Made a Mistake?

Posted on: November 12th, 2013 by
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What do you do when you accept a new job and you quickly learn that it was a mistake?  Should you jump ship right away or play it out?  How do you decide?

Ask yourself three key questions:

  1. Why are you in this situation in the first place?  Did the recruiter or company mislead you about the job, or did you not ask the right questions or not do proper research?
  2. How did you leave your prior organization?  If it was very positive, their references will help you.  If it was negative, you’ll now have two organizations upset with you. Not good.
  3. What does the marketplace look like for you?  If you’re a professional in an industry with a strong supply/demand ratio, your future is positive.  If you’re over 50 age within a dying industry and few transferable skills, you’re in a difficult situation.

First, if you’re going into the marketplace you need to send the right message.  Unless there’s a sound reason for your move, the typical view is that the problem must be you.  You must have an airtight rationale for you to “fire” your current company after such a short time frame.  Some reasons are credible while others are not:

What not to say:

  • “You enjoyed the work but didn’t like the people, your supervisor or management”
  • “You were disappointed with the pay, incentive system, or the commute was too long”
  • “You were promised things that didn’t happen, or your team mates wouldn’t accept you”
  • Don’t be seen as whining or complaining about “them”.  It can’t be their entire fault!

These are some credible reasons to give when interviewing:

  • A major unexpected event:  Acquisition, cutbacks, industry upheaval, family issues
  • Give concrete examples of your reasoning to prove your case, like, “There’s no training for my current job, nor to prepare me for the future.  It’s difficult to leave, but I’ll be boxed out of future growth, relevance and marketability unless I take action.”
  • Do you have a co-worker or supervisor who can collaborate your story?

Why should you wait and play it out?  Unless you’re positive of a calamity, sometimes things change quickly, especially if top management knows there is a problem and are working on solutions. Patience can be profitable, especially if others quit and leave job openings for you.

However, if you make the jump, be sure that you’re in the next job for at least 2 to 4 years.  Three moves in as many years is a disaster unless you have skills that are in very high demand or your independently wealthy.

Contact Bill Kaufmann as a coach.  Send comments, questions or your resume

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