeting I reassured her to have faith in me and that I just needed more time – but as soon as I got home I collapsed in a heap and was an emotional and mentally fatigued wreck. I thought, “Don’t be silly, don’t lose it over this, you’ve gone through worse in your life. It’s just a job …” But it really did affect me. I want to do well but now I have a lot of mixed feelings and any self-confidence I had has now been shot. I want to hold onto the job because it represents normality for me again after so long but don’t know if this is the job for me now. I do feel better however in reading this page and reading the different responses and gaining a new perspective from it.

  47. Manrayn*

    Thanks all for making comfort that sometime new job doesn’t work. I have 9 years of exp in two companies and i recently changed my job. As my previous job was too going good and i was also given good opprotunity to learn things and prove myself. But since the new job was offering good packeage hike and was close to my home and profile was also good engough to pick up. But after 3 months i realized its a big career mistake as i didn’t studied company culture and business nature prior to taking decesion of job change. I also tried to get fit into system and culture but something is there which is not in my favour and now i am planning to quit job even no job aligned up. Each day i feel only about leaving and work which i liked ever getting dislike here. I feel unable to fit with my boss and organization culture. Entire day i just pass surfing on net and reading online newpaper, nothing else. I don’t want to do the task given to me even i know i m enough skilled to performed it well but unable to focus on that. I feel i should put papers and take a break for 1-2 month before searching new job. I have a car loan and other responsbilities but not saving, This is big lesson for me to make saving for tough time and do not take loan for luxuries things. But i still want to take break and will take it definatetly to refresh my mind.

  48. Sarah*

    I decided to get a new job as there were signs that my old company might have lay offs and that my job might not be there in a couple of years. I found a great position that I interviewed for and during the interview I very clearly requested that I will need to be able to ask questions and have an open line of communication. I was ensured that I would and that I could ask as many questions I needed to ask. I was then satisfied and took the job. On day 7 or 8 of the new job the person that I was working with rudely told me that I am asking too many questions and that I was interrupting her. She is a very nervous person and analyzes every word you say and completely made me feel too nervous and uncomfortable to even open my mouth. I told her that I regretted taking the job. She in turn notified our boss that they need to “do a better job of integrating [me] at the company”. The boss then called me to see if there is anything he could do to help. Of course I wasn’t comfortable telling him what the real situation was so I decided to just say that I needed time to adjust. Things got a little better afterwards because i think the person I worked with realized that I might just up and leave. I also then realized what the situation with the previous person was that held my position before – the person was here long before the coworker i have issues with and I strongly believe that she decided to leave due to the really strange work environment (coworker that clearly has a rude/uncomfortable demeanor). I tried my best to give it all I’ve got but then yesterday there was another little incident that just showed me that the behavior is a pattern that will most likely not be changing anytime soon. I have been here for 5 weeks now and I might still be able to get my old job back BUT, I am first of all not sure how long the old job will be around and also it means that i will need to take a step backwards, professionally speaking. So I have a question for anyone here that might be able to answer: how long does it take to really confirm that something won’t change (for the better)? I am so regretting my decision but do not want to be hasty making a decision to leave. What would be a good time period to fully adjust to such an environment or determine if things have a chance to change. Any input would be very much appreciated!

  49. Malynn*

    I stupidly left a good job that I love and am regretting it very much. I started at a new position and have been there for about a month, and I know already that it’s not going to work long term, and that i’m not wanted. My manager hired two people (I was told I would be part time that would convert to full time after a month, which she has now told me will not happen and that I will be part time indefinitely) and the other person had prior experience in this field. I did not have any background whatsoever. The person training me did not have the time to train two people and left within a week, which left me on my own, prone to a lot of mistakes that I am still making. After a month there are still things that I’m expected to know but don’t, because I wasn’t properly trained as to how to do them. I try to keep up and do what needs to be done, but my manager has obviously lost patience with me. She is very short and curt with me, (frequently answers my questions with “what____?”) and asks why I have not picked up skills quicker and has taken to watching over my shoulder while I work. This is not a field where everything can be learned in one month. To make matters worse, I frequently catch the bad side of her temper (as does the other co-worker) and then we are BOTH reprimanded, often times in front of one another or other co-workers. She has a very demeaning, tyrannical manner about her, and I honestly cannot stand working with the woman. She is the ‘slamming papers on the desk, in your face confrontational type’. I’m looking for something else but am afraid I’ll be trapped here for some time (or laid off during my probationary period) because of my lack of a college degree. During the interview she mentioned that her receptionists kept ‘leaving her’ and now I understand why.

    I wish I had never left my old position. It was an extremely stupid move, but I did it for what I thought where legitimate reasons. I’m left wondering now if I deserve what I’ve gotten. I just hope I find a decent full-time position in my old sector soon. Paying bills on a part time pay-check is…….not do-able long term in the state where I live.

  50. Leah*

    I knew three days in that my new job wasn’t right for me. I was told it was a marketing position, but all it really was was cold-calling. I knew immediately it was a mistake. Also, there were no other employees in the company other than the woman who owned the company and she was never there. My first day there I was completely alone for 8 hours! I knew this wasn’t going to work because of the non-existant co-workers. Even if you’re co-workers are not your favorite people in the world, there is something to be said for having other people there to support you, especially when you’re new. I personally couldn’t stand that. Job searching is hard, but sometimes the hardest things in life are what you need to go through.

  51. Jaye*

    About 2 and a half months ago I resigned from a company that I’d been with for almost 3.5 years. I’d held two positions with this company; both of which I was overqualified for yet performed well. My reasons for resigning were for favoritism between management and certain employees, a witness to a quarrel between lovers (a manager and a direct report, no defined objectives within the final position I held with the company, unhealthy work environment that caused anxiety and depression, a coworker who I’d confided in told other coworkers that I was gay…by the time I resigned I was on prescription medication for anxiety and insomnia. These are only SOME of the main reasons. During my 36 plus months on the job I experienced more than just these things. My first manager was a bully and she was later fired after receiving so many complaints about her aggression and bullying behavior toward employees. I also worked with over 5 different managers for my last position because the company had a hard time keeping the position filled. This made it extremely difficult to perform my job as each manager has different expectations. The company truly believes in “manager discretion” which allowed for them to openly treat individuals with favoritism. If you weren’t well liked, kiss being treated equally good bye.

    I now work for another company and I don’t feel that it’s a good fit for me either, not to mention I’m overqualified for this position as well. There are things about it that don’t sit well with me. I’m a very smart girl, I have common sense and I’m book smart (I have a graduate degree). It’s taking everything within me to get out of bed and go to this new job. It’s not a career….it’s a job. I’ve read other posts on AAM about possibly giving a new role more time or even having the jitters. However, I’m one to follow my instinct and when it says run….. I run. I took this new position based on my interview. They loved me and even told me that they could see me being a manager for the team. I took the job thinking that it would be a great opportunity; this could be an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and I thought I’d even want to stay for a while. Now that I’m actually in the role, I feel that the details of the position were misrepresented (other coworkers that started with me feel this same way). I want no parts of this… I’m still actively looking for another position and won’t stop until I find something that I’m not over qualified for and that will be the position that I actually interviewed for. The true challenge of taking on a new job is making sure that the new position is actually a good fit; it’s not really learning all there is to know about the job itself.

  52. Joseph*

    Thanks for your input all of you. I’m also in a situation where I don’t like my new position. I’ve been there 5 months. The job involves a huge amount of stress and the department are totally understaffed. The work is fast, varied and massively technical, so I’ve been struggling to adapt. Its the three things combined (pace, variety, and difficulty) that are making things so hard.

    I left a job I enjoyed for the first 5 years out of the 7 I was there in total. It wasn’t a snap decision to leave and I was unhappy due to a botched IT project and management changes. I thought to myself ‘it can’t be worse than this anywhere else’ but it is.

    I’m working day to day. There’s a long commute involved. I’m exhausted at the end of each day I can be quite teary on my way into work. I’ve seen some of the senior people work evenings and weekends and not bat an eyelid. So if I do prove to be a success at this job, I have that to (not) look forward to. I’m learning a huge amount. But its taking a toll on my health.

    So I’m going to try and stick things out for as long as possible and learn what I can before moving on. I’m worried such a short working period will look bad on my CV.

    1. Jason*

      Hi Joseph. I’m in the total same situation as you. I recently quit my 2 years job and moved into a new company. I was very exciting and eager to learn the new technology. However, after 3 weeks I do realize the actual job scope is much more wider than the job scope communicated to me during the interview and the workload is massive. All my teammate is very busy and have to work overtime everyday to complete their task. The environment is quite stressful and working overtime is a norm over here.
      I do understand this is a difficult transition period and it take time. I feel that I will unlikely to perform well if I have a long and stressful working hours. I will try to communicate with my manager on his expectation and working overtime concern.

      So now I’m in the position of thinking whether to sacrifice my time for this job and learn under the stressful environment or seeking another opportunity. I worried if I leave after few months or year later, it will look bad on my CV too.

      1. Tony R*


        Are we all 3 working at the same place? lol. Your two stories sound very similar to mine. I’m on week 2 in my new job as IT project manager and I’m utterly lost, confused and overwhelmed. The job changed from interview to actual job. The workload is almost impossible, 40+ projects now and only 2 project managers and the work is increasing due to an acquisition. I had no idea of how busy it would be, I was informed of only 1 big project in my interview. And in my last position I was more of an informal project manager, this job is truly formal. I am unequipped and unprepared for this role. I mentioned it to my lead last week (he is from a purely formal pm background) and he just said “oh don’t worry about it”. But I am worried, I feel lost and stressed to the point to not sleeping and all I do is worry. I didn’t create project plans or use Microsoft Project on my last job and now I’m being told on the fly “just create the plan” or “set up the dependencies”. And I wasn’t prepared for meeting after meeting, just last week I had 20 meetings. At my last job I had maybe 3 a week. So I feel I’ve walked into a storm and I feel I’ve made a huge mistake, all for a larger salary.

        Unprepared, unequipped and not a good fit. I’ve been unable to sleep with all the anxiety and worrying. I’m preparing now to get ready to go into work but it’s with great apprehension as today I’m going to tell my lead and manager that I’m lost and overwhelmed. I’m a temp worker and fear if I do that they’ll let me go. I have a family to support and with all the stress and anxiety also comes the guilt and shame of letting them down. This job was supposed to be the one that gave us some breathing room but I see now it’s not the job to do that. Like you guys mentioned, I see many of those around me working really long hours, the other project manager I work with (been there only a month) is working 55 hours a week. I didn’t sign on to work like that, with the sheer amount of projects pouring in, me being unequipped, the stress of all that and the potential of having to work 50 plus hours is too much for me. I’m meeting with my old CIO for lunch to discuss me returning to my old position, it pays less but the stress level was 10 times lower. It makes me sad because I had plans to save more money for my sons. I feel like a total failure….

  53. KenY*

    I think, but not sure whether, I’m having jitters. I left my first job after three months. I was a quick learner back then, I was able to cope with issues with minimal guidance from seniors. At times I might ask for assistance but I need not rely on others always.

    However, I switched job completely. I was expecting myself to cope with the new technical requirements and handle comprehensive issues at this new job. Not to mention that my new seniors and colleague are very friendly and excellent coaches. At this time of writing this, is my second week, yet I am less able to handle basic software applications nor understand how to prepare a report. Although trainings have been transmitted to me verbally, being no hands-on work involved, yet I feel distance and alien, and saddened by the fact that I was not able to adapt as expected.

    At times, I prefer to sticking to my previous job. Or is it just jitters as most commentators have pointed out? Anyone can relate to my case please do share with me. I like to learn from people’s constructive advice and real-life experiences. Cheers!

  54. Hasty*

    I wished I would have found this sight 6 months ago. I was getting fed up with my job of 3-1/2 years and a new opportunity came along that was considerably different than what I had done before. It involved some traveling (I did almost none before for work) and visiting with customers to help with applications. Since it was a new role for me I expressed some concern during the interview process and they told me that I would be training and not doing engineering work for several months.
    Well they had me traveling somewhere every week right from the start and I was out of my comfort zone since I didn’t think I had been trained enough yet to be interacting with the customers so soon. I was expecting a gradual progress into the role and traveling but the 1st month I was traveling probably twice as much as they told me. I ended up leaving after a month and going back to my previous job since it felt more comfortable to me. Somehow I forgot why I left my previous employeer and was looking back with rose colored glasses. I hate to say it but that ended up being a huge mistake. I definitely regret that I didn’t embrace the challenge and stick with it for at least 6 months to see if it would have ended up working out. I didn’t see how I would be successful at the time but realize that I had the wrong attitude and should have had faith and determination to make it work. I ended up leaving a great opportunity to go back to just a job. Looking back on it now I think it would have all worked out if I would have stayed with the new position. My advice, don’t make any quick dramatic moves and give it at least 6 months to get more in your comfort zone and to give it a fair shot.

  55. Jen*

    I”m reading many of the comments and can relate. I actually start a new job tomorrow but I write about my former job. I worked at a law firm for 14 months (to the date) and it was one of the worst experiences I have ever had.
    I started in 2013 and was so excited after being unemployed for 7 months. I went in eager to learn. I can tell you after the first hour I knew this job was bad but talked myself out of running out.

    The woman who I was replacing was training me. She was going to be a Case Manager but something was “off” by her. She easily weighed 300 pounds (not knocking her weight) but she opened her McDonalds and began to eat it with her mouth full and her greasy hands touching the computer. It seemed every ten minutes someone was interrupting us so they could gossip. I received a cold feeling and could tell as soon as I left the room, they were talking about me negative. I think I can honestly say-I have never in all my life worked with such nasty women before.

    My training was terrible, and she withheld much of my job from me. It wasn’t till I made mistakes she mockingly would tell me in front of other coworkers. She then moved down the hall from me after only three days, and I was on my own. I stumbled and woke up many nights crying. I was bullied and outcasted all by this woman. I still don’t understand why since she was moving up. I learned she does this with every new person.

    I lasted a year. I was one of two who only received a raise two months ago but that wasn’t enough for me to stay. That fat monster was put on 30 day notice after they caught her not working by reports. It’s a terrible thing to be bullied by women in their late 30’s but it happens. I am lucky as I found a part-time job in one day but was hired by a company for full-time. I start tomorrow. I’m not going to lie and say I am not nervous. I fear of any repeat pattern. I fear of women like that monster. But from now on, I will never stay in a job where it’s so toxic. I think that is what we fear. I hope tomorrow is good for me. I am just thankful I am no longer at the law firm. I wrote of my experience because I KNEW within the first week it was a terrible job but I stayed…never stay if it’s that toxic.

  56. Bill*

    Give it more time. I recently moved into a new role after 7 years with my previous employer. I went from being a subject matter expert to a newbe overnight. Things get flipped on there head when you switch jobs. You go from being the person everyone seeks for knowedge and information to being the person seeking knowledge and information. It’s a difficult mental transition and will take months to work through. My advice, ask questions, be honest, be patient and persevere. You’ll learn a lot about youself through this prces.

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