“If the role isn’t what you signed up for, you should take a step back and check that this is what you want.”

Expectations of a new job don’t always match the reality. In this week’s Creative Career Conundrums, Katie Cadwell gives some advice on settling into a role before deciding if it’s the right fit for you.

1 July 2024

Creative Career Conundrums is a weekly advice column from If You Could Jobs. Each week their selected panel of professionals from the creative industry answers your burning career questions to help you navigate the creative journey.

This week’s question:

I have switched to the brand side after working in design agency. I was hired as a designer where most of the job responsibilities hadn’t been mentioned during my hiring process. But since joining, I’ve been given lot of responsibilities, from creating initial designs and working on animated projects to scripting and connecting with other businesses for team projects. I also have to oversee the team, give briefs, and stay involved from the initial to final steps of each project.

But what is most exhausting is that my responsibilities have never been conveyed to the team. I feel no accountability from their end and end up with delayed projects because they won’t take up the tasks I’ve allocated to them. It’s so exhausting to juggle both the things; I have higher accountability but not enough authority to bring projects into action.

Katie Cadwell, co-founder of branding studio Lucky Dip and The NDA Podcast:

This sounds super frustrating, I’m sorry you’ve been put in this position. Starting a new job is already daunting – it being different from your expectations is a lot to take on.

Don’t assume they’re aware of all the issues you’re facing.

Katie Cadwell

It seems there’s a lot of miscommunication. When that’s the case, the only real answer is to have some frank conversations. Hopefully when you started, there was a timeline set out for check-ins or reviews. They would be a great opportunity to take some of these issues to your manager. Use that time to sit down and clearly define your role. With that in writing, you can clearly demonstrate what support you need in order to do it. Don’t assume they’re aware of all the issues you’re facing.

If that doesn’t work, perhaps go to those who were involved in hiring you. Let them know what your experience has been like so far, I’m sure they’ll be interested to know.

They say it takes 3-6 months to settle into a new job. It’s bound to feel overwhelming while you get into your rhythm. It’s worth remembering that your team might be experiencing that settling in period too, especially if they haven’t been told they’re reporting to you. Good working relationships take a while to form naturally, so try not to put too much pressure on them functioning at 100% just yet.

Ultimately, if the role isn’t what you signed up for, you should take a step back and check that this is what you want. If they had posted an accurate job description, would you have applied? There’s always a chance to step away if you’re unhappy.

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About the Author

Katie Cadwell

Katie Cadwell is co-founder of branding studio, Lucky Dip. She has spent over a decade working with the world's best agencies and nicest clients. A vocal advocate for the creative industry, she founded The NDA Podcast to shed light on some of the biggest secrets in our studios. Through conversations with creative leaders & legends, Katie interrogates the industry’s flaws – hoping to make it a healthier, happier, more accessible place to work.

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