Starting a new job? Check out these tips from Career Contessa for a smooth, foolproof transition.
Starting a new job can be tough—you're still figuring out not only your responsibilities, but also how to navigate office politics and best communicate with your colleagues. According to the Future Workplace "Multiple Generations @ Work" survey, 91 percent of millennials plan to stay in a job for less than three years. Tally that up and you could potentially hold 15 to 20 different positions over the course of your working adult life. Changing jobs and transitioning to new working environments will most likely be in your future, so read on for tips to help you stay on track during this process.
Have lunch with colleagues.
You're going to spend the majority of your waking hours with these people, so it helps if you know each other. Learning about your colleagues' backgrounds and interests will help you to feel more comfortable in the new environment. You will quickly begin to understand their perspectives, helping you to better relate to and work with them. Since job titles can only say so much, you will also get a sense of who you can go to for guidance or insight on different topics. Who knows, maybe you'll even form some solid friendships!
Ask your supervisor how he or she likes to communicate.
I've had supervisors who love email and others who abhor it. I've had some who prefer to meet weekly and others who like daily check-ins. You're not a mind reader, so rather than learn your supervisor's preference by trial and error, just ask! Establishing how you two both like to communicate will make life much easier down the road.
Learn office policies.
Some office policies may be written in a formal manual that is given to you. Chances are there are other policies or expectations that are unspoken—things that people who have worked there for a while just "know." You may find it necessary to ask your supervisor or an HR representative about things like:
- Professional development: Do they approve or expect you to be involved in professional associations? Can you attend conferences?
- Dress code: What is considered appropriate or inappropriate attire?
- Time off: Is there a formal written vacation and/or sick time policy? Does the organization provide comp or flex time?
- Working remotely: Can you work from home? Is it expected that you do so after hours?
- Lunch: Where do most people eat? What amount of time can you allot for lunch?
Be cognizant of your timing and the way you ask about some of these policies. You certainly don't want to come across as greedy or unappreciative, so indicate that you are simply trying to better understand for your own planning purposes.
Don't be afraid to question things.
As a newcomer, you bring a fresh, new perspective to an organization. Sometimes people are simply doing something because it's what has always been done. Look for problems and offer new solutions. How can you make a process more efficient? How can you serve your team or client more effectively? Essentially, how can you make the position your own and run with it?
All this being said, it's important to note that transition takes time, and you aren't going to accomplish everything right off the bat. Write down a few goals that give you something to strive toward and help remind you that with steady efforts, you will eventually get there.