New Job Disappoints?

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in Your Office Coach

Question: "My new job has been very disappointing. I was hired to write communication materials and help support the department, but I seem to have become my boss’s personal assistant.  I don’t mind ordering supplies or getting the mail, but now I’m expected to tidy up my manager’s office and turn on her computer in the morning.

"Although I try to stay positive and productive, not using my abilities is extremely frustrating. Several weeks ago, I told my boss that I would like more projects and writing assignments, both of which are in my job description.  She agreed, but has given me only two brief writing tasks. When I ask about projects, I get random busy work.

"I recently interviewed for a job where I can use my skills, but I feel guilty about leaving after only three months. If I get an offer, should I take it?" - Lisa

Answer:  A new job is rather like a birthday present. Once you rip off the pretty packaging, the gift may turn out to be a wonderful surprise or a complete disappointment. The reality is hard to see from the outside. For that reason, new hires often experience unmet expectations.  

Such misunderstandings can easily arise during the hiring process, because interviewers naturally emphasize the positive aspects of a position. Eager applicants are willing believers, so they fail to ask detailed questions.

You were told that this job involved writing communication materials and supporting the department.  However, your manager apparently wants 80% support and 20% writing, while you want the reverse. Given this discrepancy, I doubt you’ll ever be happy there.  

If you are offered a more suitable job, don’t feel guilty about leaving.  Just be sure to scrutinize the new position carefully, because another short stay will turn you into a job-hopper.

If you’re beginning to feel dissatisfied at work, see Is It Time to Leave Your Job?.


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