Rosemary writes: “I’m starting a new position and want to make sure I get off to a good start. What do I do?”
Starting a new job is exciting and sometimes intimidating. You have a fresh start, new challenges and renewed energy. However, you may also feel apprehensive, particularly if you were fired or laid off from your last job.
Tips for thriving in your new job
- Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Own your power. William James, the famous psychologist said: "Your belief in at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that ensures the successful outcome of the venture." When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind, which by the law of attraction, tends to bring the best to you.
Recognize that you create your own thoughts and have the power to change them. Practice self-talk every day. Say, "I like myself because..." "I can..." Use positive statements about such things as being healthy and being in control. Don't criticize. Think of ways to improve the situation. Avoid phrases such as, "I can't."
Don’t put yourself down with false modesty or boast with misleading claims. Maintain standards of good taste. Avoid extremes in mannerism, dress and hairstyles. Stay conservative until you know the lay of the land. Don’t take unfair advantage of the employer. Avoid extended breaks or personal emails. Stay overtime to complete projects.
- Know the organization and key people on the management team. Know the company's mission statement, values, customs, practices, rituals and communication networks. Read the organization’s policy manual. Inquire politely about the rationale behind policies or procedures you dislike. Adapt your behavior to the company’s style, but don’t eliminate qualities that make you unique.
Although knowing what happened to your predecessor should have been determined in earlier interviews, you may get a different perspective when you’re in the organization. Discussing issues and concerns with your predecessor or colleagues can minimize errors and illustrate successful practices.
- Respect and cooperate with superiors, peers and subordinates. They can be supportive, or make things difficult.
Get to know experienced co-workers. They’ll advise you of informal procedures and networks. Avoid close association with any one group or clique. Learn the jobs of associates and superiors. Acknowledge co-workers’ interests, concerns and contributions. Volunteer to help colleagues who need assistance.
Demonstrate loyalty to your employer and supervisor. Air disagreements with supervisors. Don’t discuss these with colleagues. Speak well or don’t speak.
Debate the pros and cons of work-related issues with co-workers. These discussions usually result in effective problem resolutions and company growth.
- Listen and observe. Learn how the company works. Don’t try to change things during the first few weeks. Move cautiously. You won’t cement good relationships by being labeled as a know-it-all. Avoid making statements that suggest things are done better elsewhere. Offer a suggestion like “I wonder if this might work?”
Follow instructions, rules and regulations. Ask questions until you understand where you stand and how you should proceed. Listen to ideas offered by others before suggesting a problem solution. Contribute, but don’t criticize. Demonstrate how your suggestions could complement others’ ideas.
- Clarify roles, responsibilities and priorities. Although you undoubtedly discussed things that needed attention during the selection process, clarify these with your current boss. This will give you an idea of the pace your boss would like you to set.
- Demonstrate excellence. Concentrate on quality. Demonstrate attention to detail, discipline, and willingness to accept unglamorous but necessary tasks. Be responsive to things that need doing without taking on the whole project.
- Monitor job satisfaction and performance. Review job satisfiers and dissatisfiers. Ask for feedback on performance. Don’t wait passively for formal evaluations. Requesting feedback shows that you take your job seriously and enables you to correct minor issues so that major problems won’t develop.
- Stay employable. Keep skills current. Continuously refine professional and technical skills. These will enable you to exercise mental muscle and creativity. Equally important, maintain physical fitness. Good nutrition and fitness bring health and vitality. Network with professional and industry personnel to stay in the loop.
Avoid the following traits that lead to layoffs: poor performance and productivity, resistance to change, lack of teamwork and enthusiasm, failure to contribute at meetings, poor interpersonal and communication skills, and frequent absences.
The key to an ever-evolving career is to monitor your own career development and stay attuned to new opportunities.
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional ways to succeed in your new job: