Starting A New Job? Tips for Making the Transition

Starting a new job?  The first few weeks can be a combination of being overwhelmed and bored all at the same time! It’s not always possible to truly “hit the ground running” – you may not own your projects fully quite yet and you haven’t learned just how to get things done in the company or organization.  Here are a few tips to hopefully make the transition a bit smoother.

1. Listen.  If you jump in too quick and forget to listen and learn first it can really rub people the wrong way.  Take a bit of time to learn the ropes, hear about the history of various projects, teams, and initiatives, and understand your stakeholders.  You need to do a little market research before you can make an appropriate and informed impact. 

2.  Learn the culture.  It’s the little idiosyncrasies of company culture that  can be tough to pick up on… So don’t be afraid to ask.  For example, how are meetings coordinated? Are people more apt to use email or phone for quick questions?

3.  Go on tour.  Meet with key stakeholders, members of other teams you may interact with as well as teams you may not interact with as much.  Learn the entire organization so you can understand the big picture of the impact of your work.  Start with those closest to your role and then go from there.  There may be opportunities for collaboration and innovation that haven’t happened in the past.

4.  Learn the language.  What office lingo do people use or not use and what does that lingo mean in this particular organization (it can vary slightly from company to company).  Learn the acronyms. Learn the stock phrases.  Learn the voice of the organization.

5.  Get to know your boss.  What is most important to them?  What are their pet peeves and preferences?  Don’t be afraid to ask those questions! Check out our post on managing up to learn more!

6.  Play the “new” card..  Use it as an excuse to learn and connect with people across the organization!

7.  Be entrepreneurial.  While you’re waiting to fully “own” your projects figure out smaller ways to make an impact.  Prove your value by identifying some problems and solutions.  In the absence of work or direction in the first few weeks, don’t just check facebook! Keep busy by creating your own projects and concept papers to be presented later.

8.  Find other newbies.   You can learn the ropes together.

9.  Look around. Notice people’s schedules, the dress code, what people do for lunch, how people interact.  Just paying attention can teach you alot about the organization.

10.  Ask questions. But not too many.  There is definitely a balance between asking questions so that you learn what you need to know for your new position and being able to seek that information out and learn on your own.  Our advice: try to find the information first or, at least the person with the information, before you ask your manager. Managers value those who do research and are autonomous when appropriate.

When all else fails, baked goods can always help make a few friends!  What are your tips for navigating the first few weeks of a new job?

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