As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ll soon be starting the first new job I’ve had in 11 years. I’m conscious that I’ve probably been spoiled by having built many of the systems and processes in use at my soon-to-be former employer, so that I might lack the perspective of what a newcomer to our organization faces. With that in mind, here are some items I’ll endeavor to keep in mind during the first few weeks and beyond at new company.
Speak up and ask questions. I need to make sure I understand what I’m meant to understand at certain points in time. Of course I won’t know everything in the first week or month, but if I’m expected to deliver on something, I need to ensure I fully understand the assignment, or else ask questions (at the risk of making myself look silly) until I do.
I don’t have to prove myself. I’ve been an IT professional for x years, the resume looks good, I passed the phone interview, I passed the on-site interviews, and now I’m sitting here in the HQ of my new employer. Be confident of my skills, add my unique insights where possible, but don’t feel as if I have to hit one out of the park in the first week. I tend to be methodical and reasoned in my decision-making, so this hasn’t been an issue in the past. And remember: Never compare your weaknesses to other people’s strengths. Each person has something to bring to the table.
I have peers now. One of the challenges at my BT job was that I was sort of a team of one. I was the primary guy for network changes within the Managed Service, which included a firewall cluster, and a handful of routers and switches. BT never provided any networking training so I was mostly self-taught on those. That’s fine, but I missed the opportunity to learn about best practices or even bounce ideas off of other people, instead being stuck with what I could scrounge up on Google, StackExchange, and the like. Now that there’s a team of people I’m working with (plus a generous training allowance from the company), I expect learning to kick into overdrive.
Find the balance. When I started with my previous company, I was 28 years old and single. Long hours were the norm, and my schedule didn’t need to be coordinated with anyone. Now I’m older, with a wife and two young children. I’m still planning on long hours, but they’ll need to be mapped around family dinners, school events, and sick kids. Plus, there’s a fitness center and personal trainer at my new work. For my mental and physical state, it’s imperative I establish a consistent workout schedule.
Push myself. This consolidates the points above. It’s time to push my career into overdrive. I’ve earned a tremendous opportunity, and my family has been willing to upend their lives in order to help me realize it. I don’t want to let them down, and I don’t want to let myself down. I need to ensure that I’m delivering to my full potential every day, while at the same time pushing my potential further. I don’t mind working hard and putting in long hours, as long as we’re all moving the ball down the field.
Two other final thoughts before I wrap up.
Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated. –Unknown
Instead of wondering where your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from. –Seth Godin