Author: Tara Smylie
We’ve all felt it: that sinking feeling we get when a new position isn’t what we thought it would be. But there’s no need to despair. No matter what happens, you can gain valuable work experience and a new list of potential references. If your current work circumstances aren’t quite doing it for you, consider the following tips to help you take charge of the situation.
Identify the problem
To hone in on the source of your discomfort, you’ll have to put words to your feelings. Take a mental walk-through of your average workday, and when you hit a sore spot, write down why you think that is. Then, condense your notes into a list of specific, tangible issues that affect your day-to-day work life. Are you finding certain tasks to be beneath your skill level? Not what you expected out of this role? Are certain colleagues making it hard to focus on your job? The more specific you can make this list, the better.
Once you’ve identified some key pain points, brainstorm some changes that could fix them. More than likely, your supervisors can adjust your work environment or project load to improve your experience. Say you’re working as a lab assistant, and would like to spend more of your time helping researchers and less on menial tasks. Before you tell anyone at work, come up with a few ways you could make this happen, such as assisting with higher-level work one day a week or working with a different research team.
Meet with your boss or supervisor
Once you’ve thoroughly assessed the situation, schedule a meeting with your supervisor and ask them if there’s any room to make changes. Politely explain how your solutions could help the organization, along with improving your job satisfaction. Keep an open mind as they respond to your ideas: Even if they don’t fully agree with what you’ve proposed, they’ll likely meet you halfway.
Perhaps they can’t assign you to a different team, but will green-light your suggestion to spend some afternoons shadowing a senior researcher. Or maybe they can lay out a path to help you secure a promotion to a more research-based position within the next year.
Take advantage of the networking opportunity
Even if you do end up resigning, here’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If your job isn’t what you hoped it would be, the connections you make in your current role can help you with a career move in the future. Maybe your boss will write you a top-notch reference letter, or you’ll be able to come back and work for your current employer in a different role someday. For such scenarios to pan out, you’ll have to make a sharp impression while you can.
As you consider how to make the most of your circumstances, don’t underestimate the power of horizontal networking – making connections with people at your level. You probably have a lot more in common with your coworkers than with your bosses, which means that you can all share resources and keep each other up-to-date about new developments in your field.
Be courteous from start to finish
Whether you’re resigning from a four-month internship or a full-time job you’ve had for two years, a resignation letter will help you make a graceful exit. Your supervisors will take note of your professionalism and will appreciate having a record of your reasons for leaving. If all goes well, you can also ask your boss to write a letter of recommendation for you.
Keep on moving
So you’ve made your exit. Now what? Simple: get back on that grind. Reach out to your contacts and keep tabs on all job boards in your field. If you want a really competitive edge, consider working with a recruiter. And this time around, you know exactly what you don’t want in a work experience, so you can pursue your next opportunity with greater clarity.
If you’re eager to find your next science or biotech opportunity, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you land a job that complements your skills and career interests.
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