How to Correct a Wrong Career Move

Jennifer accepted what sounded like a great position with a small firm where she thought she would have an opportunity to learn the business. Based on what she was told in the interview, she expected to lead her department in a change management process.

Unfortunately, while the owner of the company thought he was ready to take this bold, new direction, Jennifer quickly realized there was too much personal history to make effective change. Within six months she was looking for a new job.

Sometimes people are in a panic to find a job quickly because they are unemployed or frustrated by their current employment situation. However, taking a job in haste can often lead to regret and making the wrong career move.

Here are three steps an employee can take if they have made a wrong choice and are now faced with a bad career decision.

Take a Chance and Quit

The most obvious and easiest way out of a wrong career decision is to quit. Not always the favorite move because the alternative may be unemployment. And believe it or not, though things have changed somewhat, it is still easier to find a job while already employed.

However, while too many job changes make a person seem like a job hopper, sometimes it is better to just get out. Before taking this final action, be sure to ask:

  • Is this the only alternative?
  • What will be the financial impact?
  • How will it look to a future employer?

Determine What is Wrong and Correct It

Just because a job doesn’t seem right now, doesn’t mean the situation can’t be corrected. Objectively look at the reason(s) the job doesn’t fit in an effort to determine if the situation can be changed.

If there are other mitigating reasons to stay (i.e. good learning opportunity, developing new skills), then before taking any final action, determine if the problem has to do with:

  • A weak or difficult supervisor. Explore options such as moving to another department or changing reporting relationships.
  • A weak or difficult management team. If the supervisor can act as a buffer then it might be worth it to learn as much as possible before leaving.
  • Too much of something – responsibilities, travel. Explore ways to lighten the load.
  • Too little of something – responsibilities, salary. Take on additional projects, ask about overtime, consider if there is an incentive or bonus plan.

Make the Best of a Bad Situation

Depending on the individual situation, it might be wise to stay put for other reasons. Before taking any action, see if:

  • There is something to be learned here. In many instances an employee leaves due to dissatisfaction without fully exploring the possibility of what they might learn by staying.
  • There is a possibility of transferring to another position, department or division. If the issue is with co-workers and not the company in general, look into moving away from the problem by taking a transfer to another department or division.
  • Part of the problem is self-inflicted. Too often people create situations – problems with co-workers, unfulfilled expectations. It can be difficult to look at the situation objectively; however, take a hard look and consider the source.

Before someone leaves a job it is wise to explore all options and to remember the reason they took the position in the first place. If those things still exist then consider a work around. And to prevent problems in the future, be prepared for each interview, asks lots of questions, and don’t take the next job in a panic.

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