Changing jobs is quite common in today’s world. In fact, many estimates suggest that the average person will have between 10 to 13 different jobs over the course of their working lives. Many businesses are even promoting employee retention as a way to attract new talent. Because of this, it is imperative to embrace change and understand how to properly ready yourself for a new job so you can be more successful in your work and integral to the organization that you join
There are many different reasons you might change jobs. You could find a better opportunity somewhere else. Perhaps you’re unhappy or no longer passionate about your work or your organization. Employee satisfaction, or the lack thereof, is one of the most biggest indicators of impending job changes.
Or maybe it’s out of necessity. We live in an unpredictable and chaotic world. Anything can happen. Perhaps you have to move to take care of a family member or you need a job that's closer to home. Whatever the reason is, you will need to have the ability to start your new job with vigor and intentionality.
When you change jobs, you can encounter all sorts of obstacles and challenges. You may have to learn new guidelines and perform tasks that you don’t have much experience with. Perhaps you need to move for your job and adapt to a new location, create new relationships, and adjust to different social or cultural norms. Maybe you’re stuck in the past and unable to free yourself from issues you had with a previous job. While change is one of the only certainties we can count on in our lives, many of us can have a difficult time dealing with it. This can manifest itself in some damaging ways.
According to Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams in their Harvard Business Review article entitled “Managing Yourself: Five Ways to Bungle a Job Change”, job changes can often “lead to a noticeable decline in performance, in both the short and long term. For instance, in previous research, we found that star equities analysts moving to new investment banks experienced drops in performance that lasted as long as five years.” Given how many times the average person changes jobs, this could be a serious hindrance to the success of your working life. Suffering from poor performance every time you start a new job is no recipe for success.
So how can you prevent this problem? It starts with appropriately readying yourself for the new job and effectively integrating yourself into your organization. You have to embrace change.
The First 90 Days
It is important to focus specifically on the first 90 days of your job. This is the time to integrate into and learn to understand your organization, establish your ability to contribute and build good relationships and habits. Do this, and you will be well on your way to being an integral part of your organization and succeeding in your new job.
There are three questions you need to focus on and find the answers for in your first 90 days. The three questions are:
1. Who is this organization you are working for? – You need to understand the organization. How does it function? What is the noble cause? What makes them unique? How do they serve their customers?
2. What’s my role? – Think about what you have been hired to do. Why does your role exist? How does it align with the purpose of the organization? What’s the code of conduct?
3. What are my tasks and what do I need to accomplish? – What are you accountable for? How can you contribute to the organization? Are you helping the organization in the pursuit of its noble cause? If not, what can you change so that you are?
If you have answers to these questions, you can find the direction you need to take in your work and act with intention. Uncertainty can often plague those who are new to their job. There’s a learning curve to overcome and new surroundings and people to adapt to. This unfamiliarity can breed uncertainty in new hires. If you can answer these questions, you can avoid that obstacle.
Another thing you must do in the first 90 days is ready yourself to be a contributor. If you’ve been seeking answers to the three questions above, then you should find the ways you can contribute to the organization. But how do you perform those contributions? What do you need to learn? What training do you require? Take the initiative and make sure you get the training or knowledge that you need. Companies usually focus on contribution and the ability to complete tasks and produce. If you become a member of the organization that does this, you will be valued and empowered within the company.
Being a contributor also helps you to build and develop better and more positive relationships within the organization. This is important for generating effective lines of communication and cohesion, as well as creating a healthy work environment for yourself. It can be especially helpful early on when you may need guidance or feedback from others. However, make sure to be aware and respectful of everyone’s time. Avoid asking for these things too often and taking time way from people performing their own tasks.
When you have properly developed relationships with other members, you become more integrated into the company. You will gain insight into the perspectives of different members, which enables you to have a better understanding of the areas that need the most attention or help within the organization. This can empower you to contribute more. The more you contribute, the better your relationships are within the organization. The better your relationships, the more you can contribute.
Another essential aspect of readying yourself for your new job is discipline. You must be accountable for yourself. Make sure you are meeting deadlines and performing the necessary actions for your job and for your contribution to the organization. Perform a daily grounding practice and ask yourself these questions:
1. Why am I here?
2. What’s important to me?
3. What did I accomplish today?
4. What am I proud of?
5. How have I moved the noble cause of the organization forward?
These questions keep you present and aware of your level of performance. If you do this every day, you can develop and improve your personal accountability. Be honest with yourself. If you didn’t accomplish anything today, own it. Then go to work tomorrow with the drive and enthusiasm to accomplish more that day.
Start your job with discipline and make it a habit. We are habitual by nature. If you start your job with discipline, you are more likely to continue being disciplined in your work as time passes. It is much harder to develop discipline after performing a job without it.
Leave the Past Behind
When you start your new job, you are essentially starting over. To do that, you have to forget about issues from your past experiences. Ground yourself in the present and focus on what is in front of you. Do not remain stuck in hopelessness, fear, or frustration. Attack your job in a state of courage. Be intentional and open-minded. Keep your mental state and performance levels high when beginning a new job.
Your new job is an opportunity. It is a new realm for you to learn and grow in. Take advantage of it and foster your own success more than you ever have before!
If you want to learn more about living at your highest level of effectiveness and succeeding at any job you start, or if you want to develop higher employee satisfaction and retention in your current organization, check out our Free Online Response Agility Workshop. Change starts with a single person. Be the change you want to see in your company.