The results of last week’s survey were fascinating! Thanks to everyone who participated.
The number one issue that leapt out of the survey results surprised me. It turns out that while many of you love the video format of these weekly newsletters, equal numbers of you would like to see more written posts that are accessible to you, say, while you’re riding the subway or reading on your iPhone during your lunch breaks.
And so today, I’m giving you a written blog to satisfy all you readers out there, on a topic requested by several of the survey participants. Paraphrasing several suggestions, that topic is How to Kick Ass in Your New Job.
Here, in short, digestible bullet format, is all you need to know:
- Be enthusiastic, eager and ready to work. First impressions are everything, and are very hard to change once made. Accordingly, it’s very important that you make sure that when you show up at your new job, you convey your eagerness to do what needs to be done. Volunteer for assignments. Do your best work and do it on schedule. Show that you are a go-getter by being friendly and accepting of your new workload. Play by the rules. Make your best mark in the first six months and you will REALLY have to mess up in the future to destroy that first impression reputation. It’s good stuff.
- Set good boundaries around work/life balance from the start. Simultaneously, you need to set boundaries and hold others to them that work to your advantage. What this means is that if you need to be home every night by 7 p.m. to put your kids to bed, you don’t start out at the new job working until 8. Good boundaries are all about managing expectations. If you set the expectation from the start that you leave at a certain hour, or don’t gossip with co-workers because it’s unseemly, or don’t answer emails after 9 p.m., others will come to expect this of you, and it will be accepted as rote. Good boundaries make for healthy working relationships, so set them early and stick with them.
- Be willing to say what you don’t know. This is a big one. Most co-workers and supervisors will respect you MORE, not LESS, for admitting that you don’t know how to do something and need help. By admitting your gaps in knowledge, not only do you open yourself up to learning how to do it right (whatever it may be) the first time, but you also show yourself to be humble. This is WAY better than screwing something up royally because you were too afraid to admit you didn’t know what you are doing, which causes others to question your competence and will likely result in others giving you less authority and responsibility in the future.
- Observe and learn before leaping in to office politics. It usually takes about 3-6 months to really understand the inner workings of any workplace you might enter. Approaching office politics carefully and with an investigatory eye is a mandatory skill for getting ahead. You never know who will make the best mentor for you or, for that matter, who you need to be extra-cautious about in terms of work assignments, until you know who really carries weight in the office, who garners the most respect, and who is the most powerful player. Sit back and observe in meetings and workplace interactions FIRST. And for at least the first few weeks, wait to offer your opinion until it is asked for.
- Have a long-term plan and mimic those who succeed. Knowing how this new job fits into your long-term goals is a critical way to map out future career success. If you know you want to stay in this new job for a while, look around you at those who have risen through the ranks. Who do they network with? Who are their mentors? How do they dress? How do they work with key players in the organization? What can you learn from them? Again, observation is key here. What is your ideal career trajectory and who are your role models to get there? Know the answer to these questions, and you will be on a path to great success!
As usual, if you found this post helpful, I’d be honored if you’d share it with others. And please contribute on the blog below by telling me what YOU learned from your first/latest job that has added to your career trajectory in a positive way.
Thanks so much and have a great week.
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