Tips // Starting a New Job

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I mentioned here that I recently got a new job. It was a really really really tough decision. Without going too deep into the story, I basically had a realization that a different career path (a related career, but a little different) was a better fit for me. I had been at my previous job for four years and had interned there. Change of any kind can be tough, but this was one of the hardest changes for me. My office for the past four years was like a second home (I probably spent more time there than at my actual home!) and I loved my team, my bosses, and my company. Despite being so comfortable and loving my job, I knew that if I wanted to make a career change, the time was now... so I made the leap. I've been at my new company for about three weeks now and things are going great!

Since I just went through the process of starting over at a new company, I want to share what I've learned. These tips are relevant to anyone starting a new job, thinking about finding a new job, and recent grads about to set off on their career path. I'm by no means a career coach, I'm just hoping some of the thoughts and realizations I've had during this process will be helpful to others in similar situations.

Before you start, fully understand what you're in for
It doesn't look good to leave a job early on, so make certain you'll be happy in the role for at least a year. Ensure you completely understand what your job duties will be, what your boss will expect of you, and how progress will be measured. Ask about typical office hours, overtime work, the office dress code, and the paid time off policy. Even if you've been looking for a job for months and are so ready to start somewhere, you need to take time to reflect and make sure it's a good fit.

Treat the first few months like an audition
Congratulations, you got the job! You clearly made a great impression and your boss thought you were the most qualified candidate... but you still have to make a great first impression in the office. Try to get in before your boss and stay until after she leaves, set up time to meet individually with your co-workers to learn everyone's job function, take all training courses offered, and set up google alerts for your company and competitors to keep updated on industry news. Once you've established yourself as the great employee you are, you can loosen things up a bit (take a slightly longer lunch, shift your hours, etc).

Don't be afraid to ask for help
It's difficult starting somewhere new and learning the way things are done. Everyone understands you're new (they've been in your shoes before!) so don't be afraid to ask for help. I used to hate admitting I didn't know how to do something, but now I've learned that it's WAY better to ask for help rather than screw something up. 

Map out your first three months
You'll likely meet with your boss the first or second day to go over job duties and what expectations are. You'll probably feel overwhelmed... but you could also feel a little slow. The beginning of a new job can be weird because you're learning so much but not usually diving into projects. Take a calendar and map out your first three months on the job. Pencil in training sessions, schedule project start dates, and set progress updates with your boss. Keep yourself on schedule to ensure you're accomplishing what you want and starting strong!

Anyone else have new job tips to share? I'm all ears!

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