What Should A Recent Grad Do If He/She Hates the Job Immediately?

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sadly, a 2013 college graduate writes:

 So I am coming to you for some advice. I started a job on the Monday after graduation. And I can honestly say it is the most boring thing I have done in my life. I almost dread going to work in the morning and it is only day 4 tomorrow. 8 hour days seem to last forever and I just know it is not going to get better. However, I dont just want to give up right away because I know it may reflect bad on me on when I search for jobs in the future. What do you think I should do? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you so much. 

It is disappointing and annoying to see a former student full of vim and vigor, ready to take on the world, get stifled so quickly.  So what could this graduate do to improve the situation?

Keep quiet - At the very least, don't go posting on Twitter or Facebook about the situation.  You don't want to see bridges burning already.

Bide one's time - Give the job 30 or 60 days before giving up.  While you do not think it will get any better, perhaps it'll take some time before the job grows on you.  New challenges could arise in the next few weeks that could turn the situation around to a more positive one.

Find other opportunities at work - Is there something else you could be doing at work that might make you happier?  Are there other things not being done at the workplace where you could thrive.  Show initiative and see if there is a new challenge you could be taking on.

Find a mentor - He/she could find someone to guide him/her through the organizational mindfields.    Find a person who might be able to providing coaching and advice about the job.

Find a friend - If you are frustrated, are their others feeling the same way?  Misery loves company.  At the very least, you have someone to share the experience with you that may make the time seem less like drudgery.  Make the best of a bad situation.

Reevaluate - Try to think about what went wrong before you took the job.  Did the organization make promises that they are no longer living up to?  Were you given a realistic job preview?  Is there a mismatch between what you were told and what is occurring on the job?  Were there questions you wish you asked prior to taking the job?  Use this situation to prepare yourself for the next opportunity, so that you are not caught off guard the next time around.

Chime in.  What other advice do you have for this recent graduate?

6 comments

Good advice here. I would add the following:

-Does the job not match the job description? If there is a discrepancy then by all means take it up in a respectful manner with your supervisor. He/she may not even be aware of the disconnect. They should be able to take action swiftly on your behalf if warranted.

by Harold Tracy on May 16, 2013 at 8:12 AM. #

"Find a friend - If you are frustrated, are their others feeling the same way? Misery loves company. At the very least, you have someone to share the experience with you that may make the time seem less like drudgery. Make the best of a bad situation."

I'd take the advice on "biding time" (60 days) before engaging in the "misery loves company" part. He/She doesn't know the company gossip mill yet and becoming known as the new "complainer" by seeking out others that aren't challenged or unhappy could do a world of harm before the job even truly starts.
Most likely, they are easing this recent grad into the position. Even experienced folks who are expected to "hit the ground running" don't do very much their first week on the job.
Patience, as you offered up, is key in this situation.

by Anonymous on May 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM. #

Boo hoo. A recent college grad has a job and he/she hates it.

Why do you think they call it work?

Buck up, kid. Pay your dues, get some experience, and move on after you have something to show your next employer about how you are worth the salary and the time and attention it will take to get you to a contributor status.

You have a job at a time when many college grads are in minimum wage hell.

Do I sound like your mother? Maybe I am.

by Anonymous on May 17, 2013 at 7:23 AM. #

The first piece of advice I would offer is a change in approach. It’s not unusual for the first few days or weeks for a new grad (or any new employee) to feel disconnected with their new organization or team. It typically takes time to settle in and build trust with your manager and colleagues for them to know and understand your capabilities and work they should be assigning to you. He/she should retain the perspective that although they are a graduate with the educational credentials, they don’t have the on-the-job experience – yet. They should find ways to demonstrate their capabilities, remain curious, understand that they are still in “student” mode - of learning the culture, the accepted ways of doing things, the hierarchy, client requirements and many other organizational practices that take time to know and understand.

by Anonymous on May 17, 2013 at 9:09 AM. #

To be honest, I was in that situation and I couldn't handle it. I lasted a month in the autumn of 2009 and moved on to pastures new.

With hindsight, I should have stuck it out, but I'd recommend that they stay a minimum of 6 months.

by Insight247 on June 6, 2013 at 9:19 AM. #

Is this your first job? How does it compair to jobs you've had in the past. How's the pay/benifits and is the pay helping you to get out of debt? Is there any hope for advancement. If you quit now, whould anyone really notice or care?

If all of these are lowsy, quit now. Move on. What is to gain by sticking it out? If you have other jobs to list on a resume, don't bother with this one. I've had to do that, even switched carreers. I have worked in my office for over 20 years and survived my bosses retirement. My job is boring and tedious sometimes but the benifits and pay are worth it. I'd rather be bored then in an exciting new field making 10k less than I do now. By switching carreers, I got to read the contract of one of my old teachers and have a good laugh. Only you know what is best for you and why you should or should not stay. If you really hate it, start looking for something else and move on.

by Anna on September 4, 2014 at 2:50 PM. #

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