Before you make a panicked leap to another job, make sure things really are as bad as they seem. "Talk to the person that hired you and have a frank discussion," suggests Josh Warborg, district president for Robert Half International in Seattle. "It could be this is just the first portion of the job and it may not be what your long-term position will be."
Or, you may find out that what you heard during the interview is not what was said. "Maybe you think they said 10 percent to 15 percent travel, but you're traveling 50 percent to 60 percent of the time," says Paul Dorf, president of Compensation Resources, Inc. in Upper Saddle River, N.J. "They may say, 'You misunderstood, what we said was you're not going to travel more than 20 percent per day.'"
Candor, Then Out the Door?
Once you've confirmed the job conditions aren't going to change, do you tell the company the position isn't a good fit and give notice - or say nothing and secretly return to job hunting?
"If you make it clear that this is not what your expectations were and their attitude is that is just too bad, you have to leave and take that as your lesson to make sure you ask the right questions going in to the next job," says Carl Wellenstein, president of ExecGlobalNet in Downey, Calif. "If you made a wrong decision you really need to move on."
Get out immediately, advises Roberta Chinsky Matuson, principal of Human Resource Solutions in Northampton, Mass. "Inform your employer that you feel it is in both of your best interests to go your separate ways before the company invests any more resources in you," she says. "Offer to work out your notice period, but don't be surprised if you are asked to leave that day."
However, Dorf disagrees. He recommends you stay put and find your next assignment before leaving the current one, especially if a company lied about working conditions to get you to accept a job. "I would never quit until I find another job," he says. "Companies would rather take someone they have to pay more money for and steal (from another company) than someone who's on the beach."
Recruit Some Help
Did a recruiter help place you in the wrong job? Go back to him for help. "I've called clients on behalf of candidates and talked about issues about the job or the nature of the work that have changed," says Warborg. "The recruiting firm's best interest is to make sure both the candidate and the employer are happy. If there's a way it can work out and both sides can remain happy, they'll try to find it."
If the job is simply not what you wanted - but not awful - you may want to try and make things work. Says Warborg: "There could be opportunities you're not seeing. What are the long-term opportunities, and how do those compare to what's happening currently?" If the employer knows you had it tough when you first started, you'll be credited with being a team player by sticking it out, he adds.
You Got Yourself into This Mess
Finally, acknowledge your own part in this fiasco, and resolve to do more research and networking before you take a new job. "You may not have done your due diligence," says Dorf. "I can't tell you how many times I've seen people take jobs or go for interviews without knowing anything about the company."