Dear Sam: I recently earned my graduate degree and was offered a job at a top firm this spring. Based on the title and job posting, I thought it would be similar to an experience I had prior and thoroughly enjoyed; hence, I was excited to start my first career position.
Almost five months later, I have not used any of my education. I go weeks without a single thing assigned to me! During our weekly meetings, I have asked my manager if I will be given projects, but nothing has changed. I’m sitting all day not utilizing my skills and feel my confidence diminishing by the minute.
How much longer should I wait to see if something changes? I don’t want to be seen as a job hopper, but given I am not gaining any value from this role, maybe moving to the next position would be the best option and outweigh any repercussions from changing jobs early in my career. – Bob
Dear Bob: Wow, that sounds challenging for sure. Are there perhaps other changes going on in the workplace that is preventing a focus on your onboarding? Is there anyone you can approach beyond your direct supervisor to figure out why you were hired if you are not being utilized? It would be great if you could have a heart-to-heart with your supervisor and show a detailed list of what you have been asked to do thus far. Perhaps putting the lack of work on paper would help illuminate the fact that they are paying for a resource they are underutilizing. In the meantime, be sure you are using all that downtime for self-development, self-driven training, and other ways to deepen your knowledge base.
If, after that next discussion, nothing appears to be changing, I would launch your search. Your resume would read 2022-present for this current role, not April 2022-present, so the reader doesn’t have to know that the experience has only lasted five months. During the interview, you should have no shame in explaining that the position you were hired for and your job description do not in any way match your role, and on most days, you spend your time chasing things to do as you love to be immersed in your work. Any potential employer will take these as positive traits reflecting well on you. Don’t worry about the perception of your looking for a job after just five months; hiring managers understand that sometimes positions are not what they seem, and it is often best to make a change than to stay and languish.
As you likely will not be informing your supervisor of your search, see if you can get in touch with any former peers or managers and ask for a letter of recommendation. I suggest this as I doubt you have had a performance review, so a letter of recommendation will vouch that the reason for your desired departure is nothing related to performance.
I wish you tremendous success in your search. If you are still with the company when we get to the new year, that will allow you to list “through 2023″ on your resume, which could be an added benefit for your resume; but don’t hold up your search for that purpose as this is a strong time in the market. Get that great job that keeps you busy, learning, and growing as a professional!