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The COVID-19 pandemic changed nearly everything about the way we live and work. But amid the Great Resignation, workers are coming face to face with another, less-talked-about phenomenon.

Kathryn Minshew, The Muse’s cofounder and CEO, is calling it “Shift Shock”: that feeling when you start a new job and realize, with either surprise or regret, that the position or company is very different from what you were led to believe.

In early 2022, we surveyed The Muse audience, and, out of more than 2,500 respondents, 72% said they’ve experienced Shift Shock.

“This is a generational shift, driven by Gen Z and millennial candidates who are more likely to believe the employer-employee relationship should be a two-way street,” Minshew says. “On top of this, the pandemic has emphasized for many that ‘life is short,’ which means candidates are less likely to stick around in unfulfilling jobs.”

Additional findings from The Muse’s Shift Shock survey are as follows:

  • 29% said their Shift Shock encompassed the job and the company
  • 41% would give a new job two to six months if they felt Shift Shock as a new hire
  • 48% would try to get their old job back if they felt Shift Shock at a new company
  • 80% said it’s acceptable to leave a new job before six months if it doesn’t live up to your expectations

Minshew wrote more in-depth about Shift Shock in an op-ed for Bloomberg. (You can also read a syndicated version in the Washington Post.) In the piece, The Muse's career coaches offer guidance on how to work through Shift Shock, and avoid it in the first place. 

If you’ve experienced Shift Shock and would like to share your story with The Muse, reach out to us at press@themuse.com.

Updated 3/18/2022