Question: After working as an elementary school secretary for 15 years, I was transferred to a high school because of budget cuts. The environment is so unpleasant that I am already thinking about leaving.
On the first day of school, the administrators here were not welcoming at all. When I approached them and introduced myself, I immediately saw the uncaring look on their faces. I have since concluded that they are control freaks who enjoy pointing out employees' mistakes.
I am so unhappy at this school that I would rather work in retail or cleaning. What do you think I should do?
Answer: Despite your disillusionment, give this job a little more time before making any irrevocable decisions. After a major life change, the negative aspects can temporarily blind you to the positives, so you don't want to jump ship prematurely.
One likely source of your discomfort is a significant shift in organizational culture. Elementary and high schools differ greatly in terms of faculty, students, rules, procedures and leadership style. This disparity undoubtedly took you by surprise and will require a period of adjustment.
You might also reconsider your assumptions about administrators. Their "uncaring" first-day demeanor may actually have reflected a preoccupation with the myriad demands of a new school year. And correcting employee errors is simply a necessary part of their job.
If you eventually decide to leave, just be sure to choose your next position carefully. After a career in education, the transition to retail or cleaning would be much more difficult than the one you are now experiencing.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach: www.yourofficecoach.com.