There are plenty good reasons to start a new job. Maybe you wanted to switch industries or your old job doesn’t exist anymore. Or you got promoted within your company or switched to another area.
If you’re anything like me you want to deliver and be of value to the team right away… And then feel a little upset when you’re not delivering at the standard you’re used to.
That’s ok! It takes time to get settled in and adjust. You’re learning and that’s good.
Based on (occasionally painful) experience, here’s what I’d like you to know when you’re starting a new job.
(1) give yourself a grace period.
The first 6 months are usually just for orientation. Of course we’re ambitious and want to deliver. And you still can and may have your moments. But cut yourself some slack when you’re not moving the biggest stones right from the get-go. There’s so much to get adjusted to and take in.
(2) get adjusted.
That being said – I think it’s ok to give the new environment a thorough trial period and immerse yourself. With the life experience you have, you don’t have to be afraid of getting sucked in to values or behaviours that don’t align with your own. Take the fish and spit out the bones. Then set yourself regular reflection points: What do you like? What feels off? What’s sparked in you?
It doesn’t mean you have to leave the job again just because the start is bumpy. The other team needs to get used to you, too. I always find a little shuffle in members brings new life to the team dynamic. There’s an opportunity here for everyone to use that momentum and create an even greater team.
(3) learn like your life depends on it.
It is one of the greatest mistakes I keep making – to be hired as an expert and thinking I am one. Don’t get me wrong – I’m an expert (and so are you). But that kind of attitude usually stifles my growth and limits what I’m capable of. Let alone the feeling silly two weeks later when I look back, amazed how stupid I was. So that’s something I’ll try and keep more in mind: Approach anything like there’s still more to learn.
(4) other people matter.
If you’re an introvert like me you’ll have difficulties striking up random conversations with the new people. I accepted that part of myself and don’t try to force anything. Still I make an effort to find non-awkward ways to connect with others beyond just the work-stuff. Tiny friendly remarks, genuinely thoughtful questions, remembering their children’s names, finding things we have in common, thanking them for their support, offering my help, asking for advice …. there are plenty of ways. Make the ‘people stuff’ a priority. It might even make you more productive.
(5) create your place.
This might take a while. It’s about becoming part of something bigger by being “the missing piece”. Sure, having a role profile and yearly objectives are an important part of getting settled into your role. But usually we bring so much more to the company than our task list requires. So what can that be for you? Try find a mini-mission that’s fun for you to pursue and provides value to your colleagues and the company. What about your unique set of strengths and skills? Your vision and collaborative contribution or even just a fresh perspective?
Keep these in mind as you set out to make magic in your new job.