Congrats on Your New Fancy Job! Now what?
As the newest third newest INKer, I know it can be a little daunting to start a new job, especially one that requires you to hit the ground running. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to avoid stumbling and falling flat on your face.
When you’re jumping in on multiple existing projects, you’re going to get a lot of email – like, a lot. Read all of it. It will feel overwhelming because you don’t have context for most of it, but reading everything will help you build that context. You’ll start to put the puzzle pieces together and you’ll more quickly learn the “State of the Project” and how the team works by immersing yourself in all that text.
Build out your Resources
We live in a fancy-shmancy, technology driven world and have an immense number of tools and resources at our fingertips. Use them. Set up Google alerts and/or Feedly lists for your new company, clients, and industry. Build out Twitter feeds focusing on industry thought leaders and industry news. Update your LinkedIn and make connections with your new coworkers, clients, etc. And then, as you may have guessed, read all of it. Information is your friend.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Another great way to get information is to ask questions. I know, that seems so simple, but you’d be surprised how many new employees see asking questions as a weakness. Don’t go asking questions for the sake of asking questions, but it is certainly better to ask than to make a mistake and waste time. I’m a fan of the give/get question structure, i.e. “In regards to task A, I was planning on doing X, Y, Z. Do you think that’s the best approach?” This gives the questionee the option to briefly answer “yes.” It also keeps them from over-explaining an answer since they’ll know where you’re starting from. Win/Win.
Insert yourself, don’t assert yourself
Settling in with a new group of people can be difficult and, understandably, you want to make a good impression and show your eagerness to contribute. There is a fine line between inserting yourself into a new group – making yourself available, offering your opinion, volunteering to help – and asserting yourself – bulldozing over people and hijacking projects. Generally speaking, if you’re polite and treat your new colleagues like the human beings they are, this shouldn’t be a problem.
When I started drafting this post, I was the new girl on the block. Now that I have finished it, we have welcomed two new INKers, Ariel Miller and Rachel Murphy, which just goes to show you won’t be new for long. So fear not, take a deep breath, and dive in headfirst. You’ll be great.