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Souring On Your Dream Job? Here’s What To Do (In This Order)

Source | FastCompany : By DON RASKIN

You did everything right. You found the company you’ve always wanted to work for. The job was a perfect fit and you aced the interview. Finally, after a weeks-long hiring process and far too much waiting, an offer comes your way. You negotiate a great compensation package, take the gig, and start what you consider to basically be your dream job.

Long story short, it isn’t. For any number of reasons, the reality of the position falls far short of your expectations. Now you aren’t sure what your next move should be. Do you just tough it out? Start the job search all over again? Something else entirely?

First, take a deep breath, then take these steps—in this order.

1. LOOK FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SITUATION

The key here is to start small, then work up from there if you need to, always keeping an eye on what you have it in your power to do, and what the likely outcomes might be. If you can make changes that leave you happier, you won’t need to take drastic measures on the one hand or simply stay miserable on the other.

Many employees who decide a job isn’t right for them simply try to ride it out. That’s a bad strategy. It will make you even more unhappy and can turn you into a negative force at work. If that happens, you probably won’t be able to salvage the situation and turn it around.

So start by building stronger relationships with the people around you—even if that doesn’t initially look like the source of your frustration. Positive work relationships can improve your work experience immediately, and possibly more than you might suspect. Next, write up a quick list of the other things that will make your job more enjoyable—and focus on the changes that can be made right away while still allowing you to deliver results in your role.

Then choose the right time to sit down with your boss, and be forthright: Explain that there are a few ways you think you could be more productive on the job and become a more valuable employee overall. The key is to present your proposals as good for both of you.

Most reasonable bosses will want to work with you toward a more fulfilling and rewarding job experience. A smart boss knows that when you become more productive and satisfied at work, their job managing you gets that much easier.

2. INVEST IN YOUR SKILL SET WHILE ON THE CLOCK

Most jobs offer opportunities for professional development, even if they aren’t easy to spot right away. So learn everything you can while on the job—even if it includes a lot of grunt work. Ask for work assignments outside the scope of your daily job responsibilities. See if there are courses that your company offers or might be willing to pay for or subsidize. Find a mentor in the company and spend time taking advantage of their experience so you can expand your skill set.

This is usually the stage where many people throw their hands up. Finding a mentor or taking a class or two often feels like puttering around the margins and avoiding the issues that nag you the most. But if you’re starting to think that your job really isn’t right for you and are thinking about leaving, you should at least head out the door with a skill set far superior than the one you came in with—and use it to land your next gig.

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