How did your first day at work go? Were there some good and bad surprises you maybe weren’t expecting?
Missed part 1? Catch it here: The first three months of your new job
It’s ok if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, with the thought of running away having crossed your mind a couple of times. Don’t do it. There’s still so much more you need to take in and achieve from this point on.
The first week: take everything one step at a time
In an ideal world, everything I mentioned in the previous article would happen in a structured, organised fashion without any complications. The reality, however, is that it probably won’t. When this happens just keep calm and push on. Don’t take it personally if nobody rolled out the red carpet on your arrival. Here’s what you can do in the meantime: write a list of all the things you think you need to have and know about the job and all the people you may need or want to meet. Use the job description to guide you. This will form the basis of your conversation you’ll have with your new manager. You can also ask your manager to give you any important policies, rules and guidelines that will guide you in doing your job.
In the first and second month: find a ‘buddy’
As you are going about your day in the first two months, you’re going to need some regular guidance and maybe even some close supervision to help you along the way. Your manager may not always be available to answer some of the questions you may have, which is why it will be important to have a ‘buddy’. Ask your manager who they would recommend from your team to assist you when they can’t. A ‘buddy’ is someone who can double-check your work for you before you submit it to the boss. They’ll also give you all the juicy ‘insider secrets’ that can help you avoid making mistakes that could cost you your job. They’ll tell you where to sit, how to print, which cups to use, where to buy food, how to request stationary, what important meetings to put on your daily schedule and lots, lots more.
In the third month: get regular feedback and map the way ahead
This is something you should actually be doing from the beginning, but I’d much rather you spend those critical first 8 weeks learning and exploring the company. In your third month, you’re going to want to have a conversation with your manager about the difference (in his opinion) between where you are right now and where he needs you to be in terms of your skill-level. Your manager probably has a good idea of what your limitations are, but it’s important that you know what these are so you can figure out a way to close the gap. Work with your manager to develop a planned set of goals you need to achieve over the next couple of months and use performance meetings to gauge your progress against these goals. Remember that the best goals are going to be written as actions, in the present tense and will specify the results you need to achieve by a specific date.
As a first-time employee, keep in mind that your goal is to fit in and start producing results. Connect with your co-workers as much as you can, but don’t get too comfortable and definitely avoid entertaining negative conversations. Always say yes to new invitations, opportunities and challenges given to you, but be careful not to wear yourself out. It is okay to want to prove that you can work well under pressure, but you’ll be useless to your team if you accept all tasks but can’t deliver quality results when the time comes.
Most importantly, guide your mind and stay focused on what brought you here and what you aim to achieve through your new job. Don’t be afraid to get feedback and criticism from others about your work, use it to improve your understanding of what they need from you.4