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What’s Not Working—the Company, the Work, or You?


On paper the job description and company seemed ideal…then you started. You did all the right things, asked the right questions, aligned with your manager and coworkers, and now you’re fully immersed in the job, but there couldn’t be more of a disconnect.


There are a few reasons why the position isn’t a fit: The work,  the company, or you.


Finding your “dream job” is like finding a four-leaf clover. It’s possible, but rare. There can be many aspects of a job that you enjoy, then there are those small problems that over time become more and more prominent.


If you feel like you’re in work limbo, here are a few helpful tips to address issues head on.


What to do when…


The work is the problem.

Meet with your manager to discuss the issues you have so you can find out where the disconnect is coming from. Be straightforward with what you were expecting, be prepared to use examples and reference your job description if you need to. Make a point to express your concerns.


Bring a list of your expectations and a plan for what you would like to be doing. Work with your manager to align your goals with their goals for you. Job descriptions can be vague and can change over time. Sometimes it’s a matter of interpretation. If you didn’t work through those questions during the interview process you need to now.


The company is no longer a fit.

Casual or business attire, ping pong tables or boardrooms, open floor plans or cubicle farms…none is better than the other; it all depends on your preference. Going to onsite interviews only gives you a glimpse of what company culture is like. Working five days a week is a completely different experience.


You spend a lot of time at work, so not liking your environment will affect your work if you let it. It’s a fact that if you are happier at work, the work you produce will be significantly better. Find solace somewhere (or in someone) in the office when you need a break to regroup. Having a work buddy to vent, joke, or get coffee with can make all the difference.


You can’t seem to connect anymore.

Sometimes you have to admit to yourself: it’s not them, it’s you. One day you might wake up and realize you just can’t sit in an office chair staring at a computer screen anymore. And that’s okay! But when you start to waver on your decisions and responsibilities, you must make time to discuss it with your supervisor.


No one likes to be caught off-guard and giving a two-weeks notice is proper, but consider meeting with your manager to talk about future opportunities in your position, or in the company before you make any rash decisions. Try proposing a plan that works with them and changes the course of your career to fit your goals.  


If the disconnect continues or the job description wasn’t accurate, you will have to make a decision to stay or leave. One simple question to ask yourself is “Will this job experience align with my ultimate professional goals?” If it doesn’t, it’s time to consider other jobs.


If it might help you down the road it might be beneficial to stick around (at least for a little while), especially if you’re in a position that even tangentially allows you to learn new things that you do enjoy.


Last Updated: December 2, 2016
About the author

Cally Martin

Callan is a social media loving, blog writing, event planning freelancer who believes in the power of the oxford comma. Originally from America’s high-five (Michigan), she’s been in Austin since 2015 and doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. When not attached to WiFi, she can be found running around the lake or drinking mimosas at brunch.