I Just Started My Job–Now How Do I Change It?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about not liking a new job:

I just started a new job (2 weeks ago) and I really don’t like it. It is a large company with lots of departments. I want to move into another department to see if I would like a different position more. I don’t know how to go about this. Should I go to the Human Resource Mgr and inquire about moving? I’m afraid that she is going to tell my manager and that they might fire me over the inquiry. Please let me know how to handle this. I’m currently keeping my eye out for job openings at other companies, but if possible I would like to stay at this company. And just to add: they have no job board or anything for me to look at to even see if there are openings at other departments. Thanks

Signed, Want A Change

Dear Want A Change:

I doubt that you would be fired for talking to someone about transferring within the organization–but it almost certainly will not get you good results, and will create a bad reputation for you. You aren’t wrong to want to make a move if you see right away that something isn’t a good fit for you, and for the company. BUT, you couldn’t possibly know that completely in two weeks. And, even if you could, there’s no point in messing up your future there, no matter how much you dislike the work you are now doing.

Here are some thoughts about your situation, that may help you as you decide what to do.

1. What is it you dislike so much about your work right now? Is it something that might change as you become more accustomed to the work or the people? I once wrote in my work journal: “Remember that nothing is as bad or as good as you think it will be at the end of the first week in a new job.”Are the things you dislike, things that will also be present in the other areas you’re considering? Are the problems organizational problems, or very specific job-related problems? That will help you decide whether moving is going to make a difference.Think about the reasons you have for wanting to move to another work area, and see if there is any way at all you can have an affect on those things once you gain some experience and tenure. Or, if you are able to adapt your style to a style that right now seems uncomfortable.

2. You don’t say the size of the organization. However, you mention that it has an HR section. If the employees from all areas congregate in a lunch room, outside area or if they move throughout a building or office, consider having conversations with people at random, and finding out where they work. Then, you could casually mention how interesting such and such a job sounds, and ask them if there is ever an opportunity to transfer. Don’t say you don’t like your current job, just say their job sounds interesting and express a sincere interest.

3. Consider this as well: Why should some other department want to take someone who didn’t demonstrate knowledge and skills in other assignments. Especially if that person left the other assignment after only a few weeks. Sounds like a bad risk!If you want to transfer to someplace else, identify the place or places you might like, then over the next weeks or months, ensure that you are building a work reputation you can point to with pride. If the nature of your job is such that you can do so, find ways to show your interest now and then, or to drop by the work area involved and observe, or chat briefly with the people there. Or, find a way to be helpful. When it comes time to hire, either from within the organization or from outside, there will be much more consideration given to someone who has established a strong reputation for maturity, accepting responsibility, interest in the work, a good team approach and either job knowledge or a clear indication of having an aptitude for the work. That kind of reputation doesn’t develop in a few weeks. And it won’t develop at all if there is the slightest hint that you are undependable, disloyal or immature in your approach to the job.

All of the above thoughts apply equally well to work in offices as they do to warehouse work, food service jobs or anything else where an employee might start to work then realize some other part of the organization would have been better. While you’re focusing on your future, you may also have the chance to talk to HR and find out exactly HOW you would know there was an opening. If you don’t point blank say you dislike your work, they likely won’t mention it to anyone.¬† Just ask generally.

You may not feel 100% sold on the whole company, but you should do as much as you can to show loyalty to it, no matter what your job. That applies especially to how to talk to insiders about it.Best wishes as you develop a plan for thinking about your future while living and working effectively in the present. With a bit of patience, and continued good work, you will either be able to find the job you want right there, or be much better able to find another job, elsewhere, that is perfect for you.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.