Most people think that once they’ve started a new job, their job searches over. I’m continually amazed at the strange things that can take place even after a person is starting a new job.
The first bit of advice is for you expected to job is going to be quite a bit different from what you thought it was going to be when you are going through the interviewing process. Things are going to never be the way they appear on the outside looking in.
The second suggestion is to spend the first few weeks or even months simply observing what goes on in the company. The higher the position you may have, the more you want to quietly observe how the company is run. You really want to get a good idea of what’s going on in the company before you start actively showing people what you can do for them.
The best way to find out what really goes on in an organization is to talk to the most senior-level administrative personnel (we used to call them secretaries). These people know more about what’s going on in the inner workings of the organization than anybody else. Now, these people may not be the decision-makers in the organization, but they still know more of what’s going on in a company that all the managers combined.
Get to know your supervisor’s personality and style. Do this with all the people with whom you might interface. Remember, you are the new kid on the block and that you don’t know the character or personalities of the people or the part of the organization you’re going to be working with.
Don’t hesitate to ask lots and lots of questions regarding procedures and protocols. Nobody expects you to be intuitive about anything. It may not hurt to take notes about what you learn, especially regarding the unofficial procedures. A friend of mine who has been a “work” psychologist for 40 years, Frank Lawless, tells the story that the best advice he got about starting a new job was to “be quiet and walk around for about six months before you start trying to sound off.” Whatever you do don’t offer your opinion about issues or topics outside of business, like politics or religion.
This is old school advice but, arrive early and stay late. Especially arrive earlier than your immediate supervisor as well as stayinng later.
Take lots of notes when you go into meetings and try to write down who said what. Once you get to know these people and know who stands where on what things, it’s good to take notes about who they are. Also it helps to write their names down a number of times see you could remember them.
Recognize and avoid the negative people who exist within every organization. They can range from the people who always see the glass as half empty to the people who are downright negative, gossipy, and in some cases, slanderous. Avoid them like the plague. Associate with the positive people in your organization.
Identify, quickly the best performers at your level and notice what made them successful. Don’t hesitate to make friends with them and ask them about the company, their job and what you might learn to be successful early. If you can find potential “mentors” early on in your job, your career can get off to a great start.
Demonstrate the cooperative working relationship with his many people as you can. Go the extra mile whenever you can. Volunteer for a committee that no one seems to want to belong to. Don’t do it for the show, really get involved. You might even make the attitude towards the committee better.
Join national, regional or local professional groups in your field and make sure you attend the meetings regularly. Bringing back some idea from one of those meetings to your present company, even one time will certainly be noticed. Making friends with people in other companies in your same field of endeavor will also help your career in the long run. You’ll be surprised at the number of people that you meet early in your career that you continue to keep in touch with over the lifespan of your professional life. As you make friends with people like this throughout your career they cannot only open doors for you and help you with job changes and career advice.
Don’t gripe about anything…ever! even after you’ve been with the company for a while, it’s never good to complain or gripe. There might be many things you may not like about your organization, your job, etc. but no one should know it. But others complain but refrain from it.
Get to know the preferences and expectations of your immediate supervisors. As you get to know them, don’t guess at what they might like or want. If you’re not clear about what they’re looking for or what they want or expect, ask! Ask for input and assistance whenever you are stumped but avoid being too needy. Try to solve problems on your own.
Feedback on your progress isn’t offered as part of a company policy, solicit feedback from your immediate supervisors on a regular basis. “Feedback is the breakfast of champions,” and you want to know how you’re doing. By asking it shows that you are interested in self-improvement.
It’s ridiculous that I even need to mention this, but be absolutely sure that the impression that your social media makes about you is a positive one. It goes without saying that your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date and professional but other more “social” media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. should always always always be professional. Anything questionable or off colored in your social media world will want you…sometimes, forever.
Always be courteous and recognize that you are being judged. Be thankful to others that help you and express your gratitude with warm sincerity.
The most important thing you can do as a professional when beginning a new job is to be quiet and try not to draw attention to yourself until you really learn about the company and the personalities of the people from the inside. Too often, newly hired professionals try to make an immediate impact to show how good they are by drawing attention to themselves in a number of ways before they really know the so-called “lay of the land.”
No matter how good you might be, no matter how smart you are, no matter how much you might be able to contribute to the organization, you will have much more impact and be received with much more respect if you learn as much as you can about the organization and its personalities before you start having significant input. There is going to be plenty of time to prove yourself.
Oh, less I forget, be sure, after you have been there a while, be sure you find soemeone to mentor! …teacher always learns mor than the student.