Starting a new job ain't easy. Trust me, I've done it several times. There are few things in life that are as stressful as walking into an unknown organization and having to prove yourself to a bunch strangers. This becomes especially difficult when you are hired into a higher level position when you are now the boss of folks that have been there for years. Your margin for error in the minds of co-workers is very low. However, I'm going to try to share some of my experiences and perhaps help you with your upcoming commencement of a new job. And if you don't think there are any jobs on the horizon for you, don't worry, you'll be walking into a new office or jobsite very soon.
Dog and Pony Show
Unfortunately, companies are still in search of tremendous instant gratification when it comes to a new hire. Going through the interviewing process is long and difficult for employers. Then, there is always some significant uncertainty with the person they selected. While companies want to think that they are hiring for their long term benefit, it is most likely not true. Companies hire to fill an immediate need and if that individual works out in the long-term, great, but if they are no longer desired when the immediate need has expired, well, that individual is sent packing. However, if you quit after the need has expired and they want to keep you, your a quitter and a job hopper in their mind. I'm sorry, but this is just the way it is, and unless you want to start your own company, you've got to deal with it.
So you need to give them some instant gratification. You need to show them that you are capable of doing the tasks for which you were hired. So come prepared. Do some research on the particular business in which the company is working and come armed with any jargon or lingo that may not have been flying around at your last job. I know this is a little bit of a dog and pony show, but it's really necessary. It takes a long time to start performing well in a new job, but companies don't want to believe that. Just do your best to make the folks that took a chance on you feel like they made the right choice. The real answer won't come for months or maybe years down the road, but for now, you just have to play the game a little bit.
Build Your Reputation
Starting a new job is the clean slate that everybody dreams about. One of the unfortunate things about organizations is that your perception in the company (deserved or otherwise) goes a very, very long way. The more experience I get in the working world, the more I start to think that the route toward advancement is much more political than it is technical. You may not like this, but again, it's the way it is. So be nice to people and offer help whenever you can. And as much as you think it may look like politicking, it helps to be the first one in the office and the last one to leave. After a while you can chill out on this, but it certainly helps to start out showing some significant desire to perform well, which is of course true.
This is the number one item on almost every bullet point article I do. It applies in every situation, and starting a new job is certainly near the top on the list. You have to remember that they hired you because they like what you have and it's easy to lose confidence in yourself if you are swamped with new procedures, new bosses, and unfamiliar processes. So even if you have some minor setbacks in your first couple of weeks or months, just blow it off. Every human being will make some significant mistakes whenever they do something for the first time. Sabotaging co-workers may try to exploit these mistakes. Just stay strong. Nobody is going to fire you for a few screw-ups during your first few months. Trust me, I've been beaten down like Notre Dame in a bowl game. It's tough, but if you lose confidence, you might as well grab two checks from accounting and walk out the door.
Starting a new job is necessary unless you have a very wealthy spouse or you're really good at Who Wants to be a Millionaire. But if you're not married to a doctor or lucky enough to have a lot of very bright lifelines, you'll have to keep these three things in mind to make it go a little bit smoother.