The crucial adjustment period after starting a new job, as you’re trying to figure out your place in the workforce, can be an anxious time. There’s so much more to it than making a few passable ‘work friends’ and finding a decent local cafe for the lunchtime rush. It’s about staking your claim, making your presence felt and laying some solid foundations.
Of course, embarking on any new venture can be daunting, but whether you’re making your first steps on the career ladder, or have landed a new role leading a team at your dream company, the teething problems are bound to feel quite similar. So, it’s always a good idea to have a solid and flexible plan in place on how to settle comfortably and confidently.
No matter how many times we do it and how old we get, the first day at any new job always feels a little like the first day of school and you should prepare yourself accordingly. Study the organisational structure to get an idea of who holds sway in what areas and also get your hands on any internal documents to help shed some light on the company culture and your employer’s goals and also study the interactions between leadership and middle management. Examine the interpersonal dynamics of any office and you’ll soon understand how it operates.
Schedule a meeting with your boss early on to determine their expectations and make sure you are meeting them. The first few weeks and months of any job can often feel awkward around the managers, but if you have a strong idea of what is expected of you and how much or how little they want to be involved from the offset, you’ll have a much better chance of finding your lane in your new role.
Regular meetings will also give you the opportunity to build a rapport with your bosses. Remember, it’s not a one-way relationship either – don’t be afraid to ask them for feedback.
Ultimately, how effectively you can get anything done at a workplace will be directly tied into the strength of your relationships with those above and beneath you. This means greasing those wheels as soon as possible, and making sure everyone knows who you are and what you’re all about. The wonderful thing about starting afresh anywhere is that you have the opportunity to make an impression from a completely blank slate. Use this to your advantage.
If you’re a senior executive hire, keep an eye out for young professionals that might be in the market for a mentor, and if you are one of those young professionals, it never hurts to have an experienced mind to bounce ideas off.
Try to net yourself a big win relatively early on and make significant contributions to the team within the first few months. This way, you not only establish yourself as an indispensable team member, but establish your credibility and generate a decent amount of forward momentum. Make it abundantly clear that you’re adding value to the team as soon as humanly possible.
You might have signed up for a job description, but that description seldom does justice to the job itself when you actually hit the ground at a new job. Take the first few weeks to understand exactly what your role is and take the time to make it your own.
Results will come, eventually, but take the time first to develop your understanding of the company (its customers, its competitors and its hierarchy) and your role within it. The more knowledge you have about your job, the better equipped you will be to do it well.