Congratulations! You’ve finally landed your dream job. You’ve attended networking events, sent out your resume, survived grueling interviews, negotiated your salary, and here you sit — a new employee. You want to not only prove to the hiring managers that they made a good decision bringing you on board, but also do exceedingly well and impress them so you can eventually advance through the ranks. You might be willing to do just about anything to make that happen. But wait, how do you do that without burning yourself out?
As a psychotherapist and performance coach who has worked with many professionals and executives, there are critical things that you should do during the first 90 days, and there are things that you shouldn’t do in order to excel and not burn out.
Here’s how to start a new job on the right foot:
1. Be confident.
Anything other than this will send a message to managers and colleagues that you might not be ready or prepared for the job. Keep in mind, if you are doubtful, then they may end up feeling about you that way too. Rather than thinking negatively and undermining your confidence, think about your strengths and all the reasons why you are fit for the job and what you bring to the company. Thinking negatively will only sap you of energy and be reflected in your performance.
2. Give it time.
It’s normal to feel anxious or even uncomfortable at your new job. You don’t know exactly how the new position could end up, so naturally you feel anxiety. Be patient and remind yourself why you accepted the job rather than dwelling on possible regret and thinking about your past job. That’s akin to trying to get to know someone new while still hung up on your ex. There’s a learning curve with most new things, jobs included.
3. Understand the culture.
Just as important as it is to learn the job function is learning about the culture. So often clients tell me they were let go from a job because they “just didn’t fit in”. This is another way of saying they didn’t understand the culture. Get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people. Go for coffee and take lunch with your new colleagues. So much of what you gain will be through listening so zip your lips and really try to understand the many personalities at your new workplace. Having an ally or work friend can help you when things get stressful at the office, too.
4. Be positive, enthusiastic, and realistic.
Often new employees make the mistake of saying yes to everything and over-promising and under delivering. It’s better to take on less and get it done right than to take on too much and fail, especially in the early stages. Setting boundaries early on will set the stage for what you can realistically deliver while maintaining quality.
5. Set your standards.
Will you stay late and work two hours more than everyone else just to impress the manager? Although this shows great drive and dedication, it can also set an unhealthy standard and your managers might come to expect you to stay late always since you did it early on. It might also be annoying to your new colleagues. So, value your time and also maintain a health boundary between work and home.
6. Take initiative and meet with your manager.
Rather than waiting for the designated review, respectfully ask for one. Use it as a time to get feedback and make any tweaks to how you are working. Waiting six months to get a review is too long and you’ll be too settled into your ways to be able to make effective changes. Furthermore, if things aren’t quite right, it’s best to know now rather than later.
7. Know how success is measured.
Understand how your manager measures your success and his or her expectations. Mismatched expectations are so often at the root of many work conflicts so do your part and have a conversation specifically concerning the ways success is measured.
So, as you start a new chapter in your career, value and prioritize your needs as much as you do those of your new employer. If you’re healthy and have balance in your life that will be reflected in your performance — and just the same, if you’re stretched thin performance will suffer.
Written by the author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days
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