On starting your new job

[insert date]

Dear [insert name here]

I hope you’re thriving at your new work place. There is no doubt you will – but starting a new job would give anyone the jitters. It’s like traveling alone to a new city – your anxiety of navigating logistics to interpret this entire new place should be drowned by the excitement to learn and see new things. I read that the first 3 months of a new job are an extension of the interview process, and so you need to be on your game from day 1.

And since I’m older (and wiser) and a little bit more seasoned in this new job situation, I thought I’d take the liberty and help build a list of 6 things you need to do in the first week.

1. Be that over zealous dork when it comes to introducing yourself — Say hello in the elevator, kitchen, print room, or bathroom. It will pay off in the end. It will be in everybody’s best interest to get you started on the right foot, since your work will directly affect theirs. Also have your elevator pitch ready — a 30-second explainer of who you are and where you were (professionally) before.

2. I was reading Keith Ferrazzi’s ‘Never eat alone’ the other day – and although I think his lessons are more metaphorical, seeing that he underlines the importance of building professional relationships while emphasising how your network equals your net worth, I think we should take this stance a little bit more literally, especially in the first few weeks at a new job. Never turn down a lunch or coffee invitation – make sure your lunch hour is booked for the next 4 weeks. It is important to show that you are interested to getting to know your new colleagues on a personal level.

3. Also be that dork that asks a lot of questions. Evoking curiosity and asking questions will help you set good habits and get organised from the start, especially since a lot of new information is coming your way, and this will make your life easier down the line. Be a sponge, and watch how people are doing things. Learn who the players are, and who’s been at your company awhile. Find that weather-beaten trouper who has a good handle on what works and doesn’t and can show you around. Also ask how to use the coffee maker.

4. Once you’re officially on the job, remember to reinforce your new connections on social media. It is important to update your title across your own social media platforms and also start following your new company and colleagues. As you meet new people, cement the relationships by finding them on Twitter or LinkedIn. Use sound judgment to identify the platforms that makes the most sense. Make sure you curate your footprint on Facebook and other more personal social networks.

5. Make it your mission to demonstrate the skills that sold you during the interview. If someone compliments you – write it down. And start a brag sheet. Keep track of all your accomplishments, major contributions, and when you get positive feedback. You want to get in the habit early and have the information at the ready for future reviews.

6. And last but not least, explore the neighbourhood and scout out the local coffee shops, the favourite lunch spots. You will need to know where to grab a quick sandwich, take people out for coffee, and a nice place for those important business lunches. Also find that secret park you will need when you need to escape the madness that follows those busy Wednesday afternoons. Get to know your area pretty well because logistically, you need to know where to get a Band-Aid if you need one!

While you’re being strategic, also remember to relax so that you can optimise your productivity. Make sure you’re well rested, prepared, and have every reason to be on time. This is a visible milestone, and you want to be at your best!

You have this magical quality of being able to take very complex situations where there are a lot of different moving parts and a lot of institutional details, and then structure the essence of it in an art form. At the end of the day, don’t be overly hard on yourself, be happy and enjoy the moment.

Best,

[insert name here]

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