After having experienced all the joys of job searching - spending hours searching through thousands of jobs, tailoring your CV, planning and passing interviews - now it’s time to prepare yourself for a new challenge - your first months at a new job. During the first few months at a new job, you are going “to fight for your rights”, trying to impress your new employer, assimilate into the new culture and meet the high expectations of your new colleagues. Sounds stressful, isn’t it?
To make this period less stressful, Michael Watkins, the author of “The First 90 Days” recommends to develop an action plan with a focus on one thing: creating value for the company. We suggest you reading this book before you begin your new job as it offers proven strategies for moving successfully into a new role at any point in one's career.
Here are some golden tips to follow in your first days at a new job. So, take a deep breath and
Start with the basics....
1. Be friendly and curious
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is what expected from you. Figure out “who is who” and how the roles are established inside the group. It’s better to start approaching people you are going to work with on a daily basis. Make friends, but avoid getting involved in any kind of intrigues at this stage. Don’t forget, the walls have ears. Remain polite, professional and neutral.
2. Listen and learn
Each company has its own communication patterns and professional jargon. Don’t be surprised if you can’t understand everything from the beginning.The first 90 days are the time to listen and learn, so don’t be shy to ask questions. Make friends, ask for help and learn as much as possible every single day.
3. Coordinate expectations with your boss
According to Watkins, one of the components of success at a new job are small early wins: “Early wins excite and energize people, build your credibility, and quickly create value for your organization.” But it is essential you understand what are the company’s strategic goals and what your boss consider to be a win. Try to figure out what they expect from you and demonstrate you are working on these problems.
Second, avoid these common pitfalls…
In the first few weeks, you can develop a good strategy for achieving your ultimate goals. But, your plan may result in a failure if you get caught in one of the following traps:
1. Setting up unrealistic goals. You put the bar too high, trying to show yourself in a better light. You give great promises, but don’t reach your objectives. If you make big decisions at the beginning without having measured all pros and cons, you risk to commit a mistake and hinder your reputation. It’s wiser to target small wins at the beginning.
2. Trying to do too much. You throw yourself in all directions, losing the sight of what’s really important. In addition, as a newcomer you receive all the "dirty" work, which makes it impossible for you to accomplish the work you were hired for. Ask for a feedback from your manager or boss to know what is expected from you and what’s really worth the effort. Let them prioritize your goals in order they could realize the load of work you have.
3. Being arrogant. You have a valuable experience in a certain field or you just want to be treated as a superior. So, you act like if you were better than your colleagues in certain activities. It’s risky. You take a risk to get excluded by your colleagues. If you don’t prove them why exactly you deserve this red carpet treatment, your credibility may fade away quickly.
4. Sticking with what you know. As Watkins has observed "the dangers of sticking with what you know, working very hard at doing it and failing miserably are very real". Every well-established group has its own internal dynamics, habits and style of work. If you are making your conclusions too early on "problems" and "solutions", you risk to find no support. Act gradually, always.
The first days at a new job are like first days at school - you will get used to it as time goes on. Meanwhile, be patient - listen, learn and make new friends. If you give yourself enough time to all these activities, you will find your place within your new team and organization.