Should I quit and become the employee with shortest tenure ever?
August 13, 2019 12:14 AM   Subscribe

I've started a new job and wondering if I've made a big mistake and how to deal with it.

I’m two weeks into my job and I’m already wondering if I’ve made a disastrous mistake. It’s been tough getting up to speed and feeling incompetent, and the role as scoped I’ve realized is boring and stressful (a combination I didn’t know was possible). I find it hard to connect with colleagues so I feel lonely. The commute is worse than I thought as more meetings than thought are in office 2 (which is 40 min away). I’ve already lost sleep on stress which has started a downward spiral for my attitude, ability to work out etc. I’m already fantasizing about NewCo or going back to my old job and company which I loved (and had no stress).

On the plus side, I like my manager who I think genuinely cares about my growth, I’m paid super well with insane benefits, and the company is doing well from a business standpoint.

My questions are: one, am I being ungrateful and gloomy and how much of this is just normal blues vs. serious concern that I’ve done the wrong thing? Two, how do I cope with this for a year or two (as I don’t feel that I have the option to leave after a few weeks, because I can’t burn bridges with my manager who is influential in industry)?

Three, what is my exit plan as I already feel it’s impossible to interview while barely having free time (and people will quickly know if I’m interviewing)?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I like my manager who I think genuinely cares about my growth

I think that's your answer right there. Talk to your manager & share your concern. Means you can address multiple questions at once...
1. you get to find out whether your experience so far is a valid reflection of the role
2. you'll get reassurance around your initial feeling of incompetence
3. you get your manager onside, and keep them there

Nobody wants you to be in the wrong role. If it really is a bad fit for you, and your manager is influential, they'll have some advice for you on next steps.

If your manager was a dick, none of this would apply. Make use of that advantage.
posted by rd45 at 1:35 AM on August 13, 2019 [10 favorites]

Two weeks is not a hugely long time, though it seems like it might feel like that at the moment. If possible, I would be waiting a while longer to see how things settle down before making a decision.

Something I've noticed over time and still forget even though I know it well - lots of things can be insanely difficult at first but become easier over time. This could be one of those things and there's no way to tell at the moment.

It may be that the position stays unsatisfying for you, but I would try to avoid making that decision now and try to accept that the next few months might be challenging. If it's still feeling terrible after 3 months, then at least you've given it a good try.
posted by mewsic at 1:42 AM on August 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

I would agree that 2 weeks into a new position is barely enough to scratch the surface. I have learned of myself that transition, period, is always hard, and I now know to expect a few weeks or even months of angst and "have I done the right thing"-obsessing whenever I make any big change. Could that be what is happening here?

My last job started out similarly to yours; I spent the first YEAR wondering what I had gotten myself into. And after that, I quickly settled into a routine. By the time I left, I was that person who knew everything, where everything was and where the bodies were buried.

So I have two pieces of advice to you: #1: give it time and #2: Know thyself. Are you the kind of person who, like me, takes a while to adjust to new circumstances?

And #3: speaking as someone who is currently coping with managerial dickishness. Do value the fact that your manager isn't a dick. Make use of the fact that they're invested in your growth and happiness in the role. It shouldn't be rare, but it is rare, sadly.
posted by unicorn chaser at 3:25 AM on August 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

One thing that’s helped me in similar situations is to decide I’ll stay for now, but give myself a shorter period to think about - not a whole year.

Deciding “I’m not enjoying this but I’ll reassess it in 3 months and I’m allowed to quit then if I really want to” and putting it in the diary, means you can stop constantly thinking “Should I quit? Should I quit?” which saves s lot of energy. And when you’re having a bad day, you can always think “By November I’ll be gone” (whether or not that turns out to be true, it’s a relief).

Things might feel very different in 3 months, or still uncertain and you grant yourself another 3 months. Or you might quit. But it’s less overwhelming in the meantime than feeling every day like you have to choose instantly between quit now and stay for a year.
posted by penguin pie at 3:51 AM on August 13, 2019 [19 favorites]

Seconding penguin pie. I'm in this exact boat, but I told myself I would hang in for a finite amount of time and re-assess.

That time has come and I've reassessed and yeah, it really is bad in my case. And I also have the certainty that "no, it' s not just me."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:57 AM on August 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

The trick to living with this job is deciding how much you need or want the higher pay and better benefits. There's no free lunch - better compensation comes from from having a job that's harder to do or requires rarer qualifications than a less-well-compensated job.
posted by MattD at 4:22 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

I think being well-compensated, with great benefits, and a boss you get along with who is influential in your desired industry, is not worth giving up after 2 weeks. Maybe 4 months or 8 months or a year, but not 2 weeks.

I don't know if you're being gloomy but it's hard to say what you've written would be a serious concern--there are always lots of growing pains in new jobs and new roles. Instead of thinking of an exit plan, you should be focusing on your current job so you can always say, no matter what, you did what you could to make it work for you.
posted by girlmightlive at 4:32 AM on August 13, 2019 [6 favorites]

I find it hard to connect with colleagues so I feel lonely. The commute is worse than I thought as more meetings than thought are in office 2 (which is 40 min away).

It's been two weeks. You may just need more time to connect. And I wonder if the meetings will always be like this, or is this a thing because you're new and everybody wants to meet with you? I've changed jobs at the same company a few times now, and every time there's a flurry of meetings that die down after a month or so.

Agreeing with much of the other advice here. It's probably worth toughing it out and taking to your manager soon about concerns. Also, I've quit jobs in far less than two weeks... You can't get the shortest tenure title, sorry. Too late.
posted by jzb at 4:36 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

If the pay is great, be aggressive about setting up an “f-you” fund. I agree that 2 weeks isn’t enough time to get settled in or assess the reality of the situation. 3 months minimum as a goal gives you time to settle, make a friend, and put some money in the bank. Put as much of your paycheck in savings as possible. Make it a game. Then when the time comes you’ll feel emboldened to make whatever choice feels right at that time.

When you have to go to the other office for a meeting, if you can, leave 60 minutes ahead of time. Queue up some really good podcasts and get there early so you can reward yourself with a latte or a snack. I’d try to turn it into some free-your-mind time.
posted by amanda at 6:26 AM on August 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

The commute is worse than I thought as more meetings than thought are in office 2 (which is 40 min away).
I would find this unacceptable, especially if it's going to be ongoing, frequent and at my own expense. Was this mentioned to you prior to joining? Is it training or orientation or a regularly required thing? Do they never do virtual meetings in 2019? The rest sounds like it could shake out as you get more comfortable, but this would cause me serious concern. Clarify this point with your manager ASAP.

some free-your-mind time
These are called "breaks," a concept that some offices no longer encourage, and should not come at the employee's expense.
posted by sageleaf at 7:46 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

You mentioned that you are fantasizing about your old job, which you loved - is it a possibility you could go back? If so, maybe you should call your old boss/colleagues and inquire about doing so. A blip of a couple weeks/months is really not a big deal in the long run, and for future moves, you wouldn't even have to mention your dalliance on our rez.

Lots of good advice about waiting and re-assessing but don't feel like you *have* to wait - usually in the first two weeks of a job, you might feel nervous or uncomfortable in the new environs, but being bored/stressful/already hating a job? I don't think you are lying to yourself. Sounds like a bad fit, get out of it if you can.
posted by RajahKing at 10:51 AM on August 13, 2019

I just started a new job 4 weeks ago.
In week two I had my "woa wtf this is all over my head" moment.
I also did not have time to work out due to working offsite two days a week
I lay awake at night
I was tired, and overwhelmed
and had no idea if I'd ever have time for my friends and hobbies etc.

and now it's two weeks later
I have adjusted
and things are fine

Give it a bit.
it might clear up.
posted by Thisandthat at 11:05 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Came in to say exactly what penguin pie did. Give it 3 months, and try not to think about the option of quitting during that time. 3 months is long enough to learn the ropes and know whether it truly is a bad fit, or you're just having trouble adjusting. Good luck!
posted by widdershins at 11:37 AM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Hey anonymous! It depends on your current financial situation and if this job is taking a mental or emotional toll that is overwhelmingly taxing. It's difficult if your manager us as influential as you mention. Maybe try learning from them as much as possible and cultivate the relationship as best you can to gauge how forthcoming you can be with them.

It could be risky if you decide to resign but can't get your old job or a new job if you need this place as a reference. Three months sounds like a good amount of time to make a better decision, but if you can't even make it to two months, then it might be best to resign. Just make sure you have something lined up and if you really want to leave sooner than later, start applying!
posted by VyanSelei at 6:11 PM on August 13, 2019

If you don't like it, can you go back to your old job? Like, now?
I have seen someone do this once. We were all taken aback, but I kind of admired his determination that very quickly the situation was not for him, and I didn't begrudge him. If it's an option and you think that you'd be thrilled to exercise it, well, I think it's ok. But it's pretty rare to be able to unwind something like that, so if you can't, the advice to stick it out a bit longer and get a feel for the place before making a decision is good.
posted by ch1x0r at 6:48 PM on August 13, 2019

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