It has happened to all of us.
You looked for and landed a job. You were so excited when you did, but now that you have been there for a few months, you’re starting to realize that this isn’t exactly what you wanted after all. You might have believed it was your “dream job” and now you’re heartbroken. Or maybe you accepted your first offer thinking it would be a stepping stone to something better and now you’re freaking out because no one is hiring. Wherever you are, don’t panic. Here are a few things to do as you search for a new position (you will find one eventually, so try to stay calm).
1. Don’t be hyperbolic.
Sitting in a dead-end job can be a brutal hit to your self-esteem, but it is important to remember that this isn’t the end of your career and you’re not trapped there. Instead of telling yourself a lot of unhelpful and over-exaggerated lies about what being in the position means, focus on the positives it offers, such as a steady paycheck or downtime to explore new positions or perhaps even an office to make connections.
2. Focus on your life outside of the office.
Now that you have accepted that this is just your day job, you can emotionally detach. Focus on passions and hobbies outside – and possibly even inside – the office. If you hate your job as an office manager but love to write, start working on pieces to pitch when it’s slow.
3. Don’t make any sudden moves.
While you might fantasize some days about telling your boss off and walking out the door, unemployment isn’t something to take lightly and finding a job can take between three and six months. While you don’t want to have a resume full of holes, you also don’t want to look like you’re job-hopping. Take your time to find a position that you feel you’ll like and do well in, then give notice.
4. Learn how to make the most of an undesirable situation.
You’re probably not getting any formal training or a daily lesson that will further your career, but that doesn’t mean you’re not learning. Perhaps you’re gaining insight on how to better run a company through a chaotic and unfocused management team. Or maybe you have that coworker that drives you up a wall, but they’re teaching you patience and how to deal with different personalities. Even if it seems small or insignificant, try to look out for the skills that can help you in your next job.
You’ve obviously have your resume updated and out there (or you should) but you need some face time with potential contacts and employers. How do you do that? If you aren’t already, take advantage of any networking opportunities your company has to offer. Get your name on lists for events and go to happy hour with your colleagues. Additionally, start reaching out on LinkedIn and asking for informational interviews and emailing recruiters. Networking is a powerful thing. If you’re able to have a company name behind your own, it can help you make an impression.
6. Don’t obsess.
It’s easy to focus on the negative when you don’t like your job, but what’s the point? It does nothing more than increase your stress levels and bring your energy down. Instead, accept where you are and find proactive ways to get out of the situation. Commit to applying for 20 jobs a week, reaching out to 3 to 5 recruiters, and connecting with your colleagues by grabbing lunch or coffee together. When you like the people you work with it can make a bad job a better one. Trust me.