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New job? Position yourself for success

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After all the hard work and effort, you finely landed the job. The anxiety about what’s going to happen next is gone and you’re relieved that you can stop updating your resume. Now that you have a job and you’re about to start next Monday, you’re starting to feel the sheer terror of what you have just gotten yourself into.

All businesses have an unspoken “ramp up time.” You want to use that time to become a fully functioning part of the team, both by the work you produce and how you have integrated with the group. With a little thinking as you are starting, you can assure yourself of success.

As you are entering the new job, here are several things to do immediately.

Set up a meeting with your new boss. You will want to hear your boss tell you again about your job. You want to know the responsibilities, performance expectations, points of contact, deadlines, upcoming meetings and events.

Meet the key players. You will want to understand what function each person performs and how your role interacts with them. You need to make sure that you find out from them any details about how your work needs to be done to set them up for success.

Get familiar with your surroundings. Locate the copier and the fax machine. Look for office supplies and good things, like the bathroom. These are things most people take for granted, but a new person isn’t going to know.

Observe. As with any group of people, there are politics and culture to consider. Before you step on a metaphorical land mine, you want to come in as an observer to the organization you are now part of. You need to understand the informal leadership, the influencers and problems. All new people are automatically given a state of grace for their ignorance during that period. Make sure to ask plenty of questions and be watchful. It will be your knowledge of the culture, your personality and how you do your job that will set the bar for how well you integrate. Integration into the culture may be a strong indicator of your future success and career growth.

Ask for feedback and ask it early and often. As you are starting to produce work, seek out your boss or other key players for their feedback on your work. Just like integration into the group, your work also has a grace period. You want to use your grace period as a window to learn by doing and adjusting until you are producing at or above the expectations. You won’t know unless you ask.

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