We typically enter a new job with high hopes and expectations. New tasks, teammates, and even a new boss are all on our minds.
However, it is possible that it may not be as good as we had anticipated. The rose-colored glasses fall off after the first day, the first week, or a few months, and disillusionment sets in.
You now despise your new work, and your new boss is a letdown. Perhaps you’re not learning as quickly as you’d like, or the new job’s working style is incongruent with your previous experience.
You may begin to wonder whether you are the proper match for the job, and you may even begin to detest the task or the prospect of staying much longer. Perhaps you’ve already been looking at alternative job openings or fantasizing about quitting your job and thought, “What if I retired now?” or “Perhaps I should become a country hermit.”
Neither of these options is feasible. So, how do you go about it?
Making a commitment, recognizing your learning stage, and implementing specific methods can help you not only get through your first year or two, but also optimize it so that you may develop and thrive.
Make a one-year commitment
As a former corporate HR specialist and recruiter, I always urge anyone who inquire for a job to commit to it for at least a year. Consider committing to two if you’re in your mid-career (about 35).
Transitioning to a new work involves a lot of learning and development, and the first few years are frequently the most difficult, particularly as our skill and scope of responsibility grows. You won’t have a complete image of the job until you’ve worked for a year.
Then, in the second year, you should apply what you learnt in the first. There are several tactics that may be used to assist in navigating the hurdles and reaping the advantages. In a moment, we’ll get to them.
However, if your new employment violates legal or ethical guidelines, or if your mental or physical health is jeopardized, plan an escape strategy right once.
Make the commitment if you haven’t already. Then you won’t be wondering yourself, “Should I stay or should I go?” Stay there and concentrate on how to make the most of it now.
Consider your learning stage
Learning is a big part of starting a new job. It’s not only about learning how to do the new job; it’s also about learning how to deal with a new boss and coworkers, as well as knowing office politics, or the unwritten rules that govern who gets what, when, and how.
Then there’s the sense of loss that comes with beginning a new job. You had confidence in your previous position because of your degree of competence and understanding.
You didn’t have to consider who to contact or how to proceed; you simply knew. Even if there was dysfunction at your previous employment, it was all too familiar. This resulted in an undetected sense of comfort and ease.
That sense of ease and familiarity has vanished in the new work.
Understanding the Conscious Competence Model explains these feelings. This is a diagram that depicts the phases of learning as well as the emotions felt along the route.
- Unconscious Incompetence – We are oblivious to how little we know. Positive, even joyous feelings are sensed here. We’re looking forward to the new job, inspired by the people, and optimistic about the future. This stage is symbolized by the phrase “ignorance is bliss.” To people with greater experience, we look naive.
- Conscious Incompetence – It becomes apparent just how little we know. New work obligations and information continue to pile up, frequently without any training, explanation, or direction. We could have made a blunder or two. Uncertainty, coupled with self-doubt, is a common feeling at this time. This is the most challenging stage of learning, yet it is also the most common. This is a period that everyone passes through.
- Stability emerges as a result of conscious competence. We’ve had success and advancement, which has given us clarity and confidence. While we don’t have all the answers (and probably never will), we do know where to look for them.
- Unconscious Competence – This is when you accomplish something without realizing it, often known as “second nature.” Many people who drive vehicles are intuitively skilled drivers. It’s highlighted when we reach at our destination but have no recollection of how we got there.
The goal of comprehending this paradigm is to explain, if not justify, how you could be experiencing throughout a new employment. The drive to acquire and develop new abilities or habits is often at the basis of our unpleasant feelings.
If this is the case, you are just experiencing Conscious Incompetence.
The good news is that it is just temporary! It is passed through by everyone. You have time on your side. Your comfort will rise as your familiarity and expertise grow.
Use specific techniques
Nobody wants to waste any more time in Conscious Incompetence than they have to. Here are five suggestions to help you get through this stage:
Allow yourself some leeway. It’s OK to not know, and it’s also fine to feel annoyed by it. Remind yourself that this stage is just transitory. It, like the unpleasant feelings, will pass.
Concentrate on growth and learning. Nothing is too minor to debrief your day or week by recounting your accomplishments. Make a note of it.
Review the prior week as you debrief each week. You’ll be able to track your progress over time.
Find a mentor or a companion. This is someone to whom you may ask questions and who can corroborate (or deny) your findings regarding the job.
This individual should have more experience and more regarded than you. Seek advice from your supervisor or coworkers.
Take time to relax, unwind, and look after yourself. Walking outdoors, eating nutritious foods, exercising, laughing, and spending time with people you love and trust are all good things to do. Take a break from work.
It takes a lot of energy to learn on the job. These exercises will re-energize you so that you can tackle another workday or week with renewed vigor.
These pointers will help you get through the Conscious Incompetence period while also easing the pain.
Understanding how we learn and succeed at anything is critical not just to our professional achievement, but also to our personal well-being. Getting caught up in negative emotions slows us down and, worse, makes us feel bad.
Most new jobs aren’t precisely what we expected, but with certain learning skills and methods, we may not only perform better, but also feel better.