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Starting A New Job

The First Steps To Career Success


Top Advice For Starting A New Job

The first day of a new job is a little bit like the first day at a new school. You get those butterflies of excitement in your gut. Then those butterflies turn to questions of doubt in your mind. Am I smart enough to pull this off? Will these people even like me? Of course you want to make a good impression and plant the seeds for some potential meaningful friendships. As the new kid, those things can pose a challenge in and of themselves.

But perhaps more than anything else, you are there to learn, and blaze your trail of success. Let me repeat that and break it down. You are there to learn! Nobody expects you to have all the answers upon arrival. There will be a learning curve with any new job, and your professional development will depend on your ability to absorb a lot of new information and grow.

Secondly, you are there to blaze your trail of success! My not so crazy assumption is that you probably accepted this job because you wanted to succeed at it. And I am guessing that the company hired you because they thought you could. How am I doing so far? Now that we've got that straight, make sure you keep your eye on the prize. Success is captured by those that track it down. If it takes patience, you show patience. If it takes assertiveness, you show assertiveness. Be the hunter!

3 Tips for Starting a New Job:


1. Be Humble

In my opinion, humility is a far too underrated quality. The line between confidence and cockiness is a fine one, and few things are more irritating than someone new coming in and thinking that they know everything. When starting a new job you should make a point to be as complimentary as possible. Look at the things that a person, or the company as a whole, has achieved and make reference to them. Show that you are paying attention and that you are not unwilling to recognize the accomplishments of others. Giving credit where credit is due is never a bad look!

The flip side to this is that there may be things that you do bring to the table right from the start. There may be things that you know that your new colleagues may not, and you may even have some suggestions on how they can improve. Look at the new hire go! I would never suggest that you bury those thoughts, or keep quiet until a later date. But again, the way in which you present this information can make all the difference in the world. Please do it with humility, and with the greater good in mind. You will want people in your corner rooting for your success, not against it!


2. Ask All Questions, Except For the Bad Ones

They say that there are no bad questions. Well I'm not sure I fully believe that. If there is an answer to your question that is easily attainable through a simple google search, please search google before asking your new boss. Additionally, I would be very cautious about asking the same person the same question multiple times. The 2nd time you ask it, though harsh, could be considered a bad question in someone's mind.

So what I would recommend is that the first time it comes up, try your best to understand it. Which means if you do not understand the initial response, there is nothing wrong with saying at that very moment "I'm sorry i'm not sure I follow, can you explain further?". You may be hesitant to say this for fear of looking stupid, but I promise it is better in the long run. It may even show true interest on your part in really trying to grasp the concept. But if you walk away and have given the impression that you understand when you do not, and then you have to ask the same person the same question down the road, it is NOT a good look! If all else fails, and you do find yourself in a bind, think about seeking out another person that may be able to provide the answer you seek.


3. Say YES To Opportunity

If you are lucky, you have joined a company that is invested in your future. In my experience, there are always some employees that do a wonderful job of rolling out the "welcome wagon" for new hires. I am not saying you should expect everyone to clap and cheer as you walk through the revolving door on Day 1, but you will see some of your new colleagues step up to the plate. You could find yourself being invited to lunch to learn about a different department at the company, or invited to sit in on a conference call to learn about a deal that the company is currently working on.

These invitations early on are a great opportunity for you to show your interest, form professional bonds and learn about the industry you now find yourself in. You should accept as many of these invitations as you can, and as is appropriate with the requirements of your daily work. Do not take on more than you can and allow your work to suffer as a result of it, but at the same time you should never be bored early on in your career. There is just way too much to learn! And if you find yourself with nothing to do, ask for something!