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I hate my new job, but I like the company. What can I do?

The Question:

I am a 29-year-old professional working in supply chain management. I previously worked for an engineering company and loved my job, but a few months ago I accepted a position at an oil and gas company. The new position offered better hours, a promotion from my previous role, better pay and a chance to work with a fantastic company. Three months into my new role I feel like I made a terrible mistake by leaving my previous job. The only way I can describe my current job is either being asked to fold a paper airplane or fly a jet – tasks are either much too easy or much too difficult. In speaking with managers, it has been made clear to me that this will continue to be my role for the next 3 to 5 years.

I do enjoy the company and would like the opportunity to work in a different department. Is it possible for new employees to switch roles without seeming unreliable, or should I cut my losses and start looking for a new job at another company? I do not feel that staying in my current role is an option and, due to restructuring, returning to my previous employer would be difficult.

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The Answer:

I understand your dilemma. You are not alone in this situation. Many individuals find themselves in this position when they discover the job that they applied for does not match the actual job. Or in other cases, it does, and they just did not check out the position and their responsibilities thoroughly before they took them on.

You have a number of options to explore. These include seeing if your managers are willing to alter your responsibilities, exploring other opportunities with your current company, checking to see if there are opportunities with your previous employer, and looking for a job with another employer.

It's good that you have had a discussion with your managers about your current role. But, from what you have shared, itt does not appear that they are willing to make accommodations with your current role. Consider giving them a proposal about how you could see the job fitting better for you if it had more balanced responsibilities. Give them some specific examples of how you could see this working, including your specific roles and responsibilities. Also indicate to them what additional training and support you may need to fulfill your job.

If they are not willing to modify your position or give you the training you need to succeed then let them know that you will stay in that role until you can find another more appropriate job with the company. I recommend that you have discussions with HR officials about other appropriate positions in the company prior to having this discussion with your managers so that you have possible alternatives to consider.

If there are no other opportunities available to you in your present company then speak to your previous employer about possible jobs. Even if your previous position is no longer available due to their restructuring then tell them you are interested in other appropriate jobs. Point out to your previous employer your skills, talents and experience and what you can do for the restructured company. If a full-time position is not available then you may want to ask if there is some consulting project work available until an appropriate permanent position becomes available.

To make sure you have covered all your bases, look for other appropriate opportunities in other companies as well if there are no opportunities available at your previous or current employer. Do your research on the companies and positions to ensure that you do not run into a similar mismatch situation in the future. Set up information interviews with the companies and senior officials that you would like to work for even if there are no permanent positions advertised. Show your interest and knowledge of the companies in your discussions and ask informed questions. And if a permanent position is not available currently, seek part-time or consulting project work.

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Bruce Sandy is principal of and Pathfinder Coaching & Consulting in Vancouver.

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