Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Career Corner: Starting a new job

If you’ve been a reader of this column, you would have seen articles where I discussed the importance of having a well-crafted resume, the benefits of networking during your job search, and how to engage in salary discussions during the recruitment process. What is also of importance is landing the job and navigating the first few weeks as a new employee. In this month’s article, I will share some suggestions on ‘surviving’ your first few weeks on the job.

Starting a new job can bring with it a mix of emotions ranging from happiness and excitement to trepidation- this is natural (and perfectly ok) ...the following tips should help:

Orientation…at the start of your new job, HR may have orientation and onboarding sessions for new employees. During these sessions you may be informed about company policies on areas such as social media, use of company devices, dress code etc. Familiarize yourself with these policies and adhere to them accordingly. You may also receive information on the organizations structure and the departments therein - use this opportunity to learn about the functions of the different departments and the role(s) of different team members within each unit.

Ask Questions…during the first few weeks you will be exposed to a lot of information, new processes and the details about new projects- you will need to get up to speed (quickly). Ask questions if there are things you are unclear about. Don’t assume. Your supervisor and your colleagues do not expect you to know everything. They want you to ask questions and will gladly respond to questions rather than having to correct mistakes you make because of something you didn’t know.

Participate…if you are involved in team meetings during the first few weeks on the job, you are expected to be an active participant in these meetings. Contribute to the discussion. Make suggestions if you need to and give guidance where you can. It’s customary to not want to speak up when you are new- but remember that you were hired for the value you can bring to the team. Making meaningful contributions shows that you can add such value.

Updates…until you are fully settled in your role, your supervisor may ask for periodic updates on the tasks you’re working on and will quite likely provide you with feedback on these projects. This is ok…your Supervisor isn’t trying to micromanage you, but instead wants to guide you during these initial stages. Meet with your supervisor and provide the updates. If you aren’t receiving feedback ask for it. The feedback received can give you invaluable insight as you navigate your new job.

MYOB…each organization will have its own unique culture; the current employees will have working history (good and bad) and you may encounter organizational politics. The truth is- as a new employee this hardly (if ever) concerns you. Often, new employees get caught up in office politics and gossip- don’t do it. Mind Your Own Business. Don’t get entangled in affairs that do not affect you. Instead, focus on the tasks that you have been assigned and execute them well.

Landing a new job is a significant achievement and can serve you well as you progress through your career. Use the first few weeks of the job wisely. Get to know your colleagues. Establish working relationships. Set boundaries if you need to. Manage your time wisely.

Although these tips are not exhaustive- they can serve as a useful guide when you are new. All the best to you.

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Malaika T. Edwards, PhD is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. You can contact her at malaika.edwards@yahoo.com, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards

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