When your job isn’t working out

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Career Advice, Work Relationships | 0 comments

Sometimes you know it on your very first day of work….. this job is not going to work out.

Sometimes your new job is great at first and you find out things aren’t quite what you thought they would be.

There are many reasons your job isn’t working out but the result is the same- it sucks.

So what do you do? How do you handle this situation like a pro?

Let me tell you a story from the other side. We’ll call this what NOT to do.

I hold a volunteer position for a women’s networking group. I brought in a consultant to our group and it seemed like a perfect situation for everyone involved! Until it wasn’t….

And that’s when things got ugly. The problem was how things were handled as soon as it became clear this opportunity wasn’t working out.

The consultant was understandably frustrated with the situation even though she had not been clear about her expectations and needs. She chose to complain to the executive director and ask the director to step in, causing no small amount of stress and emails flying on the day before our event, including an email in which this consultant called our organization “unprofessional” and dressed me down in no uncertain terms.

As the volunteer in charge, I wish she would have come directly to me with her concerns. I wish she had made her expectations clear from the beginning. I wish she’s been more understanding that everyone involved had good intentions.

Because of the way she handled the situation, I can tell you it’s unlikely I will work with this consultant again. Nor am I likely to recommend her for other jobs.

Dealing with this situation got me thinking about how I choose to handle situations when I am hired for a job that doesn’t work out.

When a job doesn’t work out I have legitimate complaints! But I learned years ago that complaining rarely benefits anyone, especially not me.

I’ve also learned that sometimes great opportunities immediately follow opportunities that just didn’t work out.

this job sucks

So, what can you do when your job isn’t working out? How can turn a bad situation into a better situation?

Be grateful, be gracious, and grow.

Be grateful

Okay, so your job isn’t working out. It sucks. But chances are, there is something to gain from the situation. You are most-likely benefiting in some way- how?

The benefit of gratitude is it improves your outlook and helps you approach the situation from a positive perspective. You’re more likely to find a workable solution or make the best of the situation if you adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Be gracious

Sometimes things don’t go as planned. That sucks, too. Here again  you have a choice- do you choose to take it out on others? Do you choose to complain?

A better choice is to be gracious. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault that things don’t work out. And, hey, even when it is someone’s fault, we all make mistakes. Being gracious shows you’re a professional, and you are far more likely to get a recommendation if you handle a difficult situation with grace.


When an opportunity isn’t what you wanted you have an opportunity to learn.

Maybe next time you’ll ask more questions about the job in the interview. Maybe next time you’ll make sure to express any special needs upfront. Maybe you’ve learned what types of jobs you want, and which you don’t want. How can you grow from this experience?

As frustrating as it is when a job doesn’t work out, you get to choose how to respond (instead of reacting). You can choose to handle the situation in a way that is in the best interest of everyone involved. You can choose to leave a good impression and improve your chances to get a recommendation or referral. You can choose to grow.

So maybe you’re reading this because your job isn’t working out. Besides being grateful, gracious, and growing, download the worksheet to get unstuck and uncover your next career move!

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