“My new job is not the promised job. What do I do?”

Question: Hi, Alan, I am a Corporate Communications professional and have recently changed jobs. I have joined a multi-national corporation which is undergoing a complete restructuring. In fact, the top brass of the company will soon be leaving when new people are taking over.

Now, before joining this company’s Internal Communications function, my new boss and I discussed the job description, and my function, which was to link up with the Global Marketing Team.

I was very much in agreement with the details of the job description and my intended function, but after 40 days of the job things are not like it was promised! I feel cheated. My work is totally administrative in nature, and they say it is going to remain like that!

I do my work with utter professionalism and great care, and nobody has raised a single question about the quality of my work. I feel stuck here with no clue as to what I should do. I am concerned that I am reacting too early on my new job. Please Guide.

         New Delhi, India

Answer: Dear Vartika,         

From what you’ve written, I share your concern that you are reacting too quickly. Many, many times I have been consulted by clients who, just weeks into a new job, feel they have made a mistake. While many have, indeed, made mistakes, many times after remaining a few more months, they have become quite happy. Here are a few thoughts I have on your situation:          

1. When organizations get new management, there is often a great deal of confusion; this can be both good and bad for employees. The two things you have written that stand out the most to me is that (a) the company is “undergoing a complete restructuring,” and (b)  the top brass will all soon be leaving. I can’t imagine a more “up in the air,” confused environment to find yourself in. It will surely take months, if not years, for things to “settle down” and run smoothly again. This may well be the reason for your job function not being consistent with the promised job description, and therefore, your disappointment and frustration.

The good part about such confusion is that it also means that other people are “in the same boat,” and many of them will likely “jump ship.” So, you can almost expect that many opportunities will open up in coming months – more than they usually do – and you may be able to take on one of those soon-to-exist opportunities.

2. It often takes months, if not years, to truly understand how a company really works. Over many years, I’ve learned that it takes a long time to truly understand how a company really works. By this I mean, even if you are told (a) who makes decisions, (b) how decisions are made, and (c) that decisions will not be changed, that means little. Things are often not what they seem, and almost never what people tell you they are.

Rather, things work in far different ways. The only way to really understand how things work in a company is to remain there for a decent period of time and while there to (a) observe, (b) watch, (c) listen, (d) take in, (e) scrutinize, and (f) contemplate. You’ve surely not had time to do that, at least not yet with sufficiency. You just might learn that, regardless of what you’ve been told, your job function may change, to your liking. 

3. If you want new responsibilities, first show you can do a great job on your present responsibilities. The best way to get those job functions you seek is to be 110% successful in fulfilling your present responsibilities. Only then will you be able to say to those working with the Global Marketing Team, “I can also be 110% successful for you.” I suggest that, although you might not be inspired by the totally administrative duties you have been assigned, you would be wise to come into work every day totally ready to be the best administrator anyone has ever seen. Be passionate, productive and impressive in all you do in this job, and others will be offered to you. Be pessimistic, bored or lackluster in this position, and you will be hurting your chances of getting the job functions you seek.

4. Even if you decide to leave, I suggest you wait at least until the next calendar year to do so. Even if this job has been a true career error, I suggest you commit yourself to remaining in it until January of next year. First, many people leave their jobs in January and February of each year, and – both internally and externally – there will be more job opportunities then. Second, your resume will show you arrived on your present job in one year, and left the following year, which will look more substantial than if you arrived this year and left this year also. Third, and probably most important, you will be giving yourself the time I think you owe yourself to figure out if this employer might be where you ought to remain. You might just decide this is, indeed, the place for you, and a great place to grow. 

No matter what you decide to do, I hope you will commit yourself to do it well, to do it professionally, and to do it with the information and “working wisdom” we offer on our blogsite.

Thanks for writing in. I hope you’ve received the guidance you requested. And please tell others in New Delhi about out blog. 

Al Sklover

Don’t forget: we offer Model Letters, Memos, Checklists and Form Agreements for almost every workplace issue. Just [click here.]

P.S.: If you would like to speak with me directly about this or other workplace-related subjects, I am available for 30-minute, 60-minute, or 120-minute telephone consultations. (Even 5-minute “Just One Question” calls). Just [click here.] Evenings and weekends can be accommodated.


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