How to Be Successful
Here are five suggestions to help you be successful in your new job from the beginning.
- Manage Expectations
Manage expectations for yourself and others. During job interviews before you were hired, you discussed expectations about the duties and responsibilities of the job you were hired to do. The closer your actual work matches those expectations, the more job satisfaction you will find. The danger here is that expectations and priorities will change without your awareness. Address expectations in each of these areas by discussing them regularly with your manager:
- Performance. Clarify your responsibilities and how they relate to achieving team goals. Ask for regular feedback during your probationary period.
- Rewards. What are the team and individual rewards for a job well done?
- Risk. What are the risks of taking on tasks that fall outside your job description? We value initiative. Additional work assigned may be negotiated with your Manager.
- Commitment. What do your manager and co-workers expect from you?
- Working Conditions. As the new person in the team, you are bound to have the least desirable tasks and conditions as part of your initial job. This may mean working on a less desirable shift and changing your personal eating and sleeping habits for a while. Be realistic about when the conditions will get better.
- Work Itself. Learn to be a problem solver. Learn all you can about how to do your job the best way possible. Seek opportunities to attend formal training and receive informal training or coaching from others on your team.
- Be Prepared for Differences
Many aspects of your new job will be different from your previous job. If this job is your first job out of school, the differences will be even greater. Manage the differences by preparing yourself for them and taking care not to overreact to these differences. Some differences you can expect include:
- Work Hours. As mentioned previously, you may be working on an evening or night shift when you begin work. Set up a routine as quickly as possible to normalize your routine during the work week. Be sure to get enough sleep, and adjust your eating times so you can get enough sleep.
- Type of Work. The type of work you have previously done may not be as mentally and physically demanding. The work may require a different level of decision making, focus, attention to detail, and application of skills you will learn. If your new job requires that you stand on your feet for long periods of time, or lift heavy objects, or make exacting and careful movements, wear appropriate work boots and use protective clothing and equipment. Pay attention to job ergonomics to make work safe and healthful.
- Physical Differences. Because of your new work hours and the type of work you are going to be doing, you will be making physical demands on your body that will create stress and fatigue. It is not unusual for new employees to catch a cold during the first weeks of work at a new job. You can avoid that type of difficulty by taking good care of yourself and keeping your immune system strong. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, use strength training exercise, and limit alcohol intake.
- Expectations of Your Manager. You will find that your manager has high expectations for the type of work that you are going to do. You will also experience some level of independence in completing tasks in a timely manner. If this is your first job out of school, you will find that a manager is far more demanding than your previous teachers, and excuses for non-performance ("The dog ate my homework.") won't be tolerated. Identify and meet your manager's expectations in a timely manner.
- Have a Plan
Most new employees follow the lead of a manager or a senior co-worker. If you are going to be successful, begin to develop a plan for your advancement by:
- Identifying the next steps "up the ladder"
- Not waiting for opportunities to come to you; make your own opportunities
- Becoming a valuable, skilled employee who continues to learn and develop
- Looking outside your comfort zone and accepting new challenges
- If you want something or want to do something, go after it. You can make the job what you want it to be by developing your skills and looking for opportunities.
- Be a Team Player
You will rarely work in a totally independent manner. Most responsibilities are joined with others on your team or with other work groups. As a team player, try to:
- Take your share of the work responsibilities along with the credit.
- As the new member of the team, others will not necessarily be eager to hear what you have to say or suggest. Take time to get to know other team members and the routine before recommending changes.
- Communicate with questions, not complaints.
- Be a problem solver and don't fix what isn't broken.
- Be Yourself
Let others get to know you. Although the suggestions in this guide are intended to be helpful, don't give up your own personality and style of doing things. Use and keep your sense of humour; it will make your co-workers want to be around you.