New job: Have I made a mistake?

Hydrogen’s Hayley Still helps you consider whether you've made the right call in moving to your new role.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Have you moved jobs recently, or even in the last year and thought any of the following:

  • I really don’t know if I like it here?

  • It’s not how I thought it would be

  • My new boss is quite weird

  • Why did I hate my last job again?

  • I feel out of my depth

  • I don’t know where anything is

  • Was this a knee-jerk reaction?

  • My new team are okkkkkaay but not like my old team

  • Have I made a mistake?

If you have, then you are not alone. And don’t panic. You probably haven’t made a mistake and, even if you have, it isn’t the end of the world. If you haven’t then you are very lucky and have hit the professional jackpot (or genuinely hated your last job and the new one is dreamy in comparison) and long may it continue!

I was having lunch with a friend last year, someone who I have helped in a professional capacity for a many years. We were discussing her new role and she admitted to feeling a lot of these things and it surprised her how many other people I speak to who feel the same. I gave her some advice, and explained why I think it happens and why I think people need to stick it out before judging too quickly. It gave her some food for thought and she called me recently, 7 months on to thank me for my help during that tricky time. She now loves her new role and colleagues and is so pleased she made the move. It’s easy to forget that a new job, whatever you seniority and level can be scary and very unsettling. Because she found my advice helpful she encouraged me to write a little article about it in case it can also be of help to others.

Sometimes people can even still feel these emotions a year on from when they have moved jobs and it can be difficult to decipher whether the new company or role is really not for you or if it is a case of getting used to a new environment and settling in.

It is important to remember a few key things. People usually want to move jobs because they are in need of a new challenge, feeling too comfortable, are maybe even bored and lack progression in their current role. If this was you then some of the following were probably true of your old role and situation:

You knew where everything was and who everyone was

You were really efficient in your job and you knew how to get things done – who to ask for what, what systems to use, the company’s attitude towards things like risk

You knew your role inside out and the parameters of it

You had relatively good hours as you were so efficient and not being stretched

You knew your team well and this is something that had kept you there so long – they cared about you, you cared about them. You all knew each other’s business, sense of humour and generally had a sense of security (and someone to get lunch with)

You knew your boss well – their views and how to handle them, how to get what you wanted from them!

You knew the company’s values and vision.

I should mention that the longer you have been at a company the more heightened all of this is likely to be. If you have only been somewhere a couple of years before moving then you may not feel quite as strongly.

By the nature of feeling all of the things above, when you move somewhere new you can quite often feel the complete opposite to all of them which leads to the panicky feeling of ‘have I made a mistake’?

In a lot of cases it is just the feeling of being “new” and it will pass.

I always tell people to try hard not to really evaluate their new role until they have been there 6 months. By that stage you should have moved past all of the insecurity of not knowing where things are and not having any friends yet. It is after 6 months that you need to concentrate on whether there are any factors left over which are making you unhappy and might be pointing to the fact that this role isn’t for you. These could include:

  • Company is unethical

  • Role has been mis-sold and doesn’t represent what you were told it would be during the interview process

  • A key personality clash which is unresolvable

  • Doubts about the company’s future

If you do feel the above is true then our advice is always to try to resolve as much as you can internally before you look for a new role – for example personality clashes and the role not being as you had expected. And if you still feel it isn’t right for you and it can’t change then get in touch and we can give you some advice. Whilst it is true that it can be off putting to future employers to see a “jumpy” CV, remember it is you that has to live the next 2-5 years day to day being unhappy if you don’t find something that is right!!

One final thing to note is that I do often find that when people have been at a business for a really long time, c.6 years + and then move on, the first move doesn’t always turn out to be another long-term role and they move on again relatively quickly. I put this down to the person having obviously liked their old company a lot otherwise they wouldn’t have stayed for so long. At the end of their tenure they get a bit disillusioned with the old company and are so focused on what they don’t like about the business that they forget what they do like and value until they no longer have it and start somewhere new. If this is the case, you have the comfort that you have that 6 year + stint on your CV and, as such, if your next role isn’t a roaring success, don’t panic!

If you would like any advice about a sinking feeling that you have made a mistake or just about new exciting roles, please do get in touch!

Hayley Still – In-house – hayleystill@hydrogengroup.com

Posted about 6 years ago
About the author:
Hayley Still

Our blogs and insights help keep you up to date with market developments and regional news