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What To Do When Your New Job Isn’t What You Expected


Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking, exhilarating, and sometimes… disappointing. So, what happens if your new job is not living up to your expectations? Perhaps you are caught off-guard by the workload, have responsibilities you didn’t anticipate, or just aren’t gelling with the team. Whatever the reason, don’t panic – as bad as it may seem right now, you can still salvage the situation and find the best move for your career. Here’s our advice on what to do if your new job isn’t working out.

Give it Time

The initial days, weeks and even months at a new job can be a challenging time; you’ll be trying to settle in, wrap your head around the many new policies and procedures, and get to know the team. However, experiencing difficulties doesn’t necessarily mean that the role is a bad fit. Sometimes, it can take up to several months to get into a comfortable rhythm, so don’t jump to conclusions – you might just need to wait out the turbulence.

Likewise, when things don’t turn out as expected, take a step back and think about the positive aspects of the position. Maybe you love the work culture, mesh well with your manager’s leadership style or there are other benefits such as flexible working options. Are there any new experiences or skills you can gain from the role?

Befriending fellow employees can also make a world of difference in the beginning, so make the effort to reach out to get to know them a little more. Where appropriate, personalising your workspace with personal photos or stationary can make it more comfortable to be in, plus, it may give you some talking points with co-workers.

If you’re gradually feeling more positive each week, it’s a good sign – but if you dread going to work each day, even weeks down the track, it’s probably not working out.

Speak to Your Manager

If you’ve tried to stick it out and it still feels like the new job is not what was promised, your next port of call should be to discuss it with a manager. Rather than sending them an email, set aside the time for a proper face-to-face meeting. Go back over the job description, the points that were discussed back in the interview and what you’re actually doing each day so the issues can be laid out thoroughly and clearly.

The biggest thing to be careful of is coming across as accusatory; it’s important to be tactful and considerate of the manager’s own situation, whilst still being honest about your feelings. Most employers want to avoid employee turnover if they can help it – so talk about your responsibilities and see if there’s a way you can make it work. Your manager may be able to provide support and come up with a plan to improve the situation, such as by temporarily shifting responsibilities or assigning a workplace mentor who can offer valuable professional guidance.  

Explore Other Options

If you’ve followed the first two steps and there’s still no sign of improvement, you may be wondering how long to give a new job before quitting. The simple answer is, if things aren’t working out despite your best efforts, then it might be time to start looking at other options. Remember to always be respectful and considerate to your employer to try to avoid burning bridges following your resignation, as word can spread if you leave with a negative attitude.

Keep in mind that no experience is wasted – there is something to be learned from every role, no matter how short-lived it was. Career paths rarely unfold in a straight line, so the things you take away from this experience could prove to be valuable in the future.

Ideally, you should find a new job before leaving your current one – spending a significant time unemployed whilst job searching may leave you feeling pressured to take the first job that comes along, and this could lead to the same scenario all over again. Talking to a recruitment consultant will provide a big advantage in this process as they will be able to help you determine whether a particular vacancy fits your needs and expectations.


Handling new job disappointment can be tough, but it’s important not to let the situation defeat you. Give the position a chance to grow on you, take practical steps towards improvement and, if all else fails, start looking for something new.

If you’d like to take charge of your career and find the job that’s right for you, get in touch with one of our recruitment consultants today to discuss the opportunities we have available around New Zealand. 

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