Congratulations! You have accepted a new position. All of that work of looking for a job has paid off, handsomely. Take a breather. Now, it’s time to switch gears. Your next objective is to integrate yourself into your new organization.
1. Day one: maintain old contacts
Be sure to say thank you to all the people who helped you get the new position. Often people don’t make this effort because they feel they’ll be in the new job for a long time. However today, when the average American changes jobs every four years, the odds say you’re going to change jobs again soon. You need to keep your network alive!
2. Avoid “big projects” for the first three months
On your second day, you think: “Here comes a big project! I’ll take this one on and really impress them!” This is a mistake that many people make in the first three months of employment. It’s critical that you acquire knowledge about the system, and the people you will be working with. You cannot comprehend the implications yet of certain decisions you might make. Your company isn’t going to expect you to know everything in the first couple of weeks. Take your time to learn how things work.
3. Get to know the stakeholders
There are those who have a huge stake in your success, and they don’t necessarily have a fancy title. Find out who they are. Ask for their support and offer yours to them. Start the bonding process.
4. Identify priorities and challenges
Most of the world’s unhappiness stems from unmet expectations. Develop a plan that demonstrates how you will address your most critical challenges and your expected time frames for completion of any challenging projects. Be sure to communicate this information to your boss.
5. “Things are going wonderfully”
Do not share any concerns or misgivings about the job early on. Even if your boss appears to be going back on a promise, be careful. When the boss (or anyone else) asks you in the first three months, “How is it going?”, the only satisfactory answer is “Things are going wonderfully”. You are still learning, and therefore any other answer would be premature and certainly ill advised.
6. You must have data and opinions
When asking for information, listen carefully to the input offered by your fellow employees regarding ways to add more value to your new employer. Ask the question “How was this job done before?” This will give you insight into how to achieve some early successes.
7. Keep managing your career
It’s understood that no one else is going to watch out for your career but you. Setting vision and long-term goals is critical in the career management process. This certainly comes into play when new projects come up. If a project fits into your long term career plans, then do it, if not, gracefully decline (you are “too busy”). The more proactive you are in taking on assignments that help you achieve your career goals, the quicker you will attain them.
From time to time, ask yourself: “Am I enjoying myself?” If the answer is less than 50% of the time, it’s probably time to take a hard look at where you are now and how you can change your situation for the better.