Getting A Head Start: Planning Your First Year in a New Job
There is a tendency for people to get very complacent once they have landed their new job. After months (sometimes, years) of searching, many people think their work is over once they land their new job. Or, that once they have nailed the offer, it is time to let down their guard and relax. After all, the pressure is over, isn’t it? And, strong performance will ensure positive recognition, and surely, promotion opportunities, right? The short answer: No. That isn’t the full picture and sitting back at this juncture might lead to outcomes that are far less than a person hoped for in a new employment situation. Although the road to where you are today might have felt like the biggest challenge you will face, it isn’t over yet.
Now that you are where you want to be (or perhaps, you only think this is where you want to be), whether it is in a “foot in the door “ role, or your “A” job, it is necessary to ensure you start your new job on the right foot. Showing up on time, being enthusiastic, and showing willingness to learn are basic, good beginnings, but there is much, much more involved. Securing the job is only the beginning. Keeping it and growing within it, or positioning oneself to grow to places beyond the initial role, requires thoughtful planning and the establishment of time lines.
Key elements to an auspicious beginning involve a thorough understanding of your role in the organization and your value to the company. It involves the development of allies and planning ahead, using specific time lines to ensure you make the most out of this opportunity. Keep in mind, in the company’s eyes, this “new beginning” is about what you can do for the company, not what they can do for you. You will be scrutinized closely, and someone will record even the smallest behavioral aberration. What happens next is based on the company’s needs, not necessarily yours.
Keep in mind, the company doesn’t need to know all aspects of your plans for your future. They only need to know/see what is relevant to them. Whatever your agenda is for your time with them, or for after your employment with them, it needs to be managed by you. It is important to take responsibility for your growth and development from the beginning. Take charge – do not assume they have your best interests in mind, or frankly, that you are even on their minds at all.
Assuming your professional growth and recognition for your accomplishments are your supervisor’s or the company’s responsibility is an old school notion that went by the wayside decades ago. It is important that YOU have a sound plan and time lines for growing professionally, and for maintaining or increasing your value. It is important to know what your value is not only to the company, but also in the industry as a whole, just in case the company faces lay offs, or becomes involved with a merger or acquisition. Careful planning in the beginning is far more likely to set you up for success in the long run. Don’t wait until you are midstream.
If you have recently accepted a new position, please share how you will be approaching your first year.