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How do I move on from my bad career moves?

I have gotten myself into a bad career situation that I don't know how to move on from. I left a job in December because I felt that I didn't have growth opportunities in the position. I took a position that promised to be a step up, but turned out to be a glorified receptionist, and after discussing this with my manager, I was terminated. My previous job had already been filled but I was interviewed for a similar position in a different sector of the company. I had several other interviews lined up around the same time. I was offered the job in the different sector of the company and foolishly didn't think it would be much different than my previous role, and didn't ask many questions. After accepting the offer, I cancelled my other interviews. I started my new job last week and am having serious remorse. The new position is nothing like my previous position, and has an entirely different culture. I think I sold myself short, accepting the job with the company I felt loyalty to, without exploring my other options. Something hasn't felt right from the first day, and I've been having anxiety attacks about the new job and my future there. I'm not sure how to deal with this situation. I feel that if I leave the company a second time I will surely burn my bridges there. I know I need to give this more time, but it is difficult to do so with the constant anxiety and remorse. Has anyone been through a similar situation, and how did you cope?


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Positive: You have a job

Negative: You think you made a mistake

Remedy: Look for another job, but take your time, ask questions, ask to speak with potential co-workers before you accept, make your decision and move on with your life.

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

Relax, and don't overthink it. I also don't cancel interviews unless I am absolutely sure I have a better job.

(Chief Financial Officer) |

I did what you did, early in my career. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was doing two interviews a day for two weeks and only got a single rejection. I leaped at one of them and it turned out to be wrong. I was gone in about 8 - 9 months and into a better position the following month.

Don't get discouraged but take your time analyzing where you land next time before you say 'yes'.

Wendy Carlstrom
Title: Accountant
Company: Casa Systems, Inc.
(Accountant, Casa Systems, Inc.) |

If you are not happy with where you are now, or what you are doing, then the answer is clear. Figure out what you want and make it happen. Look for a new job while still doing your current job to the best of your abilities. The key is to stay positive about things and work towards your goal. Tune up your resume, and get back out there for more interviews. This is the time to look for the job you want versus the job that you need.

Didzis Silis
Title: Business Development Manager
Company: Amberfide
(Business Development Manager, Amberfide) |

In addition to the valuable comments already made by others - I would also like to share one more advice. By all means, do take your time, breathe deeply and consider whether you could still somehow improve the situation at your current job.

However, if even after a few more weeks/a month you still feel bad about the whole situation (low pay, mismatch in culture) - do resign sooner rather than later.

Everyone can make a wrong decision for one reason or the other. However, if you make a wrong decision and try stubbornly sticking with it for too long - there is a very good chance that no matter how hard you try, it will eventually not work out after all and you will quit anyway. And then you will additionally have the challenge of having to explain that "strange 3-5 month position" on your CV/resume in all your upcoming interviews for at least the next 5 years. You might want to avoid that.

However - as said before - whatever you decide, do take your time and consider it carefully. Good luck with making the right decision and finding a matching opportunity (if indeed needed) soon!

Gary Honig
Title: President
Company: Creative Capital Associates Factoring Co..
LinkedIn Profile
(President, Creative Capital Associates Factoring Company) |

This may or may not help; I have a friend Hollis who has created a new company to help people self guide their way through professional change. Here it is - ReinventionWorks has a mission: to revolutionize the process for people and businesses moving through intentional change. Get tools, resources and the information you’ll need to start and continue on your reinvention path. Learn from peers. Find support and stay motivated. Connect with service providers who can help with the journey to your next future.

(Fiscal Officer) |

I have not been in this situation however, know that the key is to stay positive. This would definitely allay 80% of your stress, keep looking and move on when the time is right.

ArLyne Diamond
Title: Owner - President
Company: Diamond Associates
LinkedIn Profile
(Owner - President, Diamond Associates) |

I want to take a different tack. I think you might benefit from some counseling. Career counseling - but also some personal therapy. I mean that in a very positive manner - having been both types of counselors for many years. It sounds to me like your need for a job - any job - gets in the way of your researching, asking questions, and taking care of yourself and your needs/wants in the interview process.

I also suspect that if you had a buddy or a mentor that would help you adapt to the culture in this present job, you might become far more comfortable in the job. You might look around for someone that could be a temporary aid to you in this regard.

I started my career many years ago as a file clerk, switch board operator and receptionist. I became a secretary, executive secretary, manager, etc.... all because I just kept asking to teach me new things or to give me new opportunities as I finished my assigned work. This is a strategy that might work for you as well.

As "anonymous" above suggested - stay positive - try to find solutions within the situation before you consider running away from it.

(Credit Risk Analyst) |

I have been in your situation. I made a career move into an industry which I discovered later on was extremely difficult to get out of. In my frustration, I decided to focus on expanding my skill set by furthering my education. I received an MBA thinking that would be sufficient to transition me into another career. Unfortunately for me, it was not. So now, I am in the process of completing my doctorate in Financial Management. In addition, I am working on a specialization in Business & Financial Modeling through the Wharton School - Univ of PA. I agree with the advice others have given. I would also add that it may be a good idea to update and expand your skills to position yourself for a better career move. There are many options available in addition to getting a degree including certifications, free online courses, and continuing education programs. The key is to never stop learning.

George Holowko
Title: Operations & Finance Consultant
Company: George Holowko, CPA, CCP
(Operations & Finance Consultant, George Holowko, CPA, CCP) |

You didn’t mention how long you had the job which you left in December. I mention this only because the bouncing around might appear more as job-hoppingl Of course, if the interim position was very short, it might be just a speed bump you can ignore on your resume.

There is likely an underlying emotion associated with the feeling of insecurity for being “terminated”. It can shadow your otherwise clear, bright and happy thoughts. Keep in mind your original company was very respectful of you, in that they continued to find a place for you. That says something VERY positive about you AND the company.

I can readily understand how you would have felt the immediate obligation to your current position as your “thank you” for their support, but, I suppose you now have learned a lesson on cancelling interviews. If there is still the chance to reopen those discussions, WITHOUT the risk of upsetting the folks in your current role, it might be of value. One never knows if a better opportunity is out there for them.

Your discomfort might simply be the series of changes and the roller coaster ride you had in getting there. We all feel and handle stress in different ways. Any job change, even if the job itself is financially unnecessary, will create stress.

As for remorse… Remorse could be reserved for declining an opportunity and then finding yourself unemployed. Trust me, I know!!! ;)

Meanwhile, shoulders back & chin up! Breath deep, relax, learn & adapt. Life is good!

(Director of Finance) |

I feel for you as I'm in a similar situation. Please don't judge yourself so harshly.

What helps me is to keep in mind that I made the best decision I could with the information I had available and that taking a new job is always a risk, one never can be certain what it's going to be like until one is actually there.

What I'm doing is focusing on what I can do to make this job more what I wanted it to be and where I can make a difference. This will help my resume and help me be more effective in an interview to explain what I accomplished and why I am leaving. It's difficult and time consuming, but my situation has improved as a result. For the longer term plan, I'm really thinking about what it is I want to do and identifying the type of organization I want be at and keeping in mind I have to be patient.

I think it's important to not rush forward into something else until you are clear on what it is you want to achieve and then make a game plan. Think of these mistakes you may have made as a learning opportunities and don't obsess about them. Reach out to others that you trust to talk about the situation and remember that you will eventually obtain what you want. Your situation is more common than you may realize.

Lynn Fountain
Title: MBA CGMA CRMA, Past Chief Audit Executiv..
Company: Business Consultant
LinkedIn Profile
(MBA CGMA CRMA, Past Chief Audit Executive, Business Consultant) |

I read through all the comments. Each are on target. I specifically agree with the comment of obtaining some career counseling. It is difficult to tell what stage of your career you are in. But in any respect, it sounds like you could benefit from a professional career coach who could provide some insights to tactics on interviewing, identifying if the job would be a good fit, knowing what type of questions to ask but more so....figuring out your longer term path. And by long term I don't mean the next 10-20 years. Heck, long term these days can be 3 years or less. The average milleniual changes jobs every 4.4 years. However to be happy with your choices, seek someone out you can speak to one on one and who can provide you an independent and honest view of your situation. Good luck.

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