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I'm not sure my new job is a good fit...
January 24, 2014 9:38 AM   Subscribe

I have been in a new job for about four weeks. I have moved from another industry into government. I was expecting it to be quite different to my old role, but I'm not sure that I like it. Do I start applying for new jobs?

Sorry this is a bit long on account of being anonymous.

I loved the last place that I worked at, but it was a very small workplace without much scope to move around. I had really enjoyed my job there for most of the time I was there, but after some major achievements over the last few years, wanted a new challenge.

I have always been interested to try out working in this particular area of government and took a job that paid slightly more than my last job - but with less responsibility. I knew this when I took it, but previously had not been successful getting a government job because I didn't have government experience (feedback from interviews).

So I thought this job would be a good bridge into government - it is a year-long contract, so I figured I would have a year where I could learn a lot about government and then be in a good position to move into another role within government. Although, it is also an election year for the jurisdiction I am working for and around here, this typically means a crack-down on hiring at the start of a new term - right when I would be after a new role.

I don't hate the job, but I feel fairly ambivalent about it.

The good parts - I don't think about work at all when I walk out the door at 5pm. I'm thinking of doing a part-time masters and I would possibly get some tuition assistance and definitely get some time allowance for it. I think I have felt very defined by my work for the last few years, so this is making me think about other things.

On the other hand, I am not feeling challenged by the work, and enjoyed being engaged in my last job. Now that I realise how little responsibility I have, I am concerned that the job will look like a backwards step on my resume. It has a job title that sounds much lower than my last - I thought it was just government job titles, but really, it is lower.

I am in my mid-thirties, my last role was a management role looking after a program and managing a team, with a lot of autonomy and decision making power. This role is not management (of anything or anyone).

Since I started, I have been lent out to another team to work on a project that is different to what the role would usually be - doing something I'm good at, but find boring. This project will finish in the next few weeks.

So it is fair to say that I haven't had a chance to really see what the job is about yet. But I also feel I'm 1/12th into a job where I really wanted to learn about this particular area and instead am back doing something I used to do years ago. I am still picking up small bits of new knowledge, but in a passive way from being in a new environment, not doing new things.

I am finding myself looking at job vacancies - whereas with my last job, I didn't start idly looking at job vacancies for a few years. A few jobs have really caught my eye - should I apply for other jobs?

How would I explain leaving so soon in an interview? I feel like I didn't know enough about government jobs to accurately gauge the level of role that would suit me.

Would leaving this job soon be a black mark in terms of getting a government role again at another time?

What else should I consider in thinking about staying or going? If I am going to stay, what can I do to get the most out of it from a work and non-work perspective?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
: "I am in my mid-thirties, my last role was a management role looking after a program and managing a team, with a lot of autonomy and decision making power. This role is not management (of anything or anyone). "

I went from over a decade of consulting to being a state employee about two years ago, and this quote sums up the role change for me too. It was a rough transition though. I thought I had made a huge mistake for about 6 months. A former supervisor asked me one day, "How's the career change going?" which was weird to me because I didn't realize that's what I had done. I was doing the same "work" but from the other side. Also I had what I initially perceived as very little responsibility and it seemed like no one cared what I did. I finally realized that it was the opposite, that people gave me a lot of independence because they trusted me, and I have a tremendous responsibility to the people I serve.

As with any new job I think you have to get it time. Find your groove and figure out your role. If you're ambivalent that's ok. I would only say get out if you were miserable.
posted by Big_B at 9:49 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I would think if you're really serious about pursuing a graduate degree, this position seems to be very well suited to that.
posted by lownote at 10:05 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I don't think you've been doing this job long enough to have sufficient experience to make a sound judgment about whether it is working out or not. I suggest you give it six months. That's the period at which we (government agency) assess whether a candidate is working out. And I have seen a couple of people look tenuous for the first few months, only to blossom and really find their footing in the fourth or fifth month.
posted by jph at 10:08 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


I would reframe your view of the new job. Make it about developing contacts, exploring how the government bureaucracy works, finding potential future employers who contract with government...and so on.
posted by srboisvert at 10:35 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


4 weeks in is exactly the time when I start questioning any new job. The newness has worn off a bit, and you know just enough to panic about the idea that you're totally unsuited. Give yourself a good 6 months without even looking at a job listing. That's the minimum it will take for you to even know all your job duties.
posted by xingcat at 10:43 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Sit tight. You're being paid slightly more, and you want to do some study. I think that you'll find that the boredom you're experiencing will level out if you start studying; you'll be happy that your job is not challenging.
posted by heyjude at 12:22 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Considering your resume - Going back to school is a great justification for a less demanding job. I moved to the public sector from private about 10 years ago, and in my experience it is not unusual at all to move around a lot even very quickly, especially within the same agency.
posted by lilyfern at 6:28 AM on January 27


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