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Seb Anthony

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Typical 6 months into new job syndrome


I remember being told in a training session many moons ago that a classic curve for people in a new job or role is that between 6-12 months into it there can suddenly be a 'crash' in confidence.

This has happened with a member of staff in our accounts department, who has gone home in tears today because she feels she just doesn't know anything and thinks she is useless.  She is far from this and a valued member of the team.  Now it may be that she is just under the weather, but her distraught line Manager, who is only 11 months into her own role, is very worried that she may decide to leave and is concerned that she has done something wrong!  

I am trying to find some written evidence in a personnel book that I can show to the Manager, so that she knows that this is a fairly common reaction 6 months into a job, and how best to make them both at ease and in a position to turn this situation round.

Can anyone point me in the right direction please?

7 Responses

  1. Stages of Learning

    Hi Su

    I have a copy of the Stages of Learning model with detailed explanations of each stage which may help explain where your employee is right now.

    PM me if you would like a copy.


  2. Typical 6 months into new job syndrome/stages of learning

    Thanks for these replies.

    Yes please Sue – the Stages of Learning model sounds great- help much appreciated!





  3. beware?

    Hello Su

    I'd advise a degree of caution here.  Every human being is different and identifying a common reaction could result in a misdiagnosis of the particular situation. This could be particularly 'dangerous' with regard to the person's line manager; if she accepts the "Oh, don't beat yourself up about it, it lots of people go through this stage" she may not notice the real causes of the person's problem and therefore not seek solve them today or avoid them tomorrow"

    Yes, many people do go through a crisis of confidence after settling in; it is often the end of the 'honeymoon' period when people realise that:

    a) the nice person who interviewed me is actually a total b******

    b) all the promises of career development/training/coaching/support were actually fibs

    c) the targets they set here are virtually impossible to attain

    d) the culture here is toxic, but you can't see that 'til you've been here a while

    the list could go on.

    These are issues that the organisation and its management need to address rather than dismiss as "well that is "classic" or "normal".

    An individual's loss of confidence in this situation is often due to an internal locus of control; ie "I am responsible for my predicament because I made the error of judgement in accepting this job" 

    You may be more successful for all to sit the person down calmly and privately and try to tease out all her reasons for her unhappiness….there is likely to be more than one.  Then look to address each one in order for her to restore her confidence in herself.

    Sorry not to offer the thing you asked for.

    Rus Slater

  4. Agree with Rus

    Yes, I started to cringe actually when it was suggested that some personnel data was going to be used to convince this staff member that what she is experiencing is normal.

    At a basic human level just listen to what this person has to say; don't ry to advise or give a diffgerent viewpoint (no matter how well intentioned) just listen.  Take what they say at face value, don't try to change their mind about it.  Once you have 'truly' listened ask them what would make them feel differentl what could be done to help?  or what support do they need? Let them get it out and take your time with it, if they can't articulate it straight away, don't offer what you think they would need, give them time to search for it themselves.

    We tend to be well intentioned by giving advice and offering different perspectives whereas all we need to do is just listen.  Here are 2 principles to apply here:

    1. Ask more than tell

    2. Listen more than talk

    Hope that helps.


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