If you’re like me, you’ll absolutely loathe the word ‘mistake’, but sometimes it can feel like you’ve taken a leap without looking to see where, or how, you’ll land – and you have no idea where the emergency exit is.

If you’ve recently started a new job to see the new year in and are enjoying it immensely, thriving even, then congratulations! That’s great news, and I am very happy for you, but this isn’t the blog for you.

This one is for the people who have taken that leap and are starting to feel the stress and regret as they get ready in the morning. Maybe it’s because you feel out of your depth, the culture isn’t what you expected, or the job isn’t really the role you applied for.

Whatever the reason, you’re not alone in that feeling.

New year, new job

I’m sure we’re all guilty of falling down the social media pit of distorted reality. Over Christmas and New Year, everything seems shiny and everyone seems optimistic. There’s so much buzz around the holidays, and especially as the new year hype dies down, it can be hard not to feel the pressure after seeing everyone else on LinkedIn seemingly moving up or moving on in their professional lives. It’s even harder not to compare to where you’re sitting amongst all these cheery announcements while wishing everyone the best. But honestly, that’s like comparing apples and oranges. You’re on your own track, and that is perfectly normal!

The rose-tinted glasses theory is once you decide to move on from something, suddenly all you can see and remember are the good parts of that situation. To leave a role, you have to take those glasses off and leave them behind while transitioning to your new position. Now is the time to figure out: is this feeling down to the stark comparison between how you left your old company and all these new responsibilities? You could be missing your work friends, or your routine may have changed, leaving you feeling a bit disjointed. All of that is normal, too. You just need to figure out if this feeling is the teething pain you’ll grow into as you evolve in your new role or if it’s something that time simply cannot fix.

Seeing the bigger picture

When looking for a new role, remember to look at the bigger picture. Just because it may look better on paper, it doesn’t mean it is the right move for you. Are you only applying to take that step up, and your current role doesn’t offer that progression? If the answer is yes, then please remember that it’s not only about the title. You need to look at the finer details and see how they compare. For example, how would the working arrangements fit into your schedule, or can your diary realistically be shuffled to meet those expectations? Are you relying on expenses that this new role cannot offer? Do the benefits offered play a part in the final decision? Remember that although this may be the only current vacancy that matches your progression journey, others will come along. It’s like when you wait hours for a bus, only for three to arrive at the same time.

The same goes for moving on from this misstep. Just because you want to move forward and pretend it never happened, make sure you don’t just jump ship and land into a sinking lifeboat. Just because everyone else is happy in their job, doesn’t mean you will be too.

Before making any concrete decisions, weigh up the benefits between staying and leaving. You worked really hard to get this job, so before leaving and possibly burning bridges, ask yourself if progressing in this role will add value to your next application. Will it develop existing skills or build new ones that could, in turn, leave you progressing with the same organisation into a much better-suited position? Or will leaving keep you from damaging both your mental and physical health, along with personal friendships and relationships?

Finding a fresh perspective

Speaking to people who can provide a fresh perspective is incredibly important.

Your family and friends can provide a valuable alternative perspective, and can be fantastic support if your current situation isn’t working for you. If you’re not sure what your ideal situation is or where you want to be, you could also look at hiring a career coach.

Recruitment consultants in your sector can also be valuable sources of information. If you’re looking at a specific role, we provide a bridge between the candidate and the organisation, ensuring clear expectations, managing sensitive negotiations and providing authentic and actionable feedback throughout your process. Having a third party to communicate with can take away some of the pressure and, in turn, can lead to more honest conversations.

If you haven’t decided on a new role yet, recruitment consultants can provide you with updates and patterns about the market and keep you in mind when they have a role that suits your expertise and skillset. They can help with understanding your motivations and seeing where your transferable skills could be used to take on a new challenge.

Remember though, only you can decide what is the right move for you professionally, financially, and emotionally.

Polly Mortimer is a recruitment consultant specialising in appointing leaders to Awarding Bodies and Skills Organisations. With a drive to help people find their dream job, connect with Polly on LinkedIn or send her an email to chat about the next steps in your career.