I graduated from college last year and took a job that I thought was perfect for
me and for my degree. But I am now having some problems.
How do I decide if a new career is what I need or just a new boss/position/company?
If jumping ship is the best option how should I go about doing it? What support
system do you need in place? What are the risks?
The Career Doctor responds:
I guess the first thing I want to say — partly as a lesson to younger folks — is that this
problem could partly be solved by internships. Not entirely but the more internships
a college student can undertake the more knowledge s/he will have about the types
of jobs careers and employers. Besides internships other good ways to learn more
about different jobs and careers include informational interviews and job shadowing.
That said please realize that yours is a VERY common situation. Many new grads
come to realize that they made a mistake in taking that first job after college and that
something needs to be done. Many many college grads switch jobs in that first year
The question those folks who are unhappy in their jobs need to decide is whether it is
the job/employer that is wrong or whether it is the career choice that is wrong. One of the
questions I ask people who approach me is whether they love the work they do or not.
If the work itself is completely unsatisfying or boring then it is most certainly not the
right job — and it might not even be the right career. I usually ask about their work environment
and whether they like their co-workers and boss… and if they hate them but enjoy their job
then it is simply time to switch employers and find a similar job in a better organization.
So if they are unhappy in their jobs — and it is the job itself that is driving them over the
edge not the environment then I advise career research and exploration. In this situation
research other jobs in the field talk with old professors and get a handle on what other
options are out there.
Jumping ship is not a big deal especially if you have put in about a year with the company.
You do not want to be switching jobs every year though because eventually you will be
labeled a job-hopper so take the time to really know the type of job and type of employer
you want to work for — and then find your ideal situation.
Hope this information helps. We also have a quiz on our site that folks can take to help them
determine whether it is the job or the career.
Go to: Time to Change
Jobs…or Careers? A Quintessential Careers Quiz.