You do your homework on the company in advance. You ask probing questions in the interview. You network with current and former employees of the company. You believe you have a good read on the company culture and you accept the position. Now you have been there a few months and you realize you read it completely wrong. What can you do? Is it ok to leave after just a short period of time?
First priority is to learn from the experience. What signs did you miss? What questions should you have asked? Figure out what bothers you most about the culture and think about to avoid it in the future. If you don’t know how you landed in such a poor fit for you, there is a chance you could repeat the error. Be very honest with yourself and seek to truly learn from this experience.
While job hopping is not the taboo if once was, you want to have a clear sense of what the best next step is for you. Don’t be so eager to get out of the situation that you jump at the first job that comes along. Have a priority list of what is important to you in your next position. Do your homework.
Be prepared to tell your story. With a short stint on your resume, you are bound to be asked about it in an interview. Be prepared to address the change. Own the mistake and show that you are doing something about it. Try not to bash the other company or your manager in the process. Just not the best fit for you.
Try to tough it out while you look for another position. Unless you are in a hostile work environment or are being asked to do something unethical, it is much easier to look for work while you are still employed. Make a commitment to doing some networking every week. Build your target list of companies and aggressively work the process.
Early in my career I accepted the wrong job at one point. It was very quickly clear that there was not enough work to keep me busy. That is something that makes me crazy. While I reached out to colleagues and offered to help, there was just not enough work. I was also concerned about how some of the work was being done. My biggest concerns were that if I stayed, I’d develop bad work habits, negatively impact my work ethic and could potentially damage my credibility. I started networking immediately, built a target list of companies and soon landed a new position. I learned a lot about what is important to me in an employer from that experience and it served me well in the long run.
If you are truly in the wrong job at the wrong company, ramp up your networking and focus on finding a job that is right for you.