Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to share some tips and tricks to set yourself up for success in a new job.
I have had this topic on my brain for a few weeks now, but kept putting it off because I felt I was too new still in my newest job. The reason I figured that was enough time, was because I’m now almost a month into my second new job of the year. In case you’ve missed my previous posts, I’ll give a brief rundown of my career in the past few years. I was furloughed from my job in the event management industry back in April 2020. Eventually I was permanently let go in the fall of 2020. After a lengthy job search full of countless applications that led no where, I did eventually get a job offer in the spring of 2021! In May 2021 I started a new job in a new industry. I was an Academic and Finance Advisor for an online university. A few months in, I was recruited for a position in my old industry and eventually accepted an offer. I started my new job in events in August 2021.
After starting at new companies twice in the same year, I learned a lot about how to set up for success. I wanted to share my thoughts and what I’ve learned here, since I know I looked up this very topic and wasn’t satisfied with what I found. I want to share what I felt actually worked and hopefully it helps someone else!
Setting Up For Success In A New Job
Before the First Day
First and foremost, I think it’s important to make sure the job is the right fit for you. I won’t go too much into this as this is crucial in the interview stage, and I do think there are a ton of amazing resources on this online already. Not only does the job need to be interesting to you but I would say you also need to focus on making sure the culture of the company and department you’re joining is a good fit for you. Especially with they people you’re interviewing with as they will likely be your direct boss and coworkers. This does come with the disclaimer that there will always be “red flags”. I had some with both jobs I’ve taken, actually with all jobs I’ve taken. But I think there is a huge difference between red flags you can expect and prepare for that you are willing to work through and others that you can’t. Anyway, back to setting up for success!
In the weeks that led up to my first day, I had a lot of work to do! I did a whole post about setting up my desk for my university job and also setting up my desk for my events job. Organizing my desk, cleaning it up, and putting it all together was always a lot of work and really made me appreciate all the times I worked in an office and they had someone who did that for me. That was the easy part though.
The mental part was also important! I focused on fitting my work schedule into my days, trying to make sure there was a good balance. This was harder for my first new job as I was coming out of over a year of not working and suddenly eight hours of my day were going to be blocked off for work. I was excited to be working again, of course, but I also loved how peaceful my life had become as I focused on living more simply during the quarantine, so I wanted to make sure I was keeping key aspects of my life that I’d come to love and enjoy. Things like having a peaceful and slow morning before starting the work day, taking daily walks, and just enjoying my many hobbies at a leisurely pace. While I knew it wouldn’t be quite as stress free, I wanted to keep some of this mentality going into my new schedule.
Other than that, I made sure to keep an eye out on my emails for important updates such as benefits selections, any packages I needed to make sure I was home to receive (work equipment mostly), and so on. With my university job, I did get to select my benefits before starting, even if I wasn’t getting them right away, for example. I also had a set time to start my work day as I had a specific shift, and other important updates. With my events job I pretty much just had my start date pushed back a week, got an update on when my equipment would come, and that’s pretty much it! My benefits information didn’t come in until after I started to my work email and I just had to make sure to work 40 hours in the week but no set shift (as long as I logged in before my first training and out after the last that were scheduled it was up to me). So learning these things about each job was important to know before the starting date.
The First Weeks
In the first few weeks there is a lot to do! Not only were my first two weeks or so of both jobs jam packed with trainings, but also everything was new. Time keeping systems, coworkers, meetings, and everything! I think there are multiple things that I did that really helped me with both jobs, but the most important was observing and following the work culture that is already set in place.
For my university job, the work culture was overly social and collaborative. The team was huge and split up into “schools” that we primarily supported such as school of business (mine!) or school of psychology. Each school had zoom rooms already set up for people to hang out while working or pop in and ask questions as needed, meant to mimic an office setting. I quickly got in the habit of using those resources and that really, really helped me create a positive reputation there fast. Face time and direct connection was highly valued at the university in the department, and managers hung out a lot in the zooms so everyone would see me, interact with me, and I was seen as a proactive and friendly new start that everyone knew. It was really insightful as various people were more willing to open up and share the good and bad of the job really early on too, so I could expect it all as I kept working there.
For my events job, the team is smaller and more reserved. We only have one weekly meeting as a team, and there were no hang out rooms set up, so I did a whole separate approach! This job required a different strategy anyway, as it has become more of me creating a position specifically for me due to the vast experience I have. As such, my approach has been to meet with key members of the team, prioritizing those that I’ll be working with directly, and meeting with them individually. I’ve focused the talks on gathering their perspective and experiences on the processes that I’ll be revamping. This has been not only incredibly beneficial for me to understand what I need to focus on, but also great in starting to build that relationship with everyone.
For any job though, there are plenty of things to do to get started in a positive manner. I would say that focusing on learning my manager’s leadership style and adjusting to it is key. I’m still adjusting to my new manager, who is more present than my previous managers have been. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing! It’s just different for me and we’re learning to work together, so this is a priority that I wasn’t expecting but will be adjusting to. Overall, I think making sure I started each job with an open mind and positive attitude was key. It’s something that various people have commented on in both jobs so while it was something I didn’t even actively think about, it’s clear that it was really important and so I want to pass that observation along.
In terms of learning the actual job, I would recommend taking really good notes, organizing them early and often during the training process, reviewing them and relying on them when you get started on your own, and asking good questions are key. In addition to this, identifying the helpers of the team is important as well. The helpers don’t even have to be the trainers, but I tend to also include anyone who has been kind and offered a helping hand previously or seems very knowledgeable on what I’m trying to do. It’s a great way to build those relationships and learn from the best. Oh, and of course, being very, very polite and thankful to everyone. Coworkers won’t necessarily be friends, but it is important to be friendly!
Oh! One really cool thing that I’ve learned is to actually ask other new starts for help if that is something applicable for you. At the university job I had a group chat going with some other new starts and we would ask questions there first before going outside the chat. It really helped reinforce what we were learning and gave us confidence to help the newer new starts later on too! We actually started a text group chat that we still use now after I’ve left too. At my events job, one other gal started the same day as I did so we chat all day long, share our thoughts, help each other, and we just really like having someone else in the same boat! If someone else starts around the same time, I would recommend trying to buddy up with them as you go through training and support each other.
Lastly, I would recommend helping and volunteering for everything. Not on the first day, of course. But after training has wrapped up, it’s key to do this. In my new role, I don’t have too much going on yet as we are still figuring it out, so I post often on our team chat offering to help, let everyone know in our team meetings that I’m available, and reach out to people directly. It can be hard for people to reach out when they know I’m new, so I’m sure they’re worried they’ll have to spend more time training me how to do something than they would have otherwise spent actually doing it themselves but as they assign and share smaller projects that builds their confidence in me and they reach out more. This is already something that can be tough both in person and working from home. I get work to fill my days, help someone out, build a good working relationship with my coworkers, and it’s just a win-win situation all around!
So those are my tips for someone on how to set up for success in a new job! It’s not a step-by-step guide by any means, because every job is so different as is every person, manager, and team. But I do think these are good places to start and good things to keep in mind and I do hope it’s helpful to someone!
Thanks for reading!
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