Ask James Caan 13th January 2011
This week I’ve chosen to explore the options available to someone when their ideal job doesn’t quite meet the expectations they had in mind.
Take Michael Joyles’ question:
‘What should you do if your “dream job” turns out to be a nightmare? Say you were head hunted, did all the back ground checks, and were sold on where you could fit and what is on offer, only to find that the culture is very suffocating: every movement, mail and conversation is monitored, investment isn’t forthcoming, and the modernisation, marketing and change agreed is constantly delayed?’
Michael, your question highlights the unfortunate journey of finding the ideal role, only to get there and realise it’s not quite what you thought. The first few months in a new job can, in some cases, be hard to adjust to, and it may feel as though you have taken a risk.
Company culture is something that doesn’t always translate too well in an interview. An environment described by a member of the management team, may be completely different to say, the IT team or marketing department. This is why it is important to ask the right questions in the interview.
In your case, the key thing here is communication. Whilst there are some aspects of a working environment you may not be able to influence, if you can see an area for improvement, why not talk to your employer? Or even better, offer to steer a project that will improve things?
There are a number of things you can carry out to ensure the transition to a new working environment is a smooth one. Ensure to attend all relevant training, give 100% in your orientation and comply with internal practices. Also, get to know your colleagues. Their guidance and support will be invaluable.
If you have tried to adjust, and there is still no improvement, request a meeting with your boss. Keep a clear head, talk to your employer, share your concerns. They may be unaware of the situation and require you to suggest improvements.
If you find yourself in the interview for your dream job, but have your concerns about an aspect of the role, why not give yourself some extra reassurance by asking if you can spend a few hours in your new office – before you sign the contract?
This experience will give you a glimpse into the company culture and the chance to assess whether it is right for you. Of course you may not be able to comprehend it fully in such a short amount of time, but by sitting down with the staff, it may provide you with some insight.