Success During the First 90 Days on the Job

Victor1558 / Flickr

I started a new job just over two months ago, in leadership development with a very cool yoga-inspired athletic apparel designer.  For the past eight years, I worked in student development at business schools.  I am absolutely loving my new job and the change has been good for me.  That said, there have been some challenges through this transition.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

A new job is a big deal and taking time off between positions is a good call.  It takes time to shed the layers that accumulate at work and, while transitions are exhilarating, they can also be exhausting. So, when it comes to a new job, if you can afford to take more than a weekend to gear up for it, then you should.

Timing is everything: Be mindful when choosing the end date of your old job and your first day at your new job.  As an example, iIf I had delayed my last day at my old job by one week, I would have been eligible for an additional four weeks of health benefits at no extra cost.

Starting my new job in mid-summer has been perfect.  Cycling to work is easier.  People are smiling and excited about their annual vacations.  At the office, the flow of work is calmer and in my case, I started shortly before our annual leadership conference. As a result, it was incredible to be positioned to absorb so much of the company culture in one huge hit.  It was also so inspiring to hear from seasoned colleagues and senior executives where we are headed as a company in the coming year.

 I was even fortunate enough to participate in a small brainstorming session with our wonderful CEO.  I shared that it was a little overwhelming being new amongst such talented colleagues.  She responded with: “You know we hired you because of your experience.  You are enough just as you are.”  Since then, I’ve stopped telling people that I’m new because I realized that my start date is irrelevant and including it as a caveat detracts from my credibility.

Orientation is key: Smart companies invest in a thoughtful onboarding process. I’ve joined a smart company and have been encouraged from day one to connect with colleagues in order to understand its unique culture.  It’s such a simple way to inculcate new staff and allow for rapport to develop naturally by creating informal processes for people to connect.  When I’ve found myself in a new job where the formal onboarding is less thoughtful, I will absolutely make the time to establish ties with co-workers.  Your first weeks really are your only time to dig-in to the culture before your “real” work starts.  As a new hire, you aren’t expected to be producing or contributing right away so rather than sitting at your computer overwhelmed and trying to figure things out by searching the intranet, get out there and talk to people.  That’s definitely how I got excited about my new job.

Get to know people and just do it! woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Finally, just do it.  Similar to how getting a new job requires putting yourself out there, settling into a new job requires the same.  I’ve been in my new job long enough to have ideas about where I can help and how I can contribute.  There is a ton of stuff that I don’t know, like how our electronic filing system works, how to get web-content online, and how to complete expense reports.  But that doesn’t really matter when it comes to sharing ideas.  I’m not huge into the notion that it’s easier to ask for forgiveness that it is to get permission.  I do believe though that it’s much better to share your work than it is to keep working on it until you perceive it to be perfect.  The pace of work is faster than achieving perfection allows so I’m going to just put my thoughts down on a piece of paper and allow my colleagues to offer their opinions about how I can take the project to the next level. While there’s some vulnerability in that it definitely feels like the right thing to do.

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