2 months in and unhappy- what should I do?

(7 Posts)
mr405 Sun 05-Aug-18 16:46:30

I started a new job 2 months ago and already I’m unhappy. It’s a different role and sector to what I’ve previously worked in- I like the organisation and my colleagues but I don’t like the role.

The work isn’t what I was expecting and there isn’t enough of it- I don’t feel like I’m being challenged or stretched. The past two weeks there have been long periods during the day where I have nothing to fill my time with.

I’ve mentioned that I would like to take on more work to my line manager twice now, but she’s just suggested short term solutions eg book a meeting with this person, or passed on some of her work for me to take on. I said I would like to take on a new project, or get some experience in another area of the organisation (it’s very small so this shouldn’t be a problem) but so far she hasn’t suggested anything. Deep down I don’t think there is a project or different work that I could do anyway.

What should I do? Should I tell her how unhappy I am or just start looking elsewhere? I’m worried I’ll find it difficult to find a new job because I’ve only been here 2 months and before that my job was a 6 month temporary contract. How badly will it affect my chances if potential employers see I haven’t been in this role long?

I honestly don’t know how long i can stick it out if this is all there is to the role. When i was offered it they said I didn’t have the experience in this area but they really liked my personality but now I think it was a mistake to take the job. If I were to say something to my line manager what should I say? How should I word my doubt and unhappiness?

Just any advice would be gratefully received.

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daisychain01 Sun 05-Aug-18 19:12:41

When you went for,the interview, what was the role meant to cover in terms of duties, areas of responsibility and skills.

Have you been given a role specification?

Take the information they provided as part of the recruitment process (as it has only been a matter of 8 weeks) and book a formal meeting with your manager to establish what you are meant to be employed for.

If it's public sector, I have to say it can take many weeks before an individual becomes clear about what they are meant to do, and it requires some resilience and persistence to get some momentum going.

Are there any online training modules you have to complete as part of your induction. They may not have mentioned them until you give them a nudge! Some organisations are really poor at doing good quality inductions, it is demoralising.

mr405 Sun 05-Aug-18 21:07:04

It is public sector- it’s a fairly small charity. To be honest the induction was pretty bad- handover notes were really unhelpful and there was no real structure. After one week I was kind of expected to just start being the role by myself.

I’ve got the job description, and I would say I think I’ve been doing maybe 30% of what is listed, but been given very little indication if I will actually do anything else. For example it mentions report writing and case studies and I was asked about this at interview so assumed it was a significant part of the role. In reality it’s one report every quarter that looking at previous examples that I think would take 1-2 hours to write, edit and submit.

I’ve got a monthly 1:1 meeting with my line manager next Monday where I will discuss all of this. It’s just how I get my frustration, disappointment and concern across and if it results in anything. I honestly think I was missold and I misunderstood the job sad

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daisychain01 Sun 05-Aug-18 21:43:03

It does sound like they have oversold the job to you. Sadly a lot of small organisations including charities lack strong management and structure.

Have the honest conversation to see if you can get the situation back on track.

Meanwhile I would keep looking for other roles elsewhere, just in case things don't improve. You could end up feeling the same way in a year's time which would be very frustrating and a waste of your career.

mr405 Sun 05-Aug-18 22:18:32

Thanks daisychain01

I think I will tentatively start looking for other roles. I’m not sure what your experience is but how much do you think the short amount of time I’ve been in this role will affect my applications? I’m worried I’ll be seen as unreliable and flakey

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maxelly Mon 06-Aug-18 13:39:01

You have my sympathies. Been there done that. To be honest this is really really common in the public sector/third sector. Can't speak for other sectors as no personal experience but nearly everyone I've worked with admits to having some kind of experience similar at some point in their career. I think it can be caused by a mixture of things, from managers being desperate not to lose the budget for the post and so recruiting someone even though there's little/no work, or maybe your predecessor was incompetent or lazy and gave the impression there was much more work than there really is. Or sometimes managers will recruit to a post with really only vague suggestions of what they want achieved and expect the postholder to figure it out. I've even done it myself (to my shame) where my boss really pushed me into recruiting someone quite junior to take on a project which was really poorly defined and ultimately the organisation didn't even want. I did look after her though and made sure she at least got some useful skills/things for the CV out of her 6 months wasted time doing that project!

Generally if you persevere in these roles then you can carve out some more meaningful work for yourself but it tends to only come through relentless putting yourself out there and taking on rubbish/annoying tasks for others that are well outside your job description (e.g. admin-y type tasks when you are not an administrator!), and/or literally making up work for yourself, e.g. writing a report and recommendations on an interesting/relevant topic and trying to get people to read it, in order for people to know and trust you. I fully understand if you are not really up for that fight, it is a bit exhausting and demotivating!

I would say if you see roles of interest, why not start applying now, it's possible some recruiters could hold the short amount of time you've been in the post against you but really what have you got to lose? If asked why you want to leave so quickly I would explain fairly honestly that the job isn't what you thought it would be (without slagging off your current organisation or manager of course!). If it was me recruiting I would understand since, as I say, I've been there! But the worst that can happen is they reject you, then just move on and apply for the next thing. I would just make sure you are as confident as you can be that your next role is one you can stay in for a longer period of time as three very short term roles does start to look like a pattern. As your current role is not dreadful/traumatic, just a bit dull, you can take your time to really find something good the next time!

mr405 Mon 06-Aug-18 14:57:25

Thanks maxelly a lot of what you’ve said rings true.

I think they get the funding for this role each year and don’t really do anything with it other than the work that gets particular targets met. Looking at the JD this should make up about 40% of the role but is actually 90% of what I do- and I don’t enjoy it very much. I’ve had no training and have come with little experience in this area and if I knew that this would be the bulk of my workload I wouldn’t have applied for this role.

I think because it is a small charity there has previously been more opportunity to carve out an area for yourself or just take something new on- for example a colleague has taken over the social media for the charity, because they’ve told me they think it would look good on their cv (this one stings for me because I have social media experience and was hoping I could get involved, instead they just ask me questions when they don’t know how to do something!) but now there is a new CEO who is changing structures around and I think is going to give less opportunities for this to happen. My line manager didn’t sound very convincing when I said last week I would really like an opportunity to get more experience in other areas of the charity. I honestly wouldn’t even mind if it was mindless admin, just something to fill my time!!

I think I will slowly start looking and applying elsewhere. I like the organisation and my colleagues, but the role isn’t what I thought I was taking on. I had really hoped I would be able to stay for about 18 months/ 2 years but I don’t see how I can stick it out for so long when I’m already demotivated!

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