3 Steps To Take If You Instantly Regret Your Career Change

woman looking distressed at work

Adobe Stock / Fairygodboss Staff

Profile Picture
Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 20, 2024 at 2:47AM UTC

You’ve made a monumental decision, and you thought it was a good one — you changed your career and transitioned to a new role, a new company or a completely new job. But what you thought would move you forward and open up doors has actually proven to do the opposite, and you’re regretting the move, almost instantly.

It’s not an uncommon feeling to wonder What did I do? after making a life-altering choice. If your big change is leaving you with more questions than answers, how do you re-pivot?

1. Identify what’s going wrong.

Take a moment to pinpoint the specifics of what, exactly, is making you unhappy about the career pivot. Be careful to understand the difference between feelings of uncertainty and feelings of regret. It’s natural to question your decision, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the wrong one.

On the other hand, if you can articulate some examples of why this feels wrong or bad, then that could be an indication that it’s most than simply being jarred by a huge change. Consider, too, whether these were problems that you’ve experienced in previous roles — they may not be specific to the career transitions but issues that are more general.

2. Take a minute.

Even if you didn’t love your previous job or career, it probably gave you a sense of safety and security. It will take you some time to adjust to an entirely new landscape, one where you don’t yet feel comfortable. So, before you make any rash decisions, give it some time. You could very well grow to love your new career, but if you don’t let it grow on YOU, then you’ll never know.

Unless you truly believe your new job is jeopardizing your happiness or well-being (such as if you’re facing a toxic work environment or being harassed), then try to give it at least six or so months. Once you’ve reached the half-year mark, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.

3. Formulate clear career goals.

Once you’ve pinpointed what’s going wrong and given the situation enough time to marinate, determine what it is you DO want. The last steps you took weren’t the right ones for you, so what, precisely, would you prefer the next time around? What are your career goals, at the end of the day? What do you want to be working toward? 

Figuring out your objectives for your professional life is the only way you’ll ensure that you don’t make the same mistake next time and give you a chance to truly thrive and find real satisfaction in your career.

--

This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for someone who regrets their career change? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always