And, there was one such text recently that meant just a wee bit more than the others.
I’ve talked about my twenty-something sons a bit in this space, but generally speaking I try to give them their privacy. Can you imagine being a young guy whose mom is a career coach? I know it’s a bit much (because they’ve told me!).
But I did have a very happy moment a couple of weeks ago when my youngest texted me: “I got the offer! I think I’m going to take it.” This was after nearly a year of doing all the “right” things. Taking that first, but not great, job to pay the bills when he graduated. Networking, applying, networking more, honing his interview skills, hitting some rough patches, and keeping at it until he found a job that he thought would be a good next step.
Yesterday was his first day – Yay! Intellectually, I know he’s got it, he knows what to do. But as I awoke, bleary-eyed in the morning, I realized we hadn’t even talked at all about his first day, his first week, or his first few months. And the mom in me felt like I had to do something– giving me the subject for this newsletter!
So, Ethan, congratulations! And if you’re still reading, here are a few tips…
In your first few days:
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early. Observe the arrival routines. Do people go around and greet each other? Chat for a while? Or get right down to business?
- Request a sit down with your direct supervisor to discuss their preferences. What are their priorities? What should you tackle first? Do they want questions as they arise, or do they want you to keep a running list?
- Make getting to know your co-workers and their roles a priority. Find out how long they’ve been with the organization. Ask what they think is most important for you to be successful. How can you help them
In the first week:
- Figure out everything related to your schedule – arrivals and departures, lunch protocols (Do people go out together? Eat at their desks? How long do they take?) Follow your co-workers’ lead. If in doubt stay longer and do more.
- Ask for work. Often managers don’t want to overload you, and sometimes the training is proscribed. But if not, don’t sit around. Pitch in and show you can deliver value immediately.
- Ask questions – keep a running list, and ask around – “Who would be the best person to talk to about X?”
- Don’t make snap judgments – you know nothing yet!!
In the first month:
- Assess yourself. Are you getting up to speed? Are you overwhelmed? Do you have any concerns?
- Make an appointment with your supervisor. Ask them how you’re doing so far. Do they have any concerns? Let them know how you are doing and ask for help if you need it. This early communication may seem awkward, but remember you are developing a relationship and you need to play your part!
In general, resist being drawn into existing dramas, sides or cliques. You still know nothing, and there is often more to a story than may be immediately apparent. Expressions like “Oh” and “I see,” are your friends. Try not to draw big conclusions or make judgments as you adjust. And remember it is an adjustment. It’s going to take a while for you to relax and feel yourself. You’ve got this!