Great expectations: How to win at your first 20 days in a new job
You have just landed a new job. You have 10 days to make an impression, less if you are in a more senior position. After you have filled out all your paperwork, selected your new office supplies and equipment, and had the tour of the office, it is time to get your momentum moving.
If you are replacing someone, find out what the last person did that was right and what was wrong. Ask around. If it is a new position find out where it falls in the org chart, what white space does it fill, between whom and who. Make a list of all the reasons you can muster as to why the position was created.
Read. Read annual reports, press releases, magazine articles about the company, their products and those of the competition
Chat colleagues up. Talk to your cubicle mates but also shared service employees whose work affects your outcomes. Spend a lot of lunch hours in the lunch room or common areas the first couple of months listening, chatting, not interrogating, but asking questions of the history and culture of the company and individual experiences.
Ask your boss to introduce you to everyone you need to know initially. In a couple weeks go further afield to meet people in other offices or on other floors. Take advantage of Skype or video conferencing where needed.
While conducting research, take the opportunity to network with all these folks. Show a genuine interest in them as people not just as your co-workers. Initiate coffee dates, a drink after work or asking for assistance.
At the end of the first week sit down with your boss. Check in with them to see that you are properly focused and ask for tips and techniques to help you work more resourcefully and expediently if need be. Check in again two weeks later.
Find a mentor. While you are walking the hallowed halls meeting new folks, keep your eyes and ears alerted to a potential mentor.
Set limitations and boundaries right off the bat. You can’t work till 7PM every night the first week and then tell everyone that you have to leave every day by 5PM sharp from now on to pick up children.
Make your skills and strengths known so you can be of assistance to others should anyone need anything outside your regular scope of work.
Don’t listen to gossip and don’t get caught up in office politics.
Treat everyone the same. Build your bridges with subordinates, colleagues, superiors and contractors.
Look for opportunities to learn new things, meet new people and offer your expertise. It is important to build and maintain a sense of visibility.
Do what you say you are going to do, keep confidences and return your phone calls and emails expediently. Be a person of your word.
Dress smart and clean. Smile a lot. Never complain, question, but don’t complain.
Keep your mouth shut for the first few months, keep your opinions to yourself unless asked.
Project positivism and confidence. Be curious, don’t be a know it all.
Be creative, look for new ways and means of doing your job.
Acquire the mind set of an intra-preneur. Conduct yourself in this job as if it were your own company and you won’t fail!
Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking: How to build relationships that count and How To Get a Job and Keep It