30+ Signs That Your New Job Is Not Working Out

Every job seeker hopes to make sound career choices that will lead them to a more stable future. But sadly, not everything is in your control.

Here are some signs that your new job is not working out for you, as discussed by experts.

Table of Contents

Ron Auerbach, MBA

Ron Auerbach

Educator | Career Coach | Job Search Expert |
Author, Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success

You feel unwelcome

You show up for work and your coworkers don’t greet you or don’t seem that interested in your being there. So you don’t get a warm or friendly welcoming. Instead, it’s a cooler reception.

The job isn’t what you were told it would be during your interview

So they lied or misled you! It could also be your showing up day one and they already made one or more changes to your job, pay, benefits, etc.

You’re completely left on your own without any support or training

In other words, there’s either nobody who can help you or they’re unwilling to assist. So as somebody brand new, you’re just “thrown to the wolves.”

You feel it in your gut

Right away, or soon thereafter, you just don’t feel happy or that it’s going to become enjoyable. So your “gut” is in a knot with lots of butterflies that you feel probably won’t go away as time goes by. In fact, it might get even worse!

You’re working with incompetent co-workers

Many of the people with whom you’re working and interacting with don’t know what they’re doing. So they’re all either just “bad” at their jobs or are inept or incompetents.

Coworkers in the office don’t appear to get along very well

So maybe they’re fighting among each other, avoiding speaking with one another unless absolutely necessary, or spreading gossip or rumors about others.

Betty Kempa, CPC, ELI-MP

Betty Kempa

Executive Career Change Coach

The reality of your day-to-day does not match the job description

Now if you enjoy your day-to-day activities, then you are golden. However, if you signed on to this job based on the job description and you don’t actually get to do those things each day, that is a red flag.

Listen to your gut

When you go into work each day, monitor how you feel. Do you feel light, inspired, and a little excited? Or do you have a sinking feeling in your stomach, a lump in your throat, and a tightening in your chest? That’s your inner compass talking. Listen to it.

Poor working relationship with your boss

The health of your relationship with your boss is a key factor in determining whether your new job is working out. 57% of people say they leave their job because of their boss. So you need to examine this relationship.

Do you feel comfortable going to your boss with problems, challenges, or questions? Or do you feel stifled and like you are walking on eggshells? Is your boss a leader? Or a micromanager?

While you can always work on this relationship before you jump ship, don’t expect to change a person.

Related: 50+ Warning Signs of a Bad Boss or Manager

Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A., PHR Emeritus

Timothy G. Wiedman, DBA, PHR Emeritus

Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired)

If you’ve been working in a new position long enough to know the job and you do it well– yet you see colleagues (seemingly with less talent) get opportunities and promotions while you’re stuck where you are– something obviously is wrong.

Lack of chances for promotion

But only you can take charge of your career! So with that in mind, take a good look in the mirror and think about your “organizational reputation” (i.e., how superiors and colleagues view your contributions to the success of the business).

And while looking in that mirror, ask yourself the following:

  • Do I always meet deadlines– or does procrastination occasionally get the better of me?
  • Do I regularly make positive contributions to discussions at meetings?
  • When I make mistakes, do I immediately take responsibility and make amends?
  • How do I react to constructive feedback from superiors and colleagues?
  • Do I volunteer to pitch in whenever problems arise– or do I wait to be asked?
  • Do I do what’s necessary to keep my work-related skills up-to-date?

If you don’t have positive answers to all of those questions, you’ll have gained some solid insight into “why” opportunities may have passed you by!

But to confirm that insight, have a frank discussion with your boss about your lack of progress within the organization.

However, on the other hand, if you’re checking all of those boxes and still can’t get ahead, it’s entirely possible that you’re a poor “fit” for the job you’re doing– or for the organizational culture in which you find yourself. And once you’ve come to that conclusion, it may well be time to “cut bait.”

Folks who quickly get ahead are usually a good fit for both the type of work they do and the organization’s culture and philosophy. If you don’t measure up at this particular firm, then discover your niche elsewhere!

Samantha Friedman

Samantha Friedman

SVP of People Strategy, Vettery

It’s natural for people to feel like they’re falling behind in their careers when we’re so quick to compare ourselves to others. The first question you have to ask yourself is – are you falling behind or are you carving your own unique path?

There is no “right” path to success but there are several red-flag behaviors that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential.

A few of those tell-tale signs include:

You no longer feel challenged by your work

While everyone’s goal might be to become an expert in their craft, we should always be learning and challenging ourselves.

While we shouldn’t chain ourselves to strict timelines or superficial metrics like title or compensation, we should be setting personal development milestones for ourselves.

If you feel like the work has become “easy” or milestones become foggy, this may be a sign you should reassess your career. Talk to your manager about taking on additional responsibility, a new role internally, or decide whether it may be time to look elsewhere.

You’re stagnant in your role

Oftentimes we become stagnant in our careers. This can be a result of your own work performance or it can sometimes just be the nature of the company you work for.

If there is no room for internal movement or upward mobility, it’s time to look elsewhere. Look around. Is the path to promotion or internal movement clear?

You should always be focused on your personal and professional development and it’s critical that you work for a company that embraces that.

You’re not investing in your professional development

Sometimes we forget that we have to take ownership of our own success. It’s not always going to be handed to us on a silver platter.

Oftentimes we become complacent in our careers. We go through the motions and expect to be bestowed with promotions and raises on an annual basis. But we forget that in order to be successful we must take action.

Investing in your own professional development can mean a variety of things. It can mean going back to school, seeking out a mentor, or asking your boss for a promotion.

Related: What to Do If You Don’t Know What Career Path to Choose?

Cindy Lo

Cindy Lo

People Operations Manager, FitSmallBusiness.com

You have no idea what you are doing every day

Either you do not have enough work to fill the day or you do not understand your work. If you are not getting enough work, then your manager doesn’t know how to utilize you or they never needed you in the first place.

If you do not understand your work, then you have not been provided the proper resources to succeed. In both scenarios, you are not performing to the best of your abilities and the job will feel like a confusing waste of time.

You don’t know who anyone is and nobody knows who you are

Unless you are the sole employee in the company, you are always working with someone. Either it is your coworker, your manager or with another team member.

Companies require constant collaboration and the best results come from that teamwork. If you are not speaking to anyone and nobody is utilizing you for your expertise, then you are not producing your best work.

What’s more, if you don’t show up to work for a few days and nobody notices, you are obviously not needed.

No one is listening to you

An advantage of hiring someone externally is the introduction of new ideas and perspectives into a company. Even if you are the newest member of a team, you should still share your thoughts.

If you are being ignored, the company may not be open to these ideas and likely not the right place for you. Moreover, being ignored becomes tiresome quickly and you will likely not want to stay anyway.

Lola Salvador Akinwunmi

Lola Salvador Akinwunmi

Founder, LolaSal, Inc.

As humans, we are constantly growing, and with that growth change, which comes in many forms, and sometimes that change may mean a change in career or current employment.

As the saying goes the only thing that’s constant in life is change. However, the dynamics are different when it comes to your job and it’s your main source of income.

You know it’s time to start heading for the exit when you begin to experience one or more of the following even when it’s a new job:

You’re not excited

You started the job and a month or month three you’re still not feeling excited about going in to work. You don’t think, speak or you see yourself planning long term goals at this company. The fire you should have ended the first week.

This is a sign that you’re in a job that isn’t in line with your ideals or goals. Essentially you want more and you’re not getting it here. It isn’t healthy to stay on; however, before quitting make sure that there are no underlying issues that are yet to be addressed.

It’s affecting your health

You feel ‘sick’ all the time especially when you think about work. You find yourself calling in sick and you haven’t earned enough sick days.

You have restless nights; your tummy and body ache just lingers on and you even pick up a bad habit or two these are warning signs that should be taken seriously. And it is a sign that’s it time to start looking for other job opportunities.

Ray Giese

ray giese

Advisor, My College Planning Team

I work with college grads who realize that the job they were hired for is not what they thought it would be. And sometimes, they realize they studied for the wrong job field.

There are three themes they refer to when saying that their career is not working out:

The roles and responsibilities are not fulfilling or enjoyable

I find that grads get “placed” in roles that do not match with their natural abilities, thus making the job more difficult and less fulfilling and enjoyable.

Having a better understanding of what you do best allows you to target better fit roles which lead to more meaningful work and feelings of fulfillment.

The company culture or work environment is not conducive to personal values or preferences

Over time people need to believe in what they are doing and comfortable within the environment in which they perform.

The industry and company may match their interest, the roles may be a “best fit” based upon their natural abilities, but the company culture or work environment may not match with their personal values or personal preferences.

Over time, stress levels rise despite compensation and their “inner messaging” tells them that there is a serious disconnect, which triggers a career decision.

The interest they initially had for a career is not sustainable (it is a short term interest)

Interests are critical to creating passion, but if the interest in a career field is not sustainable (many years), many clients decide to leave their career field.

People need to find areas of interest that are sustainable enough (or broad enough) to allow development over time (years) and the ability to transition to adjacent career fields.

Finding a sustainable path creates longer-term career equity, leading to greater professional and personal fulfillment and higher levels of compensation.

Tonya Aiossa

Tonya Aiossa

Founder, Entreprising

At a minimum, you should be able to check off the following about a new job within a short time of starting:

You know what is expected of you

First, it’s imperative that you know what you’re supposed to be doing, and the standards to which you’re being held accountable.

You’re confident you can happily meet those objectives

Once you know what’s expected, you also need to be confident in your ability to achieve it. That comes from being confident in the skills you brought to the job, but also the job-specific training you receive.

You feel supported in your efforts to do so

Finally, it’s important you feel supported in your work, which comes from good management (appropriate supervision and coaching), and working with a healthy and functional team.

If any of those three criteria are off, it can indicate your new job isn’t going to work out.

You can prevent a poor fit ahead of time by being proactive in the hiring process. Remember to:

Ask about the job requirements and expectations.

You need to know if you’re qualified for the job, so ask which types of activities you’ll be doing, and how much you need to know before you start.

Ask about the company’s training and evaluation processes.

Second, ask about the amount and depth of training (and whether it’s paid or not), and how your manager will evaluate your competence and future performance. Further, ask how this relates to promotions and raises.

Ask about the company’s management practices, team organization, and corporate/team culture.

Third, you want to know how much supervision and coaching to expect, how the team is organized, and where you’ll fit into the team, and you’ll want a description of the corporate/team culture you’re going to encounter if you’re hired.

Poor answers to these questions during the hiring process should serve as a red flag that the job isn’t right for you.

Erik Rivera

Erik Rivera

CEO, ThriveTalk

The job isn’t what you were told it would be

If the description of what a job would entail differed greatly from what the job and its responsibilities ended up being, and those new responsibilities are not something you wanted to do, you may be a victim of a bait and switch.

In that case, you might want to start looking for a new job very quickly. This does occasionally happen; as you start applying to new positions, those companies may ask why you’re trying to leave again so soon, so just let them know that your current job isn’t what you were told it would be.

You’re not enjoying the work and it’s draining you of energy

The work may be exactly what you expected it to be, but it may be difficult or burdensome. Not all work is going to be the most fun thing you’ve ever done, but some will take less energy than others because you enjoy it more.

If you’re leaving work totally drained every day, that may be a sign that it isn’t the right job for you, so consider trying to find a role that aligns better with your wheelhouse than what you’re currently doing, even if it’s only a slight shift in trajectory.

Yaniv Masjedi

Yaniv Masjedi

CMO, Nextiva

A common sign that people always seem to take as evidence their new job is going poorly when it isn’t, is constant feedback. When I take on someone new, and they show a lot of promise, I tend to give them constant feedback and push them.

This can seem like I don’t think they are working out when really it means I think they have huge potential, and I just want to help them achieve their potential.

Your personality clashes with the company culture

When someone isn’t working out, generally it’s because their personality is clashing with the company culture. Clashing with the company culture is often indicated by a clash of their views, and our views.

If you keep thinking the company does everything wrong, probably you aren’t in a suitable job. We have had issues with negative people bringing the whole team down in the past, so now we watch closely for that.

Not getting feedback or advice in your first few weeks is a big sign that there is an issue

Even if the people in charge are trying to make it seem like they are giving you a shot, if they don’t like you, this is often indicated by offering no feedback or advice. Simply put, an employee that won’t be around for long isn’t worth the extra effort.

Andrea Loubier

Andrea Loubier

CEO, Mailbird

Poor work ethics

As you begin to feel a dissatisfaction with your current job, one very noticeable sign is that it will, eventually, affect your work ethic.

Even when you are convinced to give a project your all, if you don’t have enough support, lack the tools to be successful or simply flat-out do not enjoy the task, then chances are good that you won’t be working at 100%.

When you begin to feel this way, it’s imperative to discuss the situation with your boss. As you feel your work declining due to these factors, chances are that others may be noticing as well.

Don’t fall into a situation where the blame lands on you for a poor work ethic.

Karl Armstrong

Karl Armstrong

Founder, EpicWin App

You don’t care if you are doing your job properly or not

When your job is not rewarding anymore, you lose your sense of being a team player. You then became careless and not mindful if deadlines, directives, and expectations are met.

This is a crucial stage because it can also mean bad for the company. Mind that your actions can make a company lose money.

When you don’t value your work, you don’t give your best work performance; work ethics, as well. If you see yourself in this situation, take it as a sign that your new job is not for you.

It won’t benefit both sides—you and the company; and that is not the ideal work setup.

Chris Gadek

Chris Gadek

Head of Growth & Marketing, AdQuick

When you begin to understand that a new position isn’t working out exactly as you’d hoped, the first sign is typically one that is based on pure emotions.

You feel unhappy and unengaged with things you do

Whether you’re not engaged, allowed to be creative, or just aren’t happy, then you’ll be able to notice pretty quickly.

If you’re in a role where you’re able to be innovative, work with other talented people, and have room to grow, you’ll be excited to get started in the morning – looking forward to all of the possibilities that each new day brings.

When you begin to experience what can best be described as “dread,” then it’s a sure sign that it may be time to speak with your team leader about what is making you feel unhappy or unfulfilled or begin looking for another job altogether.

Shari Smith

Shari Smith

Business Coach | Founder Shari-Sells

We all come to a situation that we got really disappointed about something that we had high expectations. The same thing goes with finding a job.

Have you ever applied for a job and felt like it wasn’t the right job for you after all? It’s a complete waste of time right?

If not, then I will be sharing to you some signs on how you will know that you’ve got the wrong job:

You can feel it

Since you are rendering your time and effort for a certain job, you are able to identify quickly if something is worth it with your time.

If you feel like you are just wasting your time and not gaining anything besides money, I suggest you stop wasting more time and find another job.

You start realizing that everything was a lie

If ever you got disappointed because your job is way harder or much different than it was explained to you, you better step back already because you don’t know how much more they can hide from you.

Don’t think about changing jobs frequently is a bad thing as long as there is a valid reason to do so. Find a job that is true from the very start, you deserve it.

You are a new employee but everyone is not excited to meet you

This happens often if remaining employees have seen a lot of newcomers come and go so they think talking to you won’t matter at all since you won’t last anyway.

Aaron Iara

Aaron Iara

Founder, Effective Nerd

The office’s social environment doesn’t align with your personality

When starting a new job, it is important to take note of the business’ social environment. Outside of the work itself, there are social aspects of having to work with other people. Every job has its own social culture that may or may not work with your personality.

For example, you may be an efficient and productive worker. You may not thrive in an environment that has a lot of socializing and downtime. On the other hand, some jobs can be quiet and uptight. This would not work for those who are social butterflies.

We spend a lot of time at our jobs. You may find yourself in a job where the social environment is not aligned with your personality. This will make it difficult to find fulfillment and happiness in your position.

Schimri Yoyo

Schimri Yoyo

Financial Advisor, Autoinsurance.org

Have the walls begun closing in on you at your place of employment? Has the honeymoon period between you and your co-workers, bosses, or constituents come to an end? Does the thought of telecommuting seem more beneficial than direct interaction with your colleagues?

If so, these may be signs that your new job is not working out. Some other ways to tell if you and your new position need to go your separate ways are:

  • You find that your responsibilities and tasks are being diminished.
  • The tasks you are being given are more monotonous than meaningful.
  • You are excluded from decision-making meetings or opportunities.
  • There is a lack of training or mentorship for you both as a recipient and as a giver.
  • The culture is characterized by passive-aggressive communication rather than honest, direct dialogue.

If two or more of the above scenarios are true of your current workplace, do yourself a favor and update your resume and begin shop it around.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Make the Most of a Job That Isn’t Working Out?

Even if you’ve decided the job isn’t for you, you should make the most of your experience while you’re there. Here are some things you can do:

Use the job as a learning experience: Even if you don’t enjoy the work, you may gain skills or experience that will be useful to you in the future.

Network with your colleagues: By building relationships with your colleagues, you can expand your professional network and possibly find new job opportunities in the future.

Look for opportunities to take on new tasks or projects: Even if you don’t get the kind of work you’re interested in, there may be other opportunities to challenge yourself or gain new skills.

Use the job as motivation to find something better: If you’re not happy in your current job, it can be a great motivator to look for new opportunities that are a better fit for you.

What Should I Do if I Don’t Have Another Job Lined Up but Need to Leave My Current Job?

Quitting a job without a new job lined up can be stressful, but there are some steps you can take to make the transition smoother:

Start job searching: Even if you don’t have a new job lined up, it’s important to start looking for new opportunities as soon as possible. That way, you can be proactive about finding a new job and shorten your time out of work.

Create a budget: If you’re leaving your job without a new one, you must be aware of your financial situation. Create a budget to help you manage expenses while you’re between jobs.

Consider freelancing or contract work: If you’re unable to find a full-time position right away, you can take on a freelance job or contract work to help bridge the gap.

Use your network: Let your professional network know you’re looking for new opportunities. They may be able to provide leads or recommendations that will help you find a new job faster.

Remember that leaving a job without a new job is a big decision. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider your options and prepare for the potential challenges of being between jobs.

How Can I Leave a Job That’s Not Working Out Professionally?

Quitting a job can be a complex and emotional process, but it’s important to do it professionally to maintain your relationships and reputation.

Here are some tips on how to leave a job professionally:

Give ample notice: It’s important to give your employer plenty of notice before you leave the job, usually two weeks.

Provide a clear reason for leaving: When giving notice, give a clear and concise reason for your resignation. This will help your employer understand the situation and may help them make improvements for the future.

Be respectful: When you resign, you must be respectful and kind to your employer and co-workers. This can help you maintain positive relationships and a good industry reputation.

Finish strong: Even if you’re unhappy with the job, you must end your time with the company on a positive note. This may include completing all tasks assigned to you, providing a smooth transition for your successor, and being a positive and helpful team member until your last day.

Remember, finishing on a professional note can help you maintain positive relationships and may even open up future job opportunities.

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