SUCCEDING IN YOUR NEW JOB
You’re hired! Congratulations! Now what?
With a new job there is no denying the excitement that comes with such a life transition. You may be nervous and apprehensive, and there may be unforeseen dangers, hidden alliances, secret languages, and seemingly tranquil minefields to negotiate through. In order to succeed, both socially and professionally, you're expected to learn the lingo, follow the dress code, and pick up on the acceptable behaviors. That's a whole lot to do!
The company's HR department should help you learn about the office culture, but most of your success at a new job depends on you. Below are some tips to help you succeed at your new job from day one.
Show up early. Nothing gets noticed more than an employee who is constantly late. Even if bosses tell you it’s ok — it’s not. Nothing tarnishes your reputation quicker than being the late person. The boss won’t rely on you and your future growth can be limited.
Work with your boss. Ask clarifying questions. Knowing the expectations of your leaders (and peers) is extremely valuable for your success. Even if you feel intimidated by your boss, ask about expectations. This is the clearest way to get them to think about it in the first place. You and your boss should agree to expectations and then check on progress periodically.
Tell your boss you want to do an amazing job.
What could I do to exceed your expectations?
What have past employees done that made your life much easier?
What tips would you pass along from the most successful employees who have had this job?
What is the worst thing I could do in this job that you want me to avoid?
Whom should I emulate? Who is great in this role that I should learn from?
How can I best help you?
Ask directly for constructive feedback and criticism. Your boss may be too busy to put in the effort needed for you to succeed. If you ask for feedback in a pleasant, non-defensive way you will likely get it. Push for real feedback and be open to hearing it whether you agree or not. Don’t be defensive or you’ll never get real criticism. It’s much easier for your boss to avoid the confrontation than putting the time into thinking through what you could do better.
Seek out a mentor. Most experienced employees would gladly become your informal mentor. This is one of your most valuable career management tools that can build advocates beneficial for you in the future. Also connect with professional associations within your field to help guide you.
Don’t overly rely on HR. Connect with your boss and their boss. HR will carefully manage the sensitive information you give them separate from your managers. But remember, they are not your free psychoanalysts.
Be humble. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t try to act like you know it all from the first day. Nobody expects you. In fact, they’ll resent you if you try to act like you can.
In Your First Weeks
Interview your peers, employees on your team: set up a meeting and ask them same questions as above, plus:
How can I best work with my boss, what does he/she love/hate?
What mistakes did you make that I can avoid?
Your job is to make your boss’s job easier — to help your boss and the company succeed. Always have that in mind even if it’s not in your job description.
Always bring a solution to every problem. Be associated with problem solving, not problems, it creates a positive halo around you.
Say “yes” to work even when don’t want to. Everybody loves employees who take on projects with enthusiasm. The world is filled with people who sigh when assigned work.
Schedule weekly/monthly one-on-one meetings with your boss. Prepare them in advance by providing an agenda with a list of the things you’re working on developing and tell them you’d love feedback on how to improve at those things.
Don’t get defensive or you won’t get additional feedback. The more positive feedback you get, the more likely your boss will remember it at the annual review time. Make sure to thank them for their time.
After you feel stable in your role and with your relationship with your boss — make sure to get to know your boss’s boss -- manage this cautiously. If your boss loves you, you want your bosses boss to as well!
Always challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone.