I started a new job this week, and like all new employees, I want to immediately provide value to my company, conquer every challenge instantaneously and make all of my co-workers adore me within minutes of us meeting.
This is an aggressive list, especially since even though I have been in the professional world for more than 10 years, I was so nervous the night before my first day I didn't sleep.
Now that I am slightly settled in and going through a rigorous on-boarding process (and sleeping again), I'm trying to be more mindful about how to make the best out of my first few weeks.
Here are my top areas of focus and tips for others who are starting new jobs:
1. Be teachable
In a new role, you want to provide value and bring your skills to the table quickly. But it's key to admit when you don't know something, so that you can learn it. Being a teachable person makes you a great team member. Be honest about what you need to learn, and use the time you have to get comfortable with the new before your inbox starts blowing up in the day-to-day of your job.
2. Shut up
This one is hard for me (I always have plenty to say). However, I'm being intentional about engaging with my new team members and allowing them to guide conversations, share successes and explain challenges without giving my opinion. I'm asking questions and listening to answers, so I can better understand how my position will function in the team … and I'm not offering solutions for every problem (yet) because I am still learning about the organization (see item #1).
3. Pay attention
I'm actively observing everything around me. How do people communicate with each other? What are office rituals? What is the culture of the team, and how can I participate in it? How much coffee can I drink before I am judged? What kind of cocktails are appropriate for client meetings?
4. Document everything
As someone who has trained team members in my work, there is nothing more annoying than explaining something to someone, and then covering the same material later because they didn't write anything down … so I am taking meticulous notes. I'm also trying to capture ideas and observations that are results of my fresh perspective. Once I know enough to be dangerous and tasked to take on more, these notes will guide my suggestions and solutions.
I'll be thoughtfully doing all of the above in the next few weeks as I continue on this new path — wish my luck!