What to Do if You Hate Your First Job Out of College

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You took that first real job out of college because you wanted to make some money and finally get out of your parents’ house. And, of course, there’s that massive college loan you need to start paying off. But six months into your job you realized you made a huge mistake—you hate your boss, the tasks, the corporate culture, the job isn’t what the HR manager or recruiter promised it would be. What to do?

Limit Your Loathing

If you do hate your job with a passion, don’t let your coworkers know. Even the one’s you think you can trust. Limit your expressions of loathing to family and close friends outside of the company. Don't make the mistake of posting your displeasure on Facebook, Twitter or “job-rant” sites. You never know who’s reading them—like your present boss or future employer. Tweets appear in Google searches, and your Facebook privacy settings can easily betray you.

Start Your “Job Search Engine”

Start by keeping your cool and do everything that’s asked of you with a smile. Don't quit your job until you have a new one in the bag. It's a lot easier to find a job when you have a job. Besides, if you quit, you won't be eligible for unemployment benefits. So get busy and start your “Job Search Engine.” Update and polish your resume and cover letter. Do the same with your LinkedIn profile and Facebook page. Google yourself to see what comes up, then clean up anything that looks unprofessional. On the flip side, Amy Levin-Epstein advises job seekers to not completely erase their personality from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and similar sites. Doing so denies prospective employers the opportunity to see what sets you apart, things you may be truly passionate about. It could make you a lackluster candidate.

Choose Your Next Job Carefully

Yes, times are tough and the temptation is to just land another job and see what happens. But resist the urge. It may take you a while to find something that really suits your skills and personality. In Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type, Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger explain how to pick the right job using four personality types to determine who you are, what you’re looking for and whether you’ll be happy in a particular job. Read job descriptions carefully, do some serious due diligence on the company before sending in a resume—Google them, explore their website, the people, the corporate culture. If you have friends who know friends who work there, ask them about the company.

Resign Gracefully

Once you’ve landed a new job, give the standard two weeks notice. Turn in a short and simple letter of resignation. Don’t complain, bad mouth anyone or blame anyone. Jaleh Bisharat advises those leaving to create a well-documented transition that includes everything your replacement needs to know. She also suggests that after you give your notice, work harder than ever. This will serve you well when future prospective employers call for a recommendation.

Hate your first job? Don’t despair. Keep your cool, start your “Job Search Engine” and resign with class.


Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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