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Starting a new job? Don’t forget your survival kit

If you were going camping in the wilderness you’d make sure you had a survival kit with you. In it there would be a Swiss Army knife (very useful for removing stones from horses hooves!), some chocolate (for a quick energy boost) and a box of matches, in a waterproof bag, (for lighting a fire to keep you warm and scare the wolves) -I wasn’t a girl guide for nothing you know!

It’s always good to be prepared so if you’re starting a new job don’t forget to pack your survival kit.

What’s in your new job survival kit?

  • Focus – when you start a new job it can be a whirlwind of emotion. You want to make a good impression, get to know your colleagues, impress your new boss and get on with the job. Yet often you can spend your time listening to people talk about what they do, attend orientation meetings and try to remember who is who, while what you really want to do is start contributing. This can leave you feeling up and down as you try and settle in.

What can really help is to set yourself some goals. Set one for your first seven days, your first 14 days, your first month. This will give you a focus for your time and help you feel like you are achieving something in the early days. They could be simple goals such as ‘meet x people – ask them what my role can do to help them and compile a report with suggestions based on their responses’.

  • Find a buddy – it can feel a bit lonely when you start a new job as you have to create new working relationships. Research shows having a best friend at work contributes to your happiness and wellbeing. While it may take time to find your special mate, put the effort in to get to know your colleagues, be sociable and make connections. You may naturally gravitate towards someone you like who can show you the ropes, or you can ask your boss for a formal buddy to help you navigate the early days.
  • Gather information –  the first few weeks in the job are a honeymoon period where no one expects too much of you, and you can ask lots of questions without annoying people. Make the most of it, don’t feel like you should know everything. Work out what you need to know to do your job well and then make sure you have what you need.
  • Boost your confidence – its natural when starting somewhere new to need a confidence boost in the early days. Identify some small wins – quick fixes that you could easily do in your new job. They will give you a sense of achievement and contribution.
  • Celebrate your fresh perspective – one of the great things about starting a new job is that you can see things other people can’t because they’re too immersed in the organisation. Don’t be afraid to share your fresh perspective or make a note of all your ideas over the first few weeks. You can consider implementing some of them when you feel ready. Don’t think they are silly or not worth anything, they could be incredibly valuable, and once you’re busy ‘doing’ the job you may not be able to get the same fresh perspective again.
  • Set some boundaries early – before you start your new job, be clear with yourself about the hours you want to work and the way you want to be. If your new company has a long hours culture you will have to be strong about leaving on time, taking a lunch break, working in the evenings, at home but you don’t have to conform to the culture. Make a contract with yourself about what you will do, for example, you will work late max. 2 evenings a week if necessary. If you can manage your work life balance successfully it’s much healthier and you will be more effective. Plus you may inspire others to set boundaries too.
  • Enjoy yourself – starting a new job should be fun! The work could be challenging and stimulating plus it’s the perfect opportunity to get to know new colleagues. Go into it with the right mindset and before you know it you’ll find the first 90 days flying past.

For help in planning how to make your new job a success get in touch.

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