First Few Weeks in a New Job

Self-realization and Transformation is an integral part of the change
20 years back — I took my first job, right out of college, at a 10K employee-based company. In the 20 years, the company grew 50 fold in employee count and roughly 100 fold in revenue. I was one of the privileged 10k that grew with the company, in a comfortable mentorship setting, nurtured by leaders who knew me right from the start, and knew how to leverage my strengths.
But things were different when I joined a new company, in a mid-level management role.
I was grounded to zero. I had to build ground up.
Every subtle thing was strongly different. I had a lot to adapt to.
Things I took for granted in my long stint company were not basic anymore.
Everyday was a realization.I had to get used to this new way of life.
#1 No one would give you feedback unless you ask for it. There was never a dearth for feedback in the old company that I grew in. I never had to ask for it, People naturally felt like telling me because they were “comfortable”. Only in the new setting, I realized the fact that I have to allow time for my colleagues and bosses to feel as much comfortable giving feedback as much as I was dying for it. I die for feedback because it is like a compass for me on the sail. But I learned that I had to be patient.
#2 Telling your story is your responsibility. No one notices you (By default). Just because you cleared the interview does not mean people believe you have a niche. It was my responsibility to prove what my niche was. The best part of this is, for the first time, I am trying to create a story about myself. It is part of discovering who I am and what I stand for.
#3 You will be judged and it is ok. Until another new person joins the team, you are the subject of opinions and gossips. People are going to judge you, stereotype you in your early days and that is normal. Like everything in life, the new gets a lot of attention and the old goes unnoticed.
#4 You should figure out what you are being recruited for and why youYou should be fully convinced that you have every right to know what you would end up doing. A couple of ways to find out the right answer, early on, even before joining, are — 1. What are your first 30, 60,90, 180, 360 day goals 2? What is the day in your life look 3? How are your goals lined up to your team’s goals? Knowing why you got the job will help you see what your sponsor is expecting from you.
#5 Understand the leader’s personality. If your leader is execution-focused and if you are strategic, it would seem like you are choking when you start working. On the other hand, if you are execution-focused and if your leader and the team is strategic, then you would feel like you are running while the rest are constantly deliberating about running. Posing situational questions like “What would you have done if you were in a situation like this” in 1:1 is a great way to understand leadership styles. Understanding personalities and styles goes a long way in building long term relationships that are based on mutual respect and appreciation.
#6 Do not rush into making new friends at the new workplace. Making friends is not easy. No one considers you part of their network unless you make a relentless attempt to make yourself part of one. Early friendships could make you feel comfortable but it is not a necessity (in other words, you don’t have to chase it) unless it naturally happens. Make sure you are always warm and thoroughly professional in your behavior. Take time to settle in. Friendships will follow.
#7 Empathize with your colleagues and their feelings. You might potentially be seen as a threat, If that is true, be the best you can do in the situation. Take your boss/hiring manager’s help in dealing with the situation. You might be joining a team that has never worked with someone from your background and hence might not understand the context behind what you say and how you say it. Try to be upfront, provide as much clarification as possible.
#8 Opportunities are not given, they are taken. Most often — the case, on the mid-tier roles is that a growth opportunity is not presented to me. I have to find one. It is too risky for your boss to give you a big challenge unless you prove that you are worth trusting. Also — As hard as it may seem, joining an existing team means that all key opportunities are already taken. A few ones might be left untouched. Spend careful judgment in assessing if it is critical, if you have something niche to do it and if you can make the impact. Go Grab It if it feels like it is your thing.
#9 If you don’t have a plan for yourself, guess what — nobody has any plans for you. Create a yearly, quarterly goal for yourself. Make sure you keep communicating your goals. Keep reminding that you transparently track and report progress against your goals.
#10 Be You- This is probably the most important. Stick to who you are, Be transparent. Be honest. Be nice, Be natural. Be Right. That will go a long way.
Every change presents an opportunity for self-realization and a chance to become better. It is better to ride on the change wave and strive to become a better person at the other end of the tide.
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