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I've recently switched jobs around 1 month ago. I am now in a type of company I've never worked in before, in an industry I've never worked in before, but the money was a big step up for me and the role seemed to be a good fit by how they were describing it.

I went through ~ 5 video interviews, a HackerRank and Calliper test, and various other phone calls.

The problem is... I think they got the wrong guy for the role. I can't tell if I was just good at interviewing or they were just really bad at doing interviews, but the more I am in the role the more I realise that their expectations of what I can do are different than what they think I should be able to do. Mind that I didn't lie at all on my resume or during the interview process. I answered all their questions etc to the best of my knowledge.

The thing is, as of now (3 weeks and ~ 2 days), I didn't do much, just trying to read documentation, meeting people, etc. The company flew me out to their main HQ in the US (I live in Europe) for two weeks, all expenses covered, and I feel very uncomfortable knowing how much they spent on me in terms of money and time (the interview and background checks took 2 months).

Since I've been here in the HQ my boss and my boss' boss told me their vision for our department and how key a role I play in making everything happen. I told them that everything feels overwhelming, that it's going to take time, etc. They played it off saying I'll get the hang of it and that they don't expect a miracle by tomorrow.

Yet the more time passes the more I feel overwhelmed and out of my league. Before you say it, I don't think this is the impostor syndrome talking, I think their expectations when they hired me are different from what I can actually do.

I'm now waiting to finish these 2 weeks overseas before evaluating quitting, as it would be awkward to quit while in the US.

I'm just not sure how should I proceed and what kind of repercussions would I face. Like: could the company expect me to repay them back for the travel expenses if I quit immediately after or during my trip?

While I do live in Europe where employment laws are stricter when it comes to firing employees, I'd like for it to not come down to my employer deciding to fire me because he thinks I'm incompetent, so me resigning might be a better deal for the employer also...

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    @thursdaysgeek like I said, this job is paying ~ 2x what my previous job did (due to change in industry). I do know the "new job feeling", but usually my bosses didn't seem to consider me as important in my previous jobs as in my current one. It seems they expect a lot and I don't know if I can deliver what they want... hence maybe it's best for me to quit and allow them to find somebody more fitting? – CryHard Jun 4 at 18:02
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    @CryHard It seems they expect a lot and I don't know if I can deliver what they want: You won't know until you try. You've only been there 3 weeks. That's nothing. – Seth R Jun 4 at 18:08
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    @CryHard Quitting based on what you think they expect you to do probably isn't a good idea. You should at least attempt to do what has been asked of you before throwing in the towel. – sf02 Jun 4 at 18:10
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    Often having a go at stuff past your percieved limits will help you to break through those limits. – JustSaying Jun 4 at 18:13
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    @CryHard don't worry about their best interests. That's their job. – Seth R Jun 4 at 18:36
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You said yourself you're in a type of company you've never worked in a before, in an industry you've never worked in before. You're going to have a lot to learn and 3 weeks is hardly any time at all for that. Give yourself a chance. What you are going through is completely normal.

Depending on the position, I've taken jobs where it took me almost 6 months to a year before I felt comfortable. Give yourself at least that much time before making any decisions. Trust that they knew what they were doing when they hired you and have faith that you will learn what you need to when you need to. It's just going to take some time. That's how we grow.

Until your boss tells you otherwise, you're doing fine.

  • Thank you Seth. I'll hold on and see how it progresses. – CryHard Jun 5 at 12:33
  • You should also ensure you’re honest with your employer as things progress, and be open to communication...but also not annoying. If they are aware of your issues, but still think you’re the right person for the job, its obvious they have confidence in you, and open communication will ensure it stays. Good luck! Things’ll be fine. – morbo Jun 6 at 12:49
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    I prefer to share my experience here rather than posting a new answer. Just a year ago I started a new job in a different country with a different language. Also in a new company type (I was working before in a start-up <15 employees, now a 400+ employees company) and in a new role (from embedded to machine learning) and also in a new field. I have spent almost all this year learning and sometimes felt like I was not adding value to the company. Big changes need more time for you to get in shape and feel comfortable. For sure they saw something valuable in you that you haven't seen yet. – gustavovelascoh Jul 2 at 8:57
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Being overwhelmed in a new job is completely normal. You don't know the business, the people, the procedures - you barely know where the toilets are. It's also easy to think you made a mistake.

The best thing to do in that case is move forward. Try to figure things out, ask questions, take on small tasks on the way to learning how to do harder tasks. Read documentation, ask where to find information, ask more questions.

As you proceed, if things are still not getting any better, ask your boss how they think you are doing, and what they would like you to do better. At the same time, you can be job searching for something that is more comfortable. But don't quit this job until you've got another job offer. It's better to be trying and perhaps failing than to be a quitter. That will help you get another job - quitting a job right away makes it much harder to find the next one.

When they hired you, they thought you either had the skills or the potential to do the job. And they do know more about what the job requires than you do. You know your own skills, they know their needs. If you quit right away, you are not only saying that your skills are inadequate, but that they don't know what skills are needed for their job, and they do a bad job of hiring. That might be true, but you haven't been there long enough to know that yet.

  • Thanks! Too bad I can only mark one answer as correct :(. – CryHard Jun 5 at 12:32
  • @CryHard and choosing the one with the most upvotes is what I do as well. :) – thursdaysgeek Jun 5 at 15:10
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Before you say it, I don't think this is the impostor syndrome talking

I think this is imposter syndrome talking. If you were being paid to carry around sacks of flour but were not physically capable of doing so my answer would be different. You are being paid for your mental labor and the though processes you demonstrated during the interviews landed you the position.

Don't quit straight away unless you want to due to stress or unhappiness. If you are concerned about not being able to meet deadlines or a negative performance review then schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss proactive measures you can both take to perform better at your job (training, mentoring, etc).

I get you want to do right by your company and thats great but from my position as a manager I would be more disappointed with all the overhead and cost from someone resigning in such short notice than a sub-optimal hire. Especially given that it was only 3 weeks which is scarcely enough time for developer onboarding let alone for a 'key role in a departments vision'.

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@CryHard, if your company HQ is in Ireland, contact the Employee Assistance Program, EAP, for support. It is confidential, generally done by an outside company like VHI or Laya, and they can give you guidance and orientation in this moment.

It seems the interview process was rigorous, so they think you match their needs.

Perhaps you are feeling lost because of the amount on unknowns you are facing right now. It is a scary situation that can easily undermine anyone's confidence, especially if one demands a lot from themselves. this situation usually happens when people do a big change in career and it is completely normal to feel that way.

Put in a paper, mind map or whatever all the unknown areas you have at this moment, find baby steps that could help you cover them, and ask for your manager's feedback, to make sure both of you are in synch and also to get any support they can provide to you in this moment.

Remember, they did not hire you in a whim, so trust their judgement until you have absolute proof they made a mistake.

And give a call to EAP, they can provide guidance in how to face this challenge.

  • Thanks. We do have VHI, I might give them a call. – CryHard Jun 5 at 12:27
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From your question I find some points that you might not be looking at currently.

I am now in a type of company I've never worked in before, in an industry I've never worked in before, but the money was a big step up for me and the role seemed to be a good fit by how they were describing it.

  • The main reason that you accepted the current job is money as you clearly said and the management is paying to your liking.

Since I've been here in the HQ my boss and my boss' boss told me their vision for our department and how key a role I play in making everything happen.

  • Your management trusts your abilities and are considering you and your work to be of much importance.

Feeling of being overwhelmed in a new job is normal. Being treated nicely, considered important and payed handsomely might make some of us to feel being burdened of gratitude, especially when we have worked in environment that was not suitable and toxic. Sometimes it even takes months or year to being comfortable with your job and your position is a key position that might take a couple of years.

Quitting is an option, but it will be difficult for you and the company as well. Based on your location you might find it hard to find a job that will tick all the boxes for you. As for company they will need to hire and train new candidate which will cost them some money. I would suggest to clear your mind and evaluate your decision keeping your current scenarios in mind.

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