You’ve just landed a new job—maybe even your first “real” job after graduating—and you’re excited! Brimming with ideas and energy, you’re ready to jump right in and make a positive impact on the world. But after a few weeks in your new role, you start to feel a little dissatisfied, frustrated, or maybe even a bit depressed. This new job doesn’t bring you the joy you expected it would. It hits you—you have a case of the New Job Blues.
The disconnect between what you envisioned, and reality, can cause feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction, or low-level depression—what we call the New Job Blues. Perhaps the work itself is full of menial tasks, or you haven’t connected with anyone at work yet, or the company’s culture is just not what you expected. You’re wondering what to do next—should you stick it out, and for how long? Quit the job? And then what?
Before making any rash decisions, realize that New Job Blues are normal. Many people experience a bit of mood deflation during big changes—such as a new job. Transitions are difficult, and it takes time to adjust—even for changes that we consider good and positive changes. Here are some ways to help beat the blues:
- Determine the root cause. Is it the job itself causing your blues? Could it be the organization you work for? Or, is the transition into a new routine, new role, and possibly new city causing you to feel unsettled? Try to isolate the root cause of your blues, and then weigh your options. For example, if you love the mission of your organization, but aren’t pleased with your specific job, you may be able to stay with the company and move to a different role after some time.
- Give it some time. A major life change, such as a new job, takes time to adjust and acclimate. This is especially true for your first job out of college, as you not only have a new role but are undergoing a major lifestyle change, possibly in a brand-new city. And if you’ve switched jobs, sometimes the newness of a different role can make you feel inadequate. In your old job you knew what was expected of you, knew your coworkers, knew the office culture—you were an insider. Starting new is hard. Don’t throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble, and don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes time to learn the ropes of your new organization and to feel like you’re a valuable part of the team. Transition blues are very common. Give it some time and try to isolate the cause of your blues so you can work to cure them.
- Build and maintain and connections with those around you. If you need a little help acclimating to your new company’s culture or feeling like you’re a part of the team, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to potential mentors or colleagues from your company or industry, volunteer for projects to meet people and gain experience in different areas, and network! This will help you to not only move up in your organization, but gives you an advantage should you decide to move on, and need references from peers or managers.
- Stay positive while learning the ropes. If you are in an entry-level job, expect to “pay your dues” before being entrusted with more serious responsibilities. Take on menial tasks with a can-do and positive attitude; you’ll need to gain experience in your field before moving up the ladder.
- Know when to go. If you’ve worked hard to adjust in this new role, built relationships, reached out for guidance in your transition, and given yourself time to adjust to all the newness, and still nothing has improved, then it is time to consider other options. If you’re sure it’s your job or the organization giving you the blues, take some time to reflect on what you want to do and what will make you happy. Then use the relationships you’ve built to start seeking new opportunities.
Regardless of your decision to stay or to go, know that this experience is a valuable learning opportunity to help you manage the rest of your career. Good luck in your new job!