Career talks always advise you to find a company who aligns with you in every way, from its mission and vision, to even workplace culture. And although discovering company mission and vision isn’t so hard (more often than not, you can find them on company websites), uncovering their values – especially their expression of them – and work environment can be a lot more difficult.
In fact, most of the time, you’ll only get an inkling or start realising there are some misalignments after you’ve joined a company and started work. But there’s a sliver of good news – you’re not alone in this. For instance, 22.4% of respondents in the annual Singapore 100 Leading Graduate Employers Survey 2021 conducted by GTI Media Singapore (S100 Survey) seem to think that they won’t find an organisation they’re completely aligned with on their first try.
The survey gives us a vague idea on why they’ll be moving on too – among other factors and numbers, 32.2% said that it was difficult to get information about the office environment, and 28.6% expressed that getting an idea of day-to-day responsibilities on the job wasn’t easy, either.
So, here’s the thing. Even without delving too deeply, what the survey showed was that it can be hard to see some red flags before you start work in your new position. If you think about it, when you’re just starting your new job, everything is new and exciting. And even if you feel some discontent in the early days, you’re more likely to chalk it up to the stress of learning everything and catching up to everyone as soon as possible.
But maybe you’re not just anxious about being the new kid on the block (or office, rather). It’s possible that your organisation just isn’t right for you, even if the job role fits you to a T. Here are some red flags to look out for, and which can help you pinpoint why you’re not happy in your company.
Your values don’t align with your company’s
It’s known that if your core opinions and beliefs (otherwise known as values) don’t align with that of your company’s, the resulting clash could leave you feeling stressed and completely miserable, or even trigger depression or lead to physical illnesses. So, you did your research on the company’s vision and mission, and tried your best to lift the lid on the company’s values over your interviews.
But when you actually started working there, you realised that not all your core values were aligned with your company’s. This might be down to a late recognition of values, or even a different understanding or expression of them. A good example would be the expression of ideas in meetings. Perhaps in your company, ideas are only heard if they’re shouted over the ruckus. On the other hand, though, you prefer to think through and carefully plan out your ideas before emailing them after the meeting.
Your work environment isn’t what you expect
When you went down for your in-person interviews during the recruitment process, you enjoyed the calm and quiet office environment you came across. But when restrictions were relaxed and more co-workers started coming down to the office to work, the constant buzz and hum of activity kept distracting you from work and quickly became a source of frustration for you.
This may not be surprising, as not all staff may have been in the office on the days you were there for your interviews, due to work from home guidelines that were in place over the duration of your job hunt.
You’re not excited to go to work
There will always be some days when you just don’t feel like working. If it happens every once in a while, it’s perfectly normal! But what’s not normal is when it goes from sporadic to near-constant – or even worse, evolves into dread. Nobody wants to go to bed depressed on a Sunday evening just because of work the next day.
It might be a simple case of simply figuring out how to recapture that initial excitement you had when you first started. If this is the case, you just need to shift your mindset a little bit and focus on honing or picking up new skills that’ll help you become more efficient at your job.
You can’t focus at work
If you find that you’re constantly trying to drag your concentration from a range of distractions back to your work, your company might not be doing a good job at engaging you, and leaving you unfulfilled.
But take note that if you’re new to the workforce, you might just need the time to get used to concentrating on a myriad of tasks for an entire day, as compared the breaks you had between lectures and tutorials at school.
You have a different working style
Different companies have different working styles, dependent on both size and culture. For instance, a multinational corporation (MNC) would have a more bureaucratic structure, with more formal working arrangements. On the other hand, small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups tend to be more relaxed, with flatter hierarchies and less red tape.
So, if you’re more free-spirited and want to try different hats at work, you’d be a better fit for an SME or start-up, rather than an MNC. On the other hand, if you prefer specialising in one area and not taking on cross-departmental tasks, you’ll be right at home in an MNC.
Although this list isn’t exhaustive, these are signs that you’re a poor fit for your organisation (or your organisation is a poor fit for you). But before you jump the gun, consider listing some reasons why you’re unhappy in the company and talk to your manager or direct supervisor about them.
If you decide to look for another career path, take note not to burn your bridges when asked about why you’re leaving. Instead, explain that you and your organisation were not the fit you had thought it’d be, but you’re thankful for the opportunity given. You’ll not go wrong with an honest, respectful conversation.