6. Set expectations and agree on them with your boss
Depending on your role and your level of experience, it might be pretty challenging to approach your boss and propose what you think your goals should be whilst working there. Even if you are experienced, approach it like a newbie anyway – you only have a limited window of time for that. Ask your boss what she thinks success looks like in the first week, month and quarter, to get an idea of her expectations and work out some goals together. From there, you’ll end up with a mix of goals – some might be your ideas from all of the talking to colleagues and assessing the new workplace you’ve been doing, and others will be suggestions from your boss that you might not have thought of – specific training courses she’d like you to do and things that align with her own measures of success.
If there isn’t a process for this, ask for one! You can send the meeting request and ask what you’re boss’ goals are, being ready to propose your own and show how they align with hers – and she’ll be all the more impressed for it.
Write your goals down, stick them on the wall and every so often when you’re doing various tasks, stop and ask yourself if what you’re doing is heading towards those goals. If not, make sure it is still something you need to prioritise.
7. Eliminate any bad habits you used to have
Generally, after the first month you will never again have as much time as you currently do. Make the most of it by getting organised and setting good habits. Get into a good routine of creating to do lists (or spreadsheets, however you like to stay on top of your workload and priorities), focus on things you used to struggle with, and come up with new strategies to get rid of them. Do you struggle to get to work on time? Now is a good time, while stress isn’t a factor, to revamp your morning routine, and get into the habit of leaving for work earlier.
Do you tend to say yes to everything and end up never getting anything done on time? Kick off the new job by trying a different method of prioritising – i.e. not starting task 2 until task 1 is completed, and setting everyone’s expectations from the get go that you need more time to complete tasks.
Make sure you set aside some time to really focus on what your challenges, struggles and bad habits were. Identify them and put strategies in place to fix them. Before you start getting stressed and busy is the perfect time to work on those habits, and all of your new colleagues will consider it your working style from day 1, which is the perfect way to make sure you stick to them.
8. Get the life logistics sorted
Before the job, you obviously need to work out how you’re going to get there – do a dry run on the weekend beforehand to make sure you know how long it will take to get to work, and if there are any quirks (like late buses) that might result in you getting there late.
It is also a good idea to find out where the nearest pharmacy, supermarket and lunch spots are so you’re all sorted out. Don’t stress too much about lunch though – a perfect opportunity to bond with someone you haven’t had a chance to meet with is to ask them if they want to go get lunch together and show you where the good places are. On day one, bring your own lunch just in case, but don’t be afraid to leave it in the fridge in case you get the opportunity to go eat with your boss, someone senior or your new desk buddy – say yes to those moments to bond with seniors and make new friends!
9. Don’t get hung up on the past
Whilst it can be useful to say “I used to do this in my old job and it worked really well” it is important to be open minded about what you can learn in your new job. You’re working with a new team, with different experiences, and importantly they know the specific challenges of your new role in your new company. And chances are, you left your old job for a reason. Be open minded and let everyone walk you through all the basics, even if you think you know them already. Chances are you know 9 out of 10 steps, but that extra little tidbit of information could make a huge difference, and you’ll be glad you listened.
If you’ve looked at things critically, tried them out and think there are some things you’re old company used to do better, by all means propose them to the team or your boss, they’ll be glad you’re thinking creatively and finding solutions. So long as it isn’t coming from a place of being unwilling to change it won’t go unnoticed!
10. Find the right way to communicate your successes
One of the biggest fears when starting a new job is that you’ll do all this hard work and make great positive changes for the company, and no-one will ever know it, leaving you languishing at the bottom of the career ladder, seeing your dream job slip away while everyone steals your ideas. Coupled with that, is the equally large fear that if you keep banging on about how great you are, you’ll be seen as bragging.
Fear not, as there is always a balance to be found. And it is an important balance, too. Most organisations will have the more formal function of a weekly, fortnightly or monthly meeting with your boss to talk about your performance, experiences and challenges. Be prepared for those. It might just be in the diary as a catch up over coffee, but if that’s your only opportunity to let your boss know how you’ve been doing, it is a really crucial meeting. Keep note of everything you’ve been doing well, projects you’ve ticked off and problems you have solved. Let your boss know what you’ve been enjoying and what you want to focus on.
You’ll also want to have a few of your challenges up your sleeve – this is the perfect opportunity to get some good advice from someone who’s been there before on how to remove any roadblocks to you, or your team’s success. Not only will you find some solutions to those problems, but your boss will also appreciate your honesty, see that you’re committed, passionate and trying hard, and you won’t come across as self-interested or tooting your own horn.
Many organisations will also have more informal methods for showing you are successful – or perhaps you can even start them. You might get the ball rolling by emailing the team when one of your colleagues has done something really well, and others will start following suit and return the favour. Or perhaps you already have a culture where your team, or even the company, share new ideas and suggestions regularly by email. Get involved by researching new ideas, staying on top of industry news, and when you share an idea, make sure to add how your team can implement it and put your hand up to lead the initiative.
Every company will have different methods – from a culture where you can just go over to the right person’s desk and propose a new idea, to more formal processes and meetings that are the right vehicle. if you’re not sure what the right way to go about it is, your boss will love nothing more than to have you ask “If I’ve got a new idea, what’s the best way to propose it?”
When looking to make an impact in a new role, the common theme is to stay positive and enthusiastic, listen, be perceptive and take the time to figure out all the ways your company works – as most of them will be unwritten. Get to know as many people as possible, ask them all kinds of questions and work hard to get the lay of the land. From there, you’ll be able to identify all the ways you can add extra value, make an impact, and ensure you’re getting the right recognition for it.
However, the number one most important thing is to do it from a solid foundation – your extra ideas and initiatives will be meaningless if you aren’t focussing on your core role and achieving the goals you set with your boss. Every job will be different, but with the right attitude, a bit of initiative and the right focus, you can find the right ways to get started with a bang and start working your way toward that dream job.