What’s the cost of making the wrong decision after accepting a job? What can you do about it?
For the company, making the wrong decision is an inconvenience. For the individual, the cost is extensive. It can take 3 or more years to make it up. You always have to explain it to future companies. So what can you do when you find out you’re in the wrong job or company? Here are a few options to consider:
1. Research the marketplace. What are the transferrable skills you have developed that are usable in a new or different role? How does your current compensation compare to the job you want to move into? Design an overall job search strategy so the time between jobs is as short as possible.
2. Sit down with your bosses. Not a pleasant alternative, but it may be the best one. The reason? If it’s obvious to you that it’s not working out, it’s also obvious to your bosses. Both you and the company want to make it as painless as possible. Some options to consider (assuming a termination is not “for cause”:
• Work out a transition plan for the next 6 months: You produce results while looking for another job. The company can begin their search early. This option will work some places, but not all.
• Move to another internal job or project where there would be value produced in the interim. You have to have a good and trusting relationship for this to work.
• Cut a deal for severance in cash, so you have the freedom to openly search full time, while having a financial cushion while you do it.
3. Contact your previous employer. They may not have filled your prior job and would love to have you back. This is assuming you left under very positive conditions and relationships. Of course if that alternative works, you will be leaving your current company in a lurch. This option can also have implications to your reputation in the industry. Be careful of any legal complications if you have access to proprietary or strategic information.
4. Go back to your job search strategy and reinvigorate your contacts. Many times there were 3 or 4 jobs for which you had been interviewing and they haven’t yet found the right candidate. Usually jobs come to you in cycles, with other job opportunities still in phase one of an initial contact. Re-contact these companies and continue on with the process. You only have a short period of time to determine whether you’ve made a mistake or not. It’s hard to go back to the marketplace and start all over again after more than 3 months.
Bad hiring decisions are costly to everyone involved. That’s why the hiring process usually takes so long. It’s why “fit” is so important, especially to the individual. Companies can usually recover much more quickly than you can.
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