I just started my new job and I miss my old one — did I make a mistake?

A reader writes:

I recently left a job that I’d been at for a few years and felt really comfortable, had a relaxed working environment, and fun coworkers. The problem was I didn’t have room for advancement or growth, I was regularly bored with the work, and there wasn’t any wiggle room for more responsibilities or raises. I jumped at a new opportunity that provides me all of the above, as well as the opportunity to network with many leaders across my city, but in my first week I’m finding myself feeling really homesick for the old gig. The people here are nice, but not social, and I feel lonely every day. It’s hard to envision myself ever being happy or comfortable here. Am I overreacting? Should I start the hunt again?

You’re only in your first week! That’s no time at all.

It’s completely normal to miss an old job when you’re at a brand new one! As you say, you were really comfortable there! You knew your job, you knew your coworkers, you were comfortable in your physical surroundings, you had a routine, and you were a known quantity to other people, meaning that they knew you were smart/competent/etc. and you’d probably built up a bunch of lovely things together, like benefit of the doubt, camaraderie, and good will. Don’t discount how much that stuff matters!

At the new job, the work is unfamiliar, you’re just starting to learn the culture, you’re still getting used to the physical surroundings, and the people are strangers. You’re just learning names and personalities and what people do, and they don’t know you at all yet — they don’t know that you’re good at your job, or awesome at soothing upset clients, or a source of amusing post-meeting commentary, or any of the other things your old coworkers knew about you.

New jobs are exhausting and stressful, and It’s really easy in the middle of all that to feel homesick for the comfort of your old job. But that does not mean that you made the wrong choice, or that it’s time to start job searching! It just means you’re having a normal reaction to circumstances that are stressful for nearly everyone.

Resolve not to even think “maybe I made a mistake” for at least the first month. You need time to adjust, for things to start feeling more familiar, before you can tell how this job will feel long-term.

To be clear, if you were seeing real danger signs — like severe dysfunction, or being told on day one that your job has changed into something totally different — I wouldn’t tell you that. But this sounds like a fairly normal adjustment period. (I mean, maybe not. There’s always the possibility that it is the wrong job for you — as there is with any job — but it’s way too early to be worrying about that right now.)

About people not being as social as they were at your old job … It’s possible that people are more social than you realize, but that you just aren’t seeing it your first week while you’re getting acclimated.

It’s also possible that they’re a reasonable amount of social and that your old job was unusually so. I might be reading way too much into your letter, but at many organizations with boring work and no room for advancement or growth, people can end up particularly social with each other — because they’re understandably not as invested in the work, and because there’s a common bond that develops when you’re all in that boat together. So it could be that what you’re seeing is that people are doing more challenging work that they’re more engaged with — and that that’s the trade-off for moving to a job with work you’re more excited about.

Or not! There are also offices that are relatively chilly compared to others … but you said people there are nice, so I’m betting this isn’t one of them, and that it’s just that forming relationships takes time.

Give this some time. It’s okay to be homesick — it’s not a sign that you made a mistake. Take the pressure off yourself of feeling like you have to figure out right now what this job will be like long-term, and just give yourself some room to adjust.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 122 comments… read them below }

  1. TootsNYC*

    I had exactly this reaction to a job change once!

    I’d taken a new job in order to be able to get home from work earlier, and spend time with my family.

    But I was sent a sign–on my ride home at the end of the first week at this job, when I was feeling so lonely because they were really UNfriendly, I was nearly in tears on the subway, and I looked down from the subway ads, and realized I was standing directly in front of my husband.

    It turned out to be one of my favorite jobs.

    1. Tigger*

      If that is how y’all meet that is adorable! If you were already married that’s awesome that you had a train buddy! lol

      1. TootsNYC*

        we were already married–we didn’t end up being train buddies even though he worked further out on the same subway line (I think it’s really hard to be “train buddies” on the subway), it’s just that on this one night, when I needed confirmation that I’d made the right decision, he happened to be sitting directly in front of where I ended up standing.

        It really did feel like an intentional message to me.

          1. Aimee*

            This made me smile. I’m not super-superstitious, but signs are real and you found one! The advice to give it time and think of the positive is great.

            1. Mrs_helm*

              I think we should have a Friday discussion thread on “signs from the universe” that you picked the right job. I’ve had a few of these happen!

  2. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    Except for one job, where I quit after a few days because the boss just gave me the creeps (not sure why exactly- there were a few red flags in the interview process- but every time I interacted with him I just felt like he was a lizard person. He just seemed… wrong?). Anyhoo, I always give myself three weeks in a new job before I think about if I like it or not. It takes me that much time to feel settled and knowledgeable in a new setting.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      You don’t need to know why you’re creeped out to be creeped out. The gut knows what the gut knows.

      I only had one where I was done within a week. The owner was a screamer, I heard her wailing at a crew member within a few days and I never went back. I don’t do screaming.

    2. Clay on my apron*

      I once left a job after 3 days. Nothing wrong with the job or the people, but it wasn’t right for me. If I’d had more experience interviewing I might have asked better questions.

    3. hayling*

      Barring anything crazy, I always give it 3 weeks before I decide how I feel about a job. I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so 3 weeks seems like the amount of time it takes to settle in a bit.

    4. CatMintCat*

      I left a job on my first lunch hour once. He’d spent the morning yelling at me and I rang my mother at lunch time wailing “What do I dooooo?” (I was 17, there was some excuse). She asked if I had everything that belonged to me with me and when I said yes, said “Go home”.

      That bloke still owes me half a day’s pay but, as it’s more than 40 years ago, I don’t think I’ll bother trying to collect.

    5. Sara without an H*

      Three weeks seems awfully short to me. I’d give it more like three months.

      BTW, this advice obviously does not apply if you find yourself reporting to a lizard person…

    6. That Girl From Quinn's House*

      I’ve had some Disaster Jobs, and I have to say, in those jobs, in retrospect, by a month in I’d gathered ample information to determine what the Serious Problems were. I’d talk myself into giving myself more time to settle in… and the already-identified problems all continued to snowball until I determined that the job was actually Covered in All the Toxic Super Bees and ended up moving on around the 90 day mark.

      Each time I regretted not saying no earlier, because by giving it three months instead of one month, it had solidified into a bad situation where I’d dropped some application balls because I’d already had a job, where I was starting to get my confidence and stress levels harmed by the toxic environments, and in some situations, I ended up being treated like a chump or a trespasser due to toxic behaviors in the new workplace. Had I just gracefully said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t seem to be on the same page here, I’m going to step down,” it would have been a lot less stressful for me and anyone else involved at that point.

  3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

    Every job I’ve had, the first 6-8 weeks involve talking myself out of running away due to all the new things you have to get used to. And all my jobs that I’ve stayed in over that length of time, I’ve loved in the end.

    It’s just the change that’s spooking you. You’ll ease into it soon. As noted in the response, these are normal homesickness and stresses from a life change that wear off!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      Yep. And then I have another relapse about three months in, where I feel like I “should” know everything and be up to speed now, but I’m still struggling or unclear about things and have to go back and ask more questions! Totally normal and natural.

      1. hbc*

        That is exactly me right now, so thank you. It’s been 10 years since I changed organizations, so either I’ve forgotten what it’s like or am reacting this way now because I’m stepping straight into a leadership role. (I tend to start as a peon and wow my way up.)

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          It’s hard to enter a job as a leadership role. When you work into it, you don’t get the same “thrown into the deep end” feeling. I grew up in my job that I left after a decade. Then I went to where I was the boss of people who I had to learn the business from the ground up AND be responsible for them having the support they needed. It was a bumpy ride but I got it under control within a couple months, then a few months to gain their respect and trust! Instead before, everyone trusted me and knew me for years before they needed to take direction from me in the end!

    2. Circe*

      Same here! Every job I start, I have a crisis of regret during the first two weeks. Now that it’s happened enough, I can recognize it and move on. Starting a new job is legitimately scary because it’s just full of new things. I’ve been in enough jobs that start terrible and go well, and enough that started well and fell apart that, barring any red flags, if I get through the first 90 days, it’ll be fine after that.

    3. peachie*

      This is how I’ve felt every time I moved, too. The first night especially is always really weird and sad for me, but that’s almost never an actual reflection of how much I’ll like where I am.

    4. londonedit*

      This is absolutely my experience too. My first week or so in any new job will inevitably involve several ‘Aaaaargh I don’t know anything, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’ll never figure any of this out, everyone must think I’m so rubbish, why did I take this job, it’s too scary’ moments. Change is scary, and when you’re in the middle of that panic you do get nostalgic for the comfort and safety of your previous job.

      But there will come a point, however many weeks and months down the line, where someone will ask you something and you’ll respond and you’ll suddenly realise that hey, you DO know what you’re talking about. And then you’ll realise that you’re no longer panicked – yes, you’ll most likely still have plenty of questions, and you’ll still probably feel like you’re not totally sure on everything, and that’s normal, but you’ll realise that you’re getting into a groove and you’re not the newbie anymore.

  4. Erin*

    FWIW I had someone join our team who had exactly the same feelings as you – that she’d made a mistake and wanted her old job back – and she did leave and go back. They took her back. It was hard on us, as we’d had other issues with hiring to say the least and actually never did fill that position, but I suppose it’s better than staying in a job you know isn’t for you.

    That said, I strongly feel you should give it more time than a week. Good luck with what you decide!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      I do think that reflects somewhat badly on your new hire, for what it’s worth! Although of course there could be greater issues than what we’re presented with here. Maybe the job was a step back in responsibility or something. But if she just got lonely, I think that seems rather off.

    2. Need a Beach*

      The cynic in me assumes that she told you this sob story to hide the fact that she was using your company to get a raise at the old place.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s also possible she left for the right reasons, then was called after she left with a counter offer.

        I took a new job and my old job threw so much money at me, I ended up staying another year. I was able to adjust my new job to part time that first year with a promise I’d go full time after my last job wound down.

        But I was honest about it all. I don’t know why the person wouldn’t just say “they offered me a 20% raise to come back.” and either try for a bidding war or to leave on a truthful note.

        I assume it’s more likely a culture clash in the end.

    3. Kathleen_A*

      Hmm, well, the realist in me guesses that there were other problems with the job, and she said she’d made a mistake just because it sounded a lot nicer than “I’m so sorry, but I really dislike this new job!” or “my coworkers!” or “my boss!”

      But I have known people (four, to be exact) to come back to the organization where I work now because they realized they’d made a mistake. I don’t think any of them got a raise because they just don’t give raises around here for that reason.

  5. Clay on my apron*

    It’s really normal to feel “homesick” for a while. You’re also completely out of your comfort zone. It will take a while to settle.

    Something to remember though is that at some jobs you make great friends and at other you don’t. My best ever work friends are from my first job (25+ years ago), 2nd job (20 years ago) and my 4th job (about 10 years ago). Those friendships lasted long after I’d left those companies. At my current job (and the last one), I’ve made friendly acquaintances. That’s okay too. Each place and group of people has different potential.

    Good luck with your new job, I’m sure it will start to feel comfortable soon!

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      That’s true, OP may realistically not be as emotionally close with these coworkers, and that’s actually okay too. If you really miss your old coworkers, maybe you can continue to see them socially! Or maybe you need to make new friends outside of work. It doesn’t mean that the job isn’t the right move for your future and your career.

    2. Cassandra Mortmain*

      This is very true — and just as it’s nice to have work friends you see every day, there are also some upsides to working somewhere a little less buddy-buddy. (You can say no to an obligation without fearing it’ll bounce back onto a friend, you might work more efficiently, you won’t get caught up in potentially toxic gossip/complaint cycles, etc.)

      But it’s also WAY too early to tell! I made only one friend at my second job, but we are still close years after we both left the company. I remember us as being instantly inseparable, but actually we didn’t meet until about a month after I started.

      Hang in there! New jobs are tough, even when they’re the right move.

      1. Bostonian*

        Yes, there’s a trade off. I can relate- I was much “closer” friends with people at my last job, but there was also a lot of inappropriate behavior that went unchecked and an overall lack of boundaries. Even if there’s a part of me that misses that “closeness”, I’m so glad to now be in a workplace that is sane and professional.

        OP- Maybe as you’re getting to know people at work, you can lean on your personal friendships outside of work more so you don’t feel the loneliness sting as much.

    3. CM*

      I liked the word “homesick” too — this is so much like moving far from home, where for a long time it feels so lonely and unfamiliar, and you wonder if you made a huge mistake! (I think breakups can be like this too — any big life transition.) Alison said to give it a month — I’d suggest six months or maybe a year before you even think about whether this was a good or bad idea. Expect settling in to feel uncomfortable, but you made this change for a reason and chances are you’ll eventually be glad you did.

  6. LaurenB*

    I could have written this letter. I’m now five months into my new job and I’ve found that I’m getting to know people, and that I’m getting used to less social interaction during the day. The latter makes me a bit sad but I try to remind myself of all the negative aspects of that interaction: the gossip, the completely ineffective people who were universally beloved because they tagged co-workers all day on Facebook, and the fact that the people I got along with could decide to move on if they wanted career advancement somewhere else, leaving me with no big group of work friends and a boring job.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      It’s true, to be honest it probably takes me the better part of a year in a new job to feel like I’ve regained the respect / comfort that I had in previous jobs – but that’s okay. (Of course, I shouldn’t be miserable or regretting my decision all that time!! Just that I have to accept being slightly outside of my comfort zone).

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Have you rocked the boat a little and encouraged more social interactions to give yourself a bit more of what you’re missing?

      It’s a delicate line to walk of course! I successfully warmed up an office that’s spread out and on the quiet side by actively finding engaging methods. I decorate my area to be inviting and an open door when I’m not on the phone. My formally quiet coworkers now pop in or wave/smile/small talk a ton more knowing I’m welcoming their interactions. I’ll also take people things instead of sending them a form to print out or go downstairs if I have a quick question. It’s all in moderation. If I go to someone, notice them on the phone or swamped with work, I scurry away and e-mail.

      In our case it’s stricken a balance and everyone is much happier over all, they just didn’t want to bother me and previous people in my spot were “difficult” for a lack of a better word.

      I’m not talking about completely trying to change the culture but shift it ever so slightly so you’re getting more interaction and the others aren’t being asked to change their ways drastically!

    3. Jen S. 2.0*

      Agree with this. OP left her job for very good reasons. If everything were perfect, she would not have started looking in the first place. It’s just easier to remember the good stuff now than the stuff that made you leave.

    4. Blue*

      I’m in the same position as you – about six months in the new position, and while I’m clearly getting more respect from colleagues, socialization is just minimal here. Sometimes I feel like I speak to no one all day. I’m an introvert so I don’t need a lot of social interaction, but that was still a difficult transition. But…I’ve gotten used to it. It doesn’t bother me as much now. And I have made much more of an effort to set up social activities outside of work, to compensate. I even still hang out with some friends from my old office (met one of them for brunch this weekend, in fact!) So while it may not be my dream work environment, there are lots of things that are good, and I’m adapting to the less ideal things. In all, I’d say it was the right choice.

  7. AnotherAlison*

    Regarding the (un)social coworkers, definitely give that time. My department has been evolving a lot over the past 6 months, with people changing roles, a revision to the department structure, and multiple new hires. We have 6 people starting this month in a department that’s around 40 people (or it least it was 40 6 months ago). If you aren’t at your desk when the new person is brought around for introductions, it’s hard to keep straight who is who, who is brand new this week, and who has been here 3 months. I’ll say hello eventually. . .

    1. Alternative Person*

      Yeah, my main workplace tends to cycle through a lot of people as they tend to come to my branch for interviews/on-boarding before being settled at other branches but sometimes help out at my branch and my schedule is jacked-up for a lot of reasons meaning I don’t necessarily have time to properly meet/get to know new staff, so I figure I just say hello and be decently pleasant and apologize if I forget peoples names. Works well enough.

  8. Fried Eggs*

    OP, I’m in the first week of a new job too. At my last job I got a lot of social interaction from my coworkers. At the new one there’s basically none. I miss my coworkers so much! You’re not alone.

    People keep asking me how the new job is and I don’t know how to answer. I don’t know! it’s only been two days!

  9. Canonical23*

    LW, it takes time! I started a new job 5 months ago and I am just starting to feel like I fit in and that the work is right for me. I came from a much more sociable work environment as well, and felt homesick so so much at a much more professional, slightly stiff work culture – what really helped me was to constantly remind myself why I left the old job and to find things within my new work that I didn’t have an opportunity to do before. One of my first projects was to redesign a website and I would tell myself: “you didn’t have the chance to do this at your old job.”

    In addition, if you’re still in the same city, it really really helps to go out (platonically) with old coworkers. I would meet up with a few old coworkers every weekend for coffee or a drink and it helped assuage my feelings of loneliness. You get to catch up on what happened at work, get some socialization that you aren’t really getting at work, and it helps develop non-work friendships! One of my now best friends was an old coworker of mine – we’ve both moved on to new jobs, but getting a beer every Saturday night when I had started my new job meant the world to me.

    1. Sloan Kittering*

      My new job has been a rollercoaster, where some days I’m grateful I switched – and other times (after almost a year) I still miss things about prior workplaces. But we have to adapt to change and be flexible. I know there’s things I’m learning that will end up being useful in my career and that things won’t stay the same no matter what. For example, even if I still worked at my last job there are lots of things that would be different now. C’est la vie.

    2. Blue*

      Met an old coworker for brunch this weekend, and hearing the update about how things have gone since I left over the summer made me very, very glad I bailed. There are definitely things I miss about that job, but I know the office I remember doesn’t exist anymore, so that helps with any nostalgia. :)

  10. Tangerina Warbleworth*

    Do you know the phrase “Jedi hugs” from Captain Awkward? Sending Jedi hugs, as I have been there. Left a good job because of a toxic director, was so unhappy on my first day of New Job that I called a colleague and just cried. It truly is culture shock. New Job worked out fine, but I felt unmoored for a while. Feel what you feel, and give it time.

  11. LadeeDa*

    Not sure if it has been mentioned yet. But it is a good idea not to align yourself with one group or clique or person right away. You don’t know everyone yet, you don’t know the culture yet, and you don’t other people’s reputations. All those things are important to consider before being too friendly with people in the office.

    You’ll adjust soon and have a work buddy or two! I am sure of it! Good luck!

  12. JLH*

    Hang in there, OP.

    My on-boarding at my current job is one that really requires a “pull up your seat and check this out” background, but abridged, I relocated out of my city to a new one because the person I was hired to assist out of a satellite office gave notice with no warning she had even been looking and my employer had to think on their feet. It went from “work hard and in a year you’ll get your own caseload” to “here’s 100 cases three weeks in”. I already had nerves about starting a new field, but the promise of money and responsibility got me hooked. I frequently joke that when I said in my interview I wanted a challenge, they didn’t have to over-deliver for me.

    I say all this to say that every other day I was nervous that I wasn’t fitting in, and that I was in over my head, and JFC I should’ve just stayed in my old job. But I think that being uncomfortable is imperative to growth, and while I can’t guarantee that your situation could be similar, I can guarantee that you will be okay regardless. This is me coming to you one day before my one-year mark :)

    Also try to keep in mind that we as humans have this desire to call back things that ultimately become a time and not a place. You want to return to a memory right now. It’s not possible. And it’s unlikely you find something the exact same. But what you do have can become great- and I hope it does.

    And as my mom always tell me, it’s never too late to pivot. If you put in good time and it’s not for you- on to the next one. I’m rooting for you!

  13. Antilles*

    In addition to everything said above, it’s also worth taking a long look at how you remember your old job and checking how accurate your memory is. It’s near-universal among humans to remember only the good parts and mentally minimize the worst parts. Few examples:
    >When you’re remembering the fun times with co-workers, are you also remembering the time spent frustrated after your annual performance review hearing yet again there’s no budget for raises? Both of those were part of your old job; focusing only on the good part is ignoring the downside that came with it.
    >When you’re thinking about how close you were with your former co-workers, how much of that was immediately? It’s not really fair to compare the relationship you have with co-workers who you’ve known for 3 years with your new teammates you’ve known for 3 days.
    >When you’re wistfully remembering how great it was to go out for drinks afterwards, is the frequency accurate? Or are you actually remembering 10 different happy hours over the course of two years?
    And so on. I’d guess that if you really sit down and think through everything in detail, you’ll remember a lot more details which you’ve forgotten that will help remind you of the flaws in your old workplace…which will probably make you a bit more happy and patient about the new job.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is good advice as well.

      I just saw some old coworkers awhile back. They knew how miserable I was in the end and mentioned how much I hated the place in a soft “You’re missed but we know you needed to go” fashion. My mind was focused directly on the good memories however. I even pushed back with “well I didn’t hate it…I love you guys.” “We love you too but gurrrl you hated your job, we don’t blame you, it was a zoo.”

    2. TootsNYC*

      When you’re thinking about how close you were with your former co-workers, how much of that was immediately? It’s not really fair to compare the relationship you have with co-workers who you’ve known for 3 years with your new teammates you’ve known for 3 days.

      This is one thing I did. I mentioned above the job I started that had me in tears because it was so not-friendly and I wasn’t engaged at any work yet.

      That un-friendly-ness lasted a while, but I reminded myself that at my previous job, there had been a long period of feeling really not-welcomed by people, and that it had ended gradually.

      Part of it is that I find it harder to make friends, the older I get.

    3. merp*

      This was my thought as well. OP, you know you had reasons to job search in the first place. Trust the decision that your former self made and know that it was based on real things that were important to you. Being the new kid on the block is hard (I am still making work friends a year in, how is this so hard for me) but give it time to see if it’s worth it! Hope you settle in soon!

    4. Tau*

      Was totally coming here to point out something like this.

      I’m 1.5 years into my new job and occasionally feel homesick for my last one. Rationally, I know that place was a mess of dysfunction in lots of ways and my new job is really much much better. (Also, I’m no longer living with my coworkers during the week and don’t have a 4+ hour each way journey to occasionally wave hi to my actual flat on weekends. Silver linings!) But I don’t think of the bad parts when I think back on it, while every time I run into one of the bits that was better for me at LastJob than this one (e.g.: way more meetings now) I start getting nostalgic. It’s OK up to a point, but it’s on me to remember that my rose-colored glasses are not the full picture.

    5. Alternative Person*

      Yeah, a previous company I worked for did a lot of things well, with quite a few very good people, better than my current main job in fact, but going through my diary entries from that time, and catching up with the people I’m still in contact with reminds me of the dysfunction (we refer to a certain form of job-related stupidity as ‘Doing a ‘) and how stressed I was, especially in the months up to leaving.

  14. Lana Kane*

    This is so normal! You went from a not ideal, but comfortable, situation, to a brand new one. All the reasons you changed jobs are changes for you, and have probably not all manifested themselves yet in your day-to-day. You are learning new things, adapting to new people…and change can be uncomfortable. When change gets uncomfortable it’s natural to start to reach for what did feel comfortable. But comfortable isn’t how we grow! Don’t panic, just take it day by day and try to keep thinking about all the reasons you made the move. Time will tell if this was the right move for you – but you can’t decide that yet.

  15. seashell*

    The best job advice I’ve received and still use is that it takes 6 months to warm up to a new job and 1 year to feel comfortable. Terrifying to receive but I found it was 100% true for me (just finished my first year at a new job that I started last January).

    1. Lils*

      I came here to say the same thing. I’m surprised by the people saying they are able to feel comfortable after a few weeks; I think this might depend on the type of work you’re doing and how experienced you are. I have changed jobs a number of times and it takes me a solid year to fell comfortable. This is true for new organizations or a promotion within my existing organization. If you are managing people in addition to doing whatever work the job entails, I think it takes longer. I find acknowledging this year-long acclimation period makes it easier for me–I remind myself over and over that I’m still getting used to things, still learning, still orienting, etc. I am more forgiving of myself. Although I do agree with Alison that you should consider leaving if you see big ol red flags immediately. Good luck to you!

  16. Sled dog mama*

    It’s been 2 years since my last job change and I sometimes still have this thought.
    I have to remind myself that the people I miss working with have also moved on and the community I miss no longer exists as it was. The company has changed hands, twice.
    I try to focus on the positive things like where I am now is so much better for me personally. I have an awesome manager who supports me in getting out early to go to my kid’s events.

    1. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      Same…I still feel like a newbie nearly 3 years in. BUT, I have build up very good professional relationships at work and have a handful of work “buds”. I miss my old job/company, but I *know* it is not the same (part of a massive layoff, but it was a great place to work). I keep in touch with old work buds once in a while over a happy hour and it’s really those proven connections that won’t ever break.

  17. ellis55*

    I just went though this! You are so not alone. I am just now at my 3-month mark and I’m starting to feel settled. There’s a reason most probationary periods are around 90 days. It takes about that long to really dig in and start to do the work and see where you fit.

    Something that helps me when I start to feel overwhelmed with “newness” is to try to come up with one thing every day that I feel grateful for vs my old job. It could be something small (I love my new office space!) or it could be something large (my new salary helps me afford to do more fun things). Every time I get flustered, I refer back to my list and put it in perspective. Remember, you left for a REASON. Center that reason! Really reflect on it. You can do this!

  18. mf*

    In a work environment where people are busier and more engaged, it may take longer for your coworkers to open up and get to know you. That’s just a function of how much time they have to socialize, not how much they like you!

    But make sure you’re making an effort to get to know people. I’ve found that often I have to go out of my way to socialize with people when I’m the new person at work (or in other environments). People tend to want to socialize with coworkers that they already know and may not make an effort to strike up a conversation with me. But when I put in the effort to initiate a friendly watercooler chat, people are almost always respond positively.

    1. Lana Kane*

      This is a good point. If it’s a busy office people are likely wrapped up in their work, but it doesn’t mean they will react negatively to a friendly approach.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Also in the beginning, they have few reasons to come to you. They’re letting you learn and acclimate to your job.

      It takes people about 2-3 months each time to start feeling like I have their answers. I went from overwhelmingly quiet days to my door being where everyone stops first.

      Now I’m the go to for accounting and HR of course but also “do you know if we ordered that?” “where do we keel the hulu hoops?” “why are we having pizza?” “when did the forklift last get it’s oil changed? What kind of oil did we use? Can you buy some, we’re def out of that.” “is Nancy coming in today?” yadda yadda yadda.

    3. Ophelia*

      Also, OP doesn’t mention how old she is or how long she’s been in the workforce, but I found that when I was younger, and had less responsibility, I was in a pool of young people who also were in that same boat. The combination of youth and low-level tasks yielded a LOT of socialization, in the office and out (happy hours, etc.). Now that I’m older, I do still have good relationships and friendships with co-workers, but we have less down time at work, and more obligations outside it, so the type of relationship is quite different. (I realize that there’s no hard and fast rule that young people have fewer responsibilities, but on the whole it seems to be the trend.)

      1. Tyche*

        Yes, that’s also true.
        I have a good relationship with my coworkers, but most of them have spouses and children, so it is more difficult to socialize outside work hours. I think it’s normal with an “older” workspace.

  19. Probably time to go*

    Agree this is normal – but I’m now 2 years into my job, and still pretty much feel that way. How long is it expected to last?

    1. Maybe not?*

      What specifically about your workplace is making you feel this way? Maybe your coworkers think they are being social/fun and your idea of that is different?

      1. Probably time to go*

        Not even about being social or fun….I can find social and fun outside the office. Nobody talks to each other here.

        I only am able to talk to my direct manager for one time 30 minutes per week. He does not respond to my emails – even though we are supposed to be working on the same project. All feedback is about how my work is meaningless or not worthwhile , despite having a completely different reaction/interaction from the rest of my colleagues. I knew my manager professionally for 4 years before taking this role (he recruited me) and thought we had a pretty solid professional relationship.

        Within the rest of the team, it’s a tossup of whether you will be ignored or yelled at in any given meeting.
        Despite being 20yrs into my career, I have substantially less autonomy and less authority than I had in my last role. It seems to be condoned that its ok to treat people who are different than you as if they are stupid or incompetent. I am both the wrong gender and cultural descent to have a long career here. (I am a woman, but not a “visible minority”)

        Broadly, the company treats anyone who has been here less than about 5 years as a newbie. Lots of people with 20yr+ tenure.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

          Nope nope nope. They’re toxic. It’ll never change. WTF BEING IGNORED BY YOU’RE MANAGER *head explodes* And being told your job is meaningless…that’s emotionally draining and damaging.

        2. Maybe not?*

          Have you brought up any of your concerns with your boss? Does he communicate better via phone? You mentioned him not answering emails but some people just aren’t good with email. Can you text him your questions if you’re not in the office at the same times? Was his tone always the same or has it changed in the course of the 2 years?

          Other than that, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to keep an eye out for other opportunities.

          1. Probably time to go*

            I’ll post more in the Friday open thread. Don’t want to take this too far off of the original post.

        3. n*

          I feel your pain. I am in a very similar position (though not nearly as far along in my career as you are, so I imagine that must be even more frustrating). All of the people who succeed here are tall white men. I will never be a tall white man, so I guess it’s time to face that I too am the wrong gender and race to succeed here.

        4. JediSquirrel*

          I am both the wrong gender and cultural descent to have a long career here. (I am a woman, but not a “visible minority”)

          As a white-passing biracial (Anglo/Mexican-American) male, I get this. I grew up in a small town where despite my pale skin, my Anglo name, and my perfect no-accent English, everybody in town knew who I was related to and what I was. Despite excellent grades and work ethics, I could only get farming jobs in high school. It wasn’t until I went away to college, where people judged me on who I was in the moment, rather than on who I was related to, that I realized what was going on. And for the longest time, I just figured that people in my college town were just so much nicer than people in my hometown.

          Since then, I’ve had people ask what my heritage is. Mind you, this always comes from other POC, never white people. One job back, our front-end manager (a delightful African-American lady; I really miss working with her) asked me straight-up “What are you? Because you’re not white.” She was both blunt and right. But the TLDR is that if POC can pick up on this, then definitely OWP (Ordinary White People) can pick up on this, as well. And this may be part of what you are experiencing. It’s really hard to tell. But it does sound as if your company does not value, or even devalues, diversity of any kind.

          it’s a tossup of whether you will be ignored or yelled at in any given meeting

          No, just no. It’s never okay to yell at employees. Raise your voice? Yes. Gesture emphatically? Yes.

          But yell? Swear? Pound your fist on the conference table?

          Nope. Never acceptable.

          “Probably time to go” was probably a long time ago. This job is not the droid you were looking for.

          Move along, move along.

          1. Probably time to go*

            Ironically, I am Caucasian (realize now that my last post sounded misleading)
            The vast majority of my colleagues & especially the ones with long careers/advancement opportunities are from the same foreign country. They would be a visible minority in the broader US, but make up ~70%+ of the staff.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      2 years is a lot. I’ve never had it last longer than a year but my job is very easily capped at a year. It’s on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual calendar in terms of the work itself. So by a year it’s clear my skills fit but at 2 years I would start feeling that it’s not a good culture fit!

  20. Hey Karma, Over here.*

    I’ll try to put a positive spin on how you are feeling. You feel like you don’t fit in, don’t belong yet. This is something that comes with time. That is the only way that will change. And it will. You may never feel as comfortable in your new place as your old, or you may. Its just not something that happens right away. Things that do happen right away:
    Do you like the training you are getting? Do you like the physical office? The commute, the salary, benefits?
    Make yourself list things you do like, and try to give the positive stuff as much room as the negative.

  21. kobayashi*

    Allison’s advice is spot on. I’ve changed long-term jobs a few times. Once, I was laid off during the recession after five years. I loved the job and the people. When I started the next job, I experienced a lot of what you’re going through. I missed my old coworkers (I did schedule a lunch or two with a couple former coworkers that I had really clicked with). But after a couple of months, I got into the swing of things at my new job and made new connections and friendships. Give it some time.

  22. KitKat100000*

    Like many things in life, you need time to adjust! Six months has always worked well as a timeline for me: new job, new city, new school, new relationship, new hobby, new gym, etc. Try it for six months! If it doesn’t work out, it was only six months, but by that time you will have a much better feel! Good luck!

  23. Tigger*

    OP, I totally understand where you are coming from. I went from a job I hated was for a recognizable brand. I had amazing offices in the heart of downtown, amazing coworkers, a hr that allowed the fun committee to actually do their job (march madness beer pong tourneys!!!!), and being able to tell people I work for well-known brand but I needed to get away from a toxic boss. Now I work in a tiny office, where I am the youngest by 20 years, in a bland office park in the suburbs. Do I miss the culture of well-known job? yes. Did I cry every day for a month cause I am not friendly with my coworkers? yes. Is this the right place for me? HELL YES.

    Give yourself 2 months to get settled. If you still hate it then move on.

  24. Miss V*

    I cried on the drive home the first three days of my new job. 11 months in now and I love it. It’s totally normal to feel like you made a mistake because change is scary.

  25. My story*

    I’ve been at this job for almost 5 years now. I remember when I first started, the girl who previously held my position and I overlapped for one week so that she could get me up to speed. Let’s call her Liz. Liz is/was well-liked by everyone in the office and people were going to miss her. One of the other employees, Jane gave her a big hug when she saw her on Monday, the day I started.

    When Liz introduced me to Jane, Jane gave me a stoic “hi” and a handshake. I remembered telling myself “She doesn’t hate you, she doesn’t know you!” and these days, whenever Jane is in the office (she doesn’t come in often), she gives me a hug too.

    So it really does take time for people to warm up to you, and learn what you do.

  26. CurlywhirlyCanuck*

    I’ve usually had the same reaction to a new haircut as I have to a new job; no matter how much I wanted it beforehand, or how much it suits me, it takes a while for it to really feel like ‘me’. The unease and sense of not being at home seem to just be part of the process of adapting to change, and not necessarily a sign that the job is a poor fit, or the environment unwelcoming.

  27. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

    I feel like I could’ve written this myself too. I’m just shy of 3 weeks into the new job, and I miss all my old coworkers. One of them even came to my wedding last year with his family. My old job was really nice for where I used to live, and my circumstances back then. However, if I ever wanted to have a family or even a house, staying at Old Job wouldn’t be possible. Even though the pay was great, the company was tiny, offered no maternity leave, no pet insurance, no telework options, and I’d be the teapot point of contact forever, instead of working my way up to junior teapot manager plus 2 certifications. The New Job has excellent leave policies, pet insurance, and has the money to willingly pay for training that Old Job used to promise on but never delivered. Even though I haven’t met a bunch of people yet, my new managers seem firm and fair (Old Job’s was micromanagey as ever). And I tell myself—in order to grow, I need to take myself out of my own comfort zone, and that this new job, as scary as it may seem, will get me one step closer to owning a house (knock on wood), having a pet, and someday have kids in a healthy work-life balance.

    1. Grand Mouse*

      Oh wow congrats. I’ve never heard about pet insurance and didn’t know it was a thing, especially not to expect from a company. Could you share a little about it?

      1. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

        Pet insurance: covers up to 2 pets for standard vet visits and saves money on emergency surgery. Generally is offered for only very large companies.

  28. I usually lurk*

    This post spoke to me, though I’m not sure I have any helpful advice!

    I’d been at a job I liked for three years when I got invited to apply for the managing editor position at a literary magazine where I’d worked (and loved) in grad school. I felt uneasy about leaving my (flexible, fun, albeit occasionally boring) job in advertising for a more challenging one, especially with a young kid, but I did it. Two and a half weeks in I was miserable: I hadn’t yet been assigned a computer (the lit mag was run through the university, so someone in purchasing had control over this, not me), (some of) the grad students I was managing acted pretty entitled (though I don’t think I’d have enjoyed managing anyone), and the former managing editor gave me almost literally zero information about how to do the job in I believe what was an effort to not step on my toes. I constantly felt like I was in the middle of political departmental battles, and when I asked what annual budget I was working with to run the magazine, the former managing editor looked at me like I had three heads (I still haven’t figured that one out, but I think she just asked the trust for more money when needed, and they approved it as she asked?)

    I quit and went back to my old job. It was incredibly embarrassing, because all of my friends and acquaintances knew I’d taken the new position, and because my husband had made a HUGE GIANT DEAL about how cool it was that I was now the boss, etc., etc., etc. Not to mention that it was the job I’d dreamed of for years! But now, a year later, I’m SO much happier and less stressed out, and I’ve learned about myself that I do not want to manage people, and that I prefer working in an organization with more structures in place (for example, an IT department!) rather than troubleshooting everything myself — some people like that stuff and are good at it, but the freedom and responsibility were too much for me. Yeah, it would have been awesome to copy edit fiction and poetry instead of ad copy, but I can say honestly that I don’t regret my choice.

    Your situation sounds a little bit more like growing pains and less like dysfunction or, as it was for me, a bad fit in terms of responsibilities. I bet it will get a lot better. Good luck!

  29. Jess*

    I could have written this last year, OP. I was so miserable at my new job at first that I cried when they filled my old job because it meant I couldn’t go back. Changing jobs can be so hard – it’s a huge, and underrated, life change.

    But almost a year on I’m SO GLAD I made the move. There are still some things I miss about the old place, but much more that’s great about the new, and I’m still in touch with the colleagues I loved from my old job. Hang in there.

  30. Archaeopteryx*

    One week is way too early to judge how social the office is or isn’t. If you’re an extrovert or otherwise used to acting chummy with people right away, it might feel standoffish, but lots of people prefer to get to know people more organically. Personally I’m kind of put off when people show up and expect to act like close friends right away when we haven’t even gotten to know each other yet.

    Certainly they should be friendly and polite, but until you’ve established a few weeks of polite chats and working together, I wouldn’t expect any more in-depth chats right away. It will come in time, just be open to getting to know people.

  31. wittyrepartee*

    It took me around 7 months to get used to my current job. I’m really really happy here though. It’s just hard to transition.

  32. Baffled*

    At my current job, 30% of my department left for a new job and came back. (For most people, their return was a matter of a couple of months). We previously had several other employees who left, came back, then left again; they’re not here presently, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one day we get an email saying that they are once again returning. The one employee actually did this THREE times. I understand managers once in awhile hiring someone back if the employee makes a really compelling case for their new position just not being what they expected, and the original company being a better environment for them to contribute their skillset. But I’ve never worked at a place that does this habitually. To give some context, this is not a field where there are seasonal periods of unemployment. These are all full-time, year-round office positions in a healthcare setting.

    But does anyone else work at a place where this is not the exception but the norm? At my company, it has created some friction. It seems the only way to get ahead is to leave and come back. Raises for current employees are hard to come by – but if you leave for somewhere with a higher salary, our management might take you back at a better rate! None of this makes any sense at all.

    1. Sara without an H*

      Hi, Baffled — I had an employee leave once, then come back three years later. (She missed working in higher education, we had an opening she’d be perfect for, etc. She even took a slight pay cut to come back.) But the kind of in-and-out stuff you’re describing is something I’ve never seen in a 30+ year career.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      When you mentioned healthcare, I was less shocked by the return rate. My mom has seen people leave and come back during her time in a long term care facility. You leave to work at a different facility under different managers and realize you hate the people or practices and scurry back. They are always hiring so it patches schedules nicely as well.

      I have returned only once in all my years because the job I left for was a disaster after the first few days (unstable owner who was way too loud with an explosive temper, nope!).

      I have an old boss who would give me a job if one was available if I moved back to the area but that’s because I left to due to relocation. He tried bribing me to stay put and was hoping I could take over his other business so his wife can retire.

      But just a large run if the mill company within a relatively low turnover rate industry, that’s bananas.

      1. Clementine*

        I’ve seen lots of people come back to the same companies, and this has been the case at 4 companies I’ve worked at. I’ve even heard of people doing it two or three times. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t be the case, if the employee is known to be good, and matches the company’s needs.

  33. OhGee*

    It has taken three months for me to feel like I fit in at my new job at all — and I *hated* my last job. Give it time!

  34. Airkewl Pwaroe*

    Despair not, OP! I was exactly where you are, a year ago. I was so homesick for my wonderful coworkers, and my known turf- I missed knowing where to go for everything I needed, all the little tells that something’s going on (co-founder #3 is wearing a shirt with buttons on it, must be meeting with VCs today), and my job that where I knew my value and my place.
    A year on, I’m unspeakably glad I worked through it. I’ve had opportunities and experiences I’d never have had in OldJob. I treasure my new coworkers’ lack of drama and competence. And it turns out that a lot of the quiet was because the company was about to be acquired, so there was real and exciting upside!
    Hang in there, it’ll get better. Or if it doesn’t, you’ll make it anyways

  35. Sara without an H*

    Hello, OP —
    What you’re feeling is perfectly normal, but it’s not a sign you’ve made a mistake. I’ve always needed at least 6 months to feel at home in a job, and it’s usually been 12 months, or a full budget cycle, before I felt like I was on top of the job.

    One thing I’ll suggest to you just for consideration: Do you rely on your co-workers for all your social stimulation? If so, it may be time to start the admittedly hard and time-consuming process of building up a social network outside your job. You may not have time to take this on just now — new jobs take a lot of time and energy — but when things start to settle down at work, start looking for some ways to build a life and interests elsewhere. Book groups, animal rescue, religious groups, political groups, environmental groups, whatever interests you — find something and start building a social circle outside the office.

  36. Anoncorporate*

    I feel like Alison read my mind or something because this is exactly something I worry about. My current job has no potential whatsoever, but I love the working environment and coworkers. Even if my next job has better pay and prestige, I’m afraid I will be lonely.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I found myself moving jobs back to back in recent years due to life changes (relocation 2x) and then a toxic waste dump of a boss. Each time, even the waste dump, I got along well with my coworkers. Just like how often do you get new coworkers? How easily do you absorb them into your folds? For us, new people who want to be are welcomed with open arms! So I understand your hesitation but by staying only “for the kids” means you’re probably missing out on knowing others who are just as awesome as your coworkers now.

      My crew at Toxic Waste Dump was truly amazing and leaving them sucked. I keep in touch still and would hire them elsewhere if a job ever opens up in their expertise!

      1. Anoncorporate*

        Thank you for this insight – this is helpful. I’m currently in my first “real job”, and have never had a second one. So it’s probably just fear of the unknown!

      2. JediSquirrel*

        Wow. I hope to someday refer to my current job as “the job formerly known as the Toxic Waste Dump”.

        insert "I'm gonna steal this gif" here

  37. Lilian*

    ” I might be reading way too much into your letter, but at many organizations with boring work and no room for advancement or growth, people can end up particularly social with each other”

    I found this to be so true, although in my previous place of work we ended up bonding over dysfunction and frustration. I was in a vibrant, extremely social company with an average age of 27 and felt very comfortable with the environment, but as OP, had to leave for career reasons. I moved to a company with a much older, independent and not very social staff, and although I felt very lonely at first and was wondering if I could ever fit in, but I’m 4 years in now and it was the best decision in my life. I found that I became less social myself, in a good way – I didn’t even realize it was too much at my previous place of work. And we still chat at the coffee machine and go out for drinks with the more social folks – you will probably find each other! It definitely takes some time, but just because you feel lonely it doesn’t mean you made a mistake.

      1. JediSquirrel*

        Agreed. My current workplace used to be great and we had morning teas and beer Fridays, along with happy hour Fridays where the boss was included.

        Now we plan happy hours on Saturday just so we can sit around and complain about things without the boss around.

        If it’s not just me or my department, but the entire organization (we’re a small company), then it’s definitely time for me to move on. I can deal with a lot of things, but crazy bosses are not one of those things. It’s time to move on.

    1. londonedit*

      This is definitely true in my experience. I once worked somewhere that was truly toxic, but it took me a long time to figure it out because plastered over the utter toxicity was this veneer of ‘It’s such a flexible working environment! The boss lets us leave early on Fridays! The boss is hardly ever in the office, so no one bothers us! We go to the pub at lunchtime! We go for drinks after work all the time!’

      Yes, it was really nice to have colleagues who all wanted to socialise together, but actually 90% of the time it was ‘Oh my God, another horrendously stressful day…who else needs a drink???’

  38. Clementine*

    I still miss some fantastic co-workers from several workplaces. Some I worked with at multiple companies. Ultimately, though, my current company offered me fantastic opportunity in a bleedinge-edge area, and the others did not. You do have to think about how to meet your social needs, which is very reasonable. Sometimes there is room at the new company for your friends (obviously this has to be a good idea for both the company and your friend).

  39. Now im stuck here*

    It’s been two years and I still miss my old job and I wish I could go back. I remember my first day at work and walking through the office, at that time I knew I made a bad decision. But I ignored my feelings because name wise it’s a great company. It was night and day compared to my old company. Old company: diverse, different personalities, always learning something new, had my own space etc. Current company: everyone seems to have the same personality which super outgoing and fake, share way to much personal info and want to know all your business, open office etc. I am a introvert who keeps to myself due not finding anyone at the office I click with. Looking back I wish the interview process was different otherwise I wouldn’t have took this job. Now I’m stuck.

    1. Clementine*

      After two years, you can reasonably move on. Perhaps there is some other reason you can’t, but if it’s at all possible, start looking in a non-urgent manner. You know more now than you did then, so that will help.

  40. LemonLyman*

    Was your last job more of an entry level position? I’ve found that that much socializing doesn’t happen when you start to move up the ranks simply because you don’t have the time for it.

    I was in an entry level job once where social interaction (group activities, lunches, “forced fun” meetings, etc) were encouraged on our team because the job was pretty monotonous and there were no opportunities for advancement. I didn’t dislike the job but it was easy to master in a few months and most of us quickly outgrew it, but had nowhere to go. So, to keep us engaged, they encouraged us to do activities. Many people left the team but stayed with the organization to pursue a bigger career path. There are still people left on the team from years ago and they are viewed (from those of us on the outside) as less ambitious because they haven’t left that entry level role.

    When I moved on to the different role, I didn’t have time for the activities and realized they had just been filling our time. I started to attend more meaningful meetings, be involved with higher stakes projects (not just ones we created because we had time to fill), and found much more fulfillment. Everyone was still friendly and social but there wasn’t time for socializing anymore.

    Stick with it. You’ll find your groove!

  41. Rainy Days*

    I hate it when everything is new. I always feel so awkward and everything is a challenge from people’s names to where the pens are. So I play a game – every time I feel out of sorts I ask myself how long before this is second nature? I helps me be cognizant of how quickly I actually adapt to change when I start automatically making the correct turns on the way to the bathroom or know where to find answers without help. Hang in there!

    1. JediSquirrel*

      This is great advice.

      When I was ten, I was attacked by a dog just before school started. There was yelling and screaming, blood everywhere (lots and lots of blood; Stephen King owes me some royalties), a lotta bunches of stitches, tetanus and rabies shots, and a hospital stay that made me miss the first week of fifth grade. It was a pretty miserable time, and I hated it, but some wise adult came along and told me that I would forget all of this by Christmas. Long story short, by Halloween, I was completely healed, in a costume, trick or treating with all the rest of the kids.

      It really does help to put a time limit or end date on things.

  42. Northern Lady*

    I had a recent experience where I left a new job after three weeks. I was ready to leave by day two, and nearly didn’t come back after lunch. Nearly the entire department consisted of the managers family or family friends – and no – it wasn’t a family owned business. It was even complete with the managers wife (who acted like the second in command), and his young daughter (I think that place had a bit of a turnover rate so the solution was to hire her I guess). It was even an open office environment to boot. The managers wife and daughter were rude and chilly towards me from the beginning. It was a very weird and awkward environment. And I felt sooo uncomfortable there – a feeling that never went away after three weeks. And I HATED working with the managers family. I wasn’t even allowed to correct a spelling mistake on an external form – because “that’s the way the form has always been.” I was informed that I can’t just come in and make changes. It was a spelling error for crying out loud! I ran for the hills after three weeks.

  43. Astrea*

    I agree that a week is probably tol early to be certain about how a job will feel long-term. But if it gets and stays too bad, you can leave it. In a former job for which I had relocated, I was desperately lonely and deeply depressed. Colleagues said it would probably take me 6-12 months to get settled in, and I didn’t see how I could endure it even that long. I resigned after four and a half months, so I could go home. I hope you won’t need to do that, but if you do…it’s OK to not follow someone else’s timetable for the adjustment period to tolerate first.

  44. Robm*

    I just started a new job yesterday after 20 years (in 5 roles) at my old employer. I’m obviously reading the replies here with great interest!

    I want to echo giving the new job more time. I think in any big change like this there is some uncertainty and unless there’s a real red flag this uncertainty is just something to battle with along with learning the timing for your new commute, or good places to get lunch.

  45. boop the first*

    I’ve been away from my last job for almost a year and I still kind of miss it! I miss working alone, I miss the 10 minute walking commute, I miss having my ideal work schedule, I miss my chatting buddy, I miss being able to pack my own lunch, I miss the basic sanitation and food safety, I miss the social closeness (even if I wasn’t included, it was nice to watch from afar), I miss arranging my own day.

    Which is weird, because at the time, I was bored out of my MIND at that job. I was even relieved to be part of massive lay-offs because having a deadline to my job does wonders for my morale. Compared to imagining accidentally spending the rest of my entire life doing the same boring thing every day. So… why am I considering going back???

    1. Midwest writer*

      This is kind of me. I changed jobs a little over two months ago and added a fairly significant commute (I went from never having to drive more than 20 minutes for work assignments to things that are nearly an hour away, though my daily drive is about 30 minutes each way), went from working alone all the time to an office of four people, can’t go home for lunch, etc. The reasons I switched were solid and I know I’d be unhappy with the long-term trajectory of my old job, but I miss the comfort of the other things that surrounded it, I guess. Things are going better with this job now than the first month, but it’s still hard.

  46. Assistant Manager*

    I was miserable at my old job. High stress, all the responsibility of a manager with none of the authority, treated like a manager when it was convenient (by staff AND the owner), crap hours, had a male new hire brought in “to help” me for $7.25 an hour more than I was making (he was later fired because he sucked), I was told I’d have to do even more work to justify a raise after that guy was fired, owner constantly jerked me around over whether or not I was the manager, no benefits, no PTO of any sort…. I stayed for 5.5 years to build my resume.

    Over the summer, I got a job offer that was 10x better. Same field, but benefits, a 4k raise, regular opportunities for bonuses, an actual managerial title and authority, managers who all love me, at a brand new store where i would be OG management…

    …And I spent the first few weeks after we opened perodically texting my roommate from a bathroom stall in tears telling him i made a mistake.

    I laugh my ass off about it now, because I’m so much happier in a lot of ways. But man, regardless of how bad it was and how much better it is, those first few weeks are a major adjustment. I rationally knew i was in a much better position (all around), but going from an environment where you know everything and everyone like the back of your hand to one where you know relatively nothing threw me for such a loop. Hang in there and give it some more time to adjust and get used to everything! You’ll probably adjust way better than you think.

  47. theletter*

    I’ve totally felt this way. I left a job with a very social culture two years ago, and it hurt so much! but it turned out to be the right moment to go. Just as I was signing the offer letter, they announced the company was being sold. My leaving was the beginning of a mass exodus. Now everyone I knew there is gone – but we still get together because we made such good friendships!

    Looking back, I can see Alison’s point very clearly. Why were we so social? It was incredibly difficult to move up in the company! because there was nowhere to go! because the company was in the process of being sold! Meanwhile I was developing some dangerous habits because I was sooooooooobored.

    Now I’m working on far more interesting projects. There’s opportunities for me to advance. I bond with people over mutual appreciation of our work. I have money to hang out with my oldwork friends and when we get together we get to just be friends and it’s awesome. My dangerous patterns are broken.

  48. GhostIsGone*

    I started a new leadership job in my company 2 weeks ago and have been fantasizing about quitting ever since. I’m dealing with a tough group of clique-ish peers who have worked together for a long time, and they have already told me I’m going to have to earn their respect and shared their concerns with our boss, who is now telling me I had better figure it all out fast. It’s stressing me out since I feel it’s a little unrealistic to learn a completely new role so quickly; I was respected and very competent in my last position, so I’m feeling somewhat anxious and homesick. I needed this letter today, and I wish the best for the LW.

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