You made a job transition. Super! The bad news – you hate it.

Jobs can be similar to relationships- they aren’t always what they appeared to be in the beginning. After a few months, the dream job that seemed so perfect, can be transformed into something intolerable.

This is far less likely to happen if the job description is adequately written and advertised, or the recruiter and hiring manager clearly explain all aspects of the position; but a percentage of job seekers will experience rapid dissatisfaction after being hired for a job.

There are numerous situations and reasons for job dissatisfaction, to include changes in duties, supervisors, co-workers, or expectations. Incompatibility is a major cause of job satisfaction. When expectations aren’t met, either personally or professionally, frustration can drive the worker to seek a more compatible, or satisfying professional environment.

Defense contractors know too well how expectations and staff changes can make work life more challenging. Contractors can be moved to different projects within an organization. And there are no absolutes or guarantees that changes will be a good fit. So if this happens, what recourse can a worker pursue?

There are a few choices to be made once a worker realizes their job isn’t a good fit. Here are a few viable options to consider:

Attitude adjustment

Ever heard the phrase, ‘suck it up, buttercup’? Sometimes, it’s true. It sounds difficult, but a change in attitude can go a long way to improve a challenging or frustrating job. It isn’t unusual to through rough patches in a job, just as couples do in relationships. Working through a period of frustration, and making changes to improve it, can be a character-building experience. Work is supposed to be a challenge, so consider what your issues are. If it’s a problem with management or a personality clash, adjusting your own perspective may go a long way.

Communicate with staff

Getting to the heart of the matter, and discussing the situation calmly and without animosity, can go a long way. Don’t make any hasty decisions until communicating the issues that are causing the dissatisfaction with the position. If your work isn’t aligning with the job description, highlight that, and indicate to your supervisor how your skills could be better used to benefit the company. Make it a value-add for them to improve your situation.

Find a new job

If the current job shows no hope of improvement, start looking for a better fit in another organization. Try to stick it out in the current job until another can be secured. Searching for a new job while still employed is always preferable, financially speaking and from a hiring manager’s perspective. Don’t consider quitting the current job until a new offer letter has been signed.

Reach out to friends and professional networks

Connect with friends and professional networks to find a job that is a better fit. The cleared job community can be a valuable asset in the job search. Firsthand knowledge of an organization, or supervisor, can help a job seeker learn exactly what to expect, and make an informed decision about a new job or assignment. Also, make your next job a better fit by being up front with your preferences, whether you prefer a hands-on management style, more laid back office, or need to telework, make your preferences clear, and your ‘make-or-breaks’ clearer.


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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.