When It’s Not Love at First Sight

When It’s Not Love at First Sight

It was the job I wanted. The job I had worked really hard to get. The job that – almost immediately – I didn’t think I wanted to keep.

My two-week orientation was in NYC, and I was away from home and in full freak-out mode by the second day. The way this company ran its restaurants didn’t make sense to me. I found no organization or sense in its systems. The whole situation was a total culture shock, and my brain began to race with the names of people I could call about a different job.

Luckily, one very insightful chef (who was also going through orientation) managed to talk me off the ledge. He reminded me of few things about starting a new job that I was too blind to see at the time:

1. You’re initially going to be outside of your comfort zone, but you’ll find your way back.

2. You’ll eventually begin to shape the environment where you work into something more recognizable and better-suited to your working style.

His advice may have been simple, but it stuck and so did I. Yes, it took some time to find my groove, but needless to say, I’m so glad I stayed. Through this position, I traveled, I lived in different cities, I opened new restaurants, and I worked to create a job that I loved. Rather than love at first sight, this love grew with hard work, open communication with my boss, and a vision of where this position could take me.

Since becoming a recruiter, I’ve passed this chef’s advice along to other folks in the restaurant biz. One in particular was social media manager I placed at a Minneapolis restaurant. A month after he started, I made my usual call to see how things were going. I learned that neither he nor his employer were convinced they had a good fit. The candidate felt he was spinning his wheels, didn’t have much guidance, and that his head was admittedly not in the game.

Once upon a time, I probably would have told him to jump ship. But now, as a recruiter with similar experience to draw from, I took another route: I advised him to chart a new course with his position, one that involved open and regular communication with his boss and his co-workers, a renewed focus on what he hoped to achieve, and a little patience.

He somewhat reluctantly decided to follow my advice. Flash forward six months and – you guessed it – everyone’s happy. Weekly meetings with his supervisor, collaboration with his colleagues, and a willingness to plug away at social media efforts had paid off. His work eventually helped to double private event sales and tripled the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve party attendance from the previous year. He wouldn’t have enjoyed the fruits of his labors had he left after 30 days into his position. Now, he’s doing what he loves, for a company he likes, and he’s good at it.

So, stick it out. If you’re second-guessing your decision to accept a position, make sure to give it the time it deserves before you up and leave. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you start a new job. Everything’s turned upside down, and change is just plain hard. But the whole point of starting something new is to learn from new responsibilities, new structure, and new people.

It’s a lot harder to do this alone. Reach out to your recruiter, a mentor, or someone you trust for advice. Navigate these waters with a little help, and trust me when I say the journey is worth it.

Feel free to connect with me for advice. Yes, from time to time, people end up in positions or with companies that just don’t click. But – while I’ve worked with people who have regretted their decision to jump ship early on, I’ve never worked with someone who wasn’t happy they decided to stay the course. Good luck!


Kelly Lange, Recruiter

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