Job Success: What To Do Once You Start The Job

Monday, February 25th, 2019 - Austin Coulter

“In most jobs, it takes anywhere from three to six months to feel like you know what you're doing, and in some especially complicated jobs, even longer. Don't panic if you still feel in over your head by your third week, or like you'll never fit into this new workplace culture.”

When searching for a job we often concern ourselves with having the perfect resume, rehearsing answers to common interview questions, and endlessly trying to improve upon these skills. Theoretically, the job you're searching for will lead to a future career in whatever field you’ve studied in university. So, you’ve done the work, gone through the rigorous screening process, and you have the position. Now what should you expect? Onboarding, training, and contributing.

Many summer students or recent graduates may be on the hunt for their first office position with many essential responsibilities with different deadlines, level of importance, and interdependencies with other business units. It is easy to become overwhelmed within the first couple of weeks while learning about your own role, the functions of your team, and how your own contributions affect the business as a whole. This blog post will help you to navigate your yourself through the beginning of your employment, while you adjust to your new position. The following tips are suggested for the time when you're still unsure of the cultural norms around your work environment.

1. Make Like a Sponge – No matter how much research you may do about the company beforehand, there is no way of knowing the roles of every employee and how teams work together without experience. Therefore, it is imperative to listen, take notes, and ask questions whenever necessary. Most of the time people are happy to help and are understanding of a new employee’s lack of experience.

2. Pay Attention – Even when sending a simple email to your boss, another team, or outside the business, you would be surprised how many people make typos, grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, and issues with their signature. Some superiors you may only connect with electronically, and you should try to maintain a strong image of you in their head.

3. Context is Key – Always ask questions. If you don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, then how do you know that your work is accurate? To impress managers, you can suggest or add components to your work that they didn’t ask for or expect. However, you can only do this once you understand the context of your position and tasks.

4. Learn By Doing / Be Confident – Often times, you may not receive full training regarding all of your tasks. For instance, if being trained by a previous employee, they may teach you things the way “they did it” instead of the preferred methods. Or, you may get asked to do something by a superior that is new to you. In any of these cases, it is best to at least try, do research, ask around, and use whatever resources you have available to get the job done. If you are unable to complete the task, this could diminish the confidence your superiors have in you. However, completing the task will show them that you are a team player who is able to thrive in their environment.