Change is scary, as anyone who remembers the first day at a new school can confirm. Oddly, it’s one of the few things that doesn’t diminish with age, even as we get better at managing our nerves. If you’re lucky, your new employer will have a solid onboarding program in place designed to help you achieve success right out of the gate. Unfortunately, many companies have little or no onboarding plan at all. If you’re on your own, here are five tips to help you adjust to your new role.
Arrange your schedule well in advance of your start date. Put childcare in place, if needed. Take care of the errands you’ve been putting off, such as car maintenance or you’re annual physical. Learn what you can about your new company, and brush up on any relevant technical knowledge.
Present Your Best Self
Get a good night’s sleep, and show up ready for action. Take notes on any important information you get, including things like your coworkers’ names and where to find the restroom. Put your phone away and focus on making purposeful connections with the people and projects at hand.
Talk to Your Supervisor
Hopefully your supervisor will come to you, but if not, don’t be afraid to request a meeting. Ask questions about important details such as which projects you will take on, how success is measured, and how best to prioritize your time.
In many organizations, everyone has something to say behind the scenes. Be careful not to get drawn into office politics, but listen closely to get a sense of the company culture. Your coworkers will be your day to day allies, so it’s important to understand how things work.
Map Out a 100 Day Plan
Whether you do this alone or with your supervisor or team, a 100-day plan provides a roadmap to follow when you have conflicting priorities. Set clear, measurable interim goals, along with small rewards for yourself when you reach them.
Open the Lines of Communication
Feedback is essential to charting and correcting your course as you adapt to your new role. If your supervisor doesn’t have a formal feedback calendar, it’s reasonable to check-in at the end of the first day, week, and month, and then again at the 90-day mark.
Although change can be scary, it can also be exciting. Prepare, listen, create a plan, and ask for feedback, and you will be on the road to a successful new career.
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