Often people may not want to move to a new job out of fear. My life is comfortable, I have worked hard to gain trust from my colleagues, my life is too full as it is, I am having fun and do I really want to move into another field? Not to mention these questions: How will a promotion or career change affect my personal life? Will I have to prove myself again? What if my boss and I don’t get along? With five and a half years under my belt at a start-up and two children later, these are the questions that crossed my mind when BrightEdge approached me about an exciting new role they were creating at the fast growing company–Director of Client Services.
For many reasons, I overcame the questions and I am thankful for taking the incredible risk that I did. I have to admit that if I didn’t have a supportive partner and trust-worthy childcare, I likely would have stayed put at my previous employer regardless of whether I was being challenged or happy. Leaving wasn’t really something I was looking to do.
With the preface above, these are the six conclusions I have come to after six weeks after embarking on a new journey:
- What will my impact be in the first 90 days? Thankfully, BrightEdge has an incredible employee evaluation and growth program that is reviewed twice yearly. It forces you to think about how your actions will help customers leverage the platform successfully and how your career will grow with the company. I realize most companies don’t offer these perks. It is up to you to think about how your footprint will challenge you and how the company will be better off after 90 days of your employment.
- Don’t wait for people to tell you what to do, figure it out: Let’s face it, people are busy! They don’t have time to micromanage you and you don’t want them to! Spend your first week or two observing and learning as much as you can. You will quickly learn who is willing to help and who isn’t. Schedule meetings, ask questions, start writing a plan and get it in front of your new colleagues! Which leads me to the next point.
- Learn the new culture and communication style and adjust to it. How do you do this? Invite people to lunch, ask a group of people if you can join them for a meal, bring a snack to share, make conversation around the kitchen, ask the team if anyone is interested in going for a walk daily in the afternoon. These small gestures will quickly help you understand how the company communicates. It is important not to assume that your new company culture is the same as the last one. If you see something missing from the culture, this is an opportunity to introduce something new. For those of you just starting your careers, remember that the language you used in college, may not apply to the office!
- You won’t fall in love immediately, so give your new job time: Most people don’t like being outside their comfort zone and starting a new job certainly puts you outside that area! If you are used to using a particular product or being a certain field expert and are suddenly taking out, you will be very uncertain about your career decision! That is OKAY. Give yourself time to learn the new product, procedures and environment. Before you know it, you will be an old timer and will be showing new people the ropes.
I think it is fair to say that if you still don’t like what you are doing after a few months or the job description is wildly different than what you are doing, talk to your manager! The worst that can happen is that a new position is found for you in the company or you agree to part ways. Everything happens for a reason. Don’t waste your time being unhappy but don’t jump to conclusions either. I think a 90 day trial period is critical in this scenario.
- Dress for success. Let’s face it, you aren’t Mark Zuckerberg. Everyone is watching your every move and your first few months are critical for your success. I am not saying you have to hit Faconnable or Chanel this weekend, I am saying, tuck your shirt in, comb your hair, wear clean shoes and dress professionally. I can’t say how many times I have seen people come to work looking like they just rolled out of bed and the last thing they convey to me is that they want to be at work, they want to make a difference.
- Have confidence even if you don’t know all the answers (if you did, how boring would your job be?) and have FUN! Don’t be afraid to crack a joke, put a picture of someone special at your desk, show that you are a person outside your job. This 20 minute Amy Cuddy Ted talk was a powerful influence and helped me think about my new job and what steps to take next.
At the end of the day, starting a new job, no matter where you are in your career, is about having courage to step-up to a new challenge, accept that you won’t know everything on day one, making new connections and being humble.