You have completed your self-assessment work, you have landed a new job with the company at the top of your list and found the job of your dreams. It’s the position you always wanted, at the salary you hoped to receive, with the responsibility and upward mobility you desired.
So, what’s your next big challenge? Well, it’s you! Now, it’s up to you to properly integrate yourself into your new job with your new co-workers and your new responsibilities, regardless of your level in the organization. If you don’t, failure could come quickly no matter how talented you are.
This month and next, our newsletter will focus on how to get up to speed quickly while avoiding the common traps that can doom even the most qualified person to a short and unsuccessful tenure.
How to Avoid Dangerous New Job Traps
Here are seven common traps that you must avoid to be successful in your new position:
1. Isolating Yourself. This trap might be the most important one to avoid. Every new position, whether it’s at the executive, middle, or entry level is challenging. And it is often your first response to dive head-first into your job, and ignore everything and everyone else.
It’s important not to do that. In fact, it’s important to do something that might have helped you acquire the position in the first place: networking. Just as networking can help you identify and attain your new status, so, too, can networking help you gain solid footing and advance in your new workplace.
Use networking with your new co-workers to learn more about the office and corporate environments, such as: how work is accomplished, what priorities are important, how work is distributed, who is reliable, and what people expect of you.
2. Doing Too Much, Too Fast. This ties in with #1–isolating yourself. Everyone wants to hit a new job running. But, doing too much, too fast can create some problems for you.
First, this will isolate you as you bury yourself in work and miss out on a prime opportunity to smoothly mix into your new office environment. Second, by doing too much, too fast, you also might be missing the nuances of what is expected of you and your work.
And, third, you could be doing everything wrong, but you’re doing things too fast to pick up on the signals. It’s better to take your time, make sure you are working in the right direction, and that your projects are properly researched and targeted.
3. Being a Know-It-All. Arrogance never goes over well when you’re the new kid on the block. You haven’t proven anything yet, and being a know-it-all will just turn off many productive sources for you, and tag you with a label that might be difficult to peel off.
So, even if you think that you know everything, even if you know that you know everything, even if you are certain that you are the smartest person in your new office, just keep it to yourself. If any of the above is true, it will be evident to your staff or co-workers soon enough.
Instead, be an eager listener and learner, and your new company will be impressed by how quickly you learn, how easily you have adapted, and how smoothly you have improved the operation.
4. Linking Up With the Wrong People. Every company has its leaders (both obvious and subtle), its followers, its malingerers, and its troublemakers. When you are a new hire, at first glance, some of these people appear to be obvious.
Yet, here is where you want to avoid the trap of identifying these people, and linking up with them, too quickly. It’s easy to dismiss someone because they are quiet or reserved, only to find out later that this person is an essential cog in the operation.
So, too, it is easy to give much credit to someone who often talks about all the important work they do, only to discover that their work is insufficient and ineffective. So don’t leap to judgment.
5. Improperly Assessing Situations. As it is easy to improperly assess the importance of people in your new company, improperly assessing any situation can be a dangerous trap in which to get ensnared.
It’s much better to take your time assessing how your new company operates before coming to any conclusions. Knowing how things are done, and who the key players are, will keep you from taking too many false steps.
6. Lack of Clarity, Direction. This is an important factor, especially for executives and senior managers who are expected to lead others from the get-go. Being vague, uncertain, or wishy-washy can immediately doom your effectiveness.
It’s important to be clear in your objectives, mission, and direction, and not leave those you supervise guessing at what you want from them and wondering if you know what you are doing.
7. Preconceived Notions. Everyone has preconceived ideas about their new job. You likely have interviewed at your new company several times and have met some of your new co-workers.
Already, you have ideas about how your new office works and with whom you may or may not be a good fit. Keep these thoughts to yourself, keep your eyes open, and keep an open mind. All will be revealed in time, and, if you have avoided these common traps that can sink your start, you are likely to have a rewarding and prosperous career.
(Next Month: We’ll help you meet the challenges inherent in any new job, and lay out the solutions for avoiding the pitfalls that can quickly turn a promising opportunity into a failed venture.)
Randi’s Recommended Reads
(Hardcover) by Michael Watkins
Aspirations! is written and compiled by Randi Bussin, a career coach and entrepreneurial consultant with 25 years of experience of corporate, nonprofit, and entrepreneurial expertise. She leverages her extensive background to help mid-career professionals and entrepreneurs clarify their aspirations, develop the “big-picture,” and set realistic goals in designing a career that reflects their personal values and passions. Through focused coaching, she helps clients make steady progress and achieve their career goals.
If you would like more information on our services, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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