10 Tips to Help Prevent a False Start at Your New Job

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10 Tips to Help Prevent a False Start at Your New Job_USAA Member Community

Most competitions involving a race begin with a starter pistol of some sort. “On your mark! Get set! Go! A “false start” could be the difference between winning and losing. If you’re early and “jump the gun”, you get penalized or sometimes eliminated. Can you imagine training for four years, going to the Olympics, and having a false start? Ouch! You get to stick around to compete by being right on time or (as opposed to the workplace), by being slightly late.

At your new job, you don’t want a false start either. Getting started right is key to a successful transition into your new position.

Fortunately, most new jobs provide a bit of leeway for new employees. Of course, you want to do things right the first time as much as humanly possible. However, we all know it takes a while to get oriented to new surroundings.

You should go into your new job with high expectations, yet don’t expect things to happen overnight. You didn’t build your previous career overnight, so why expect to win a trophy on day one?

I believe if you start a new job with an attitude of being teachable, you can set the stage for longevity and success. Yes, companies change and sometimes what once was is no longer, but you can increase your chances of success in many ways from the beginning. You can benefit by demonstrating a willingness to learn new things, being open to letting the company’s designated leaders mentor you and an overall sense of seeking the best outcome possible while employed there.

Here are 10 tips to help avoid a false start of your own:

  1. Don’t come into the new job like you know everything. You know some things from a previous job that had a whole different set of people, rules, and culture. Listen and learn first, then share slowly enough to make an impact without coming across as a know-it-all.
  2. Do ask questions, but do it with a purpose. Some people like to ask questions just because they like to hear the sound of their own voice. While you’re trying to understand your new surroundings, try to ask purposeful questions.
  3. Make sure your supervisor (a.k.a. boss, manager, etc.) is involved with the process of getting you started on the path to success. In other words, keep them informed as to how things are going. Maintain two-way communication, especially as you set goals.
  4. Get to know your new co-workers during and after work hours. This will give you a chance to connect with those you work with and shorten the learning curve for learning all you need to know. Seek out those who truly wish to help you and be a good co-worker yourself.
  5. Get involved early on an important project if possible. This will keep you engaged from the get go and show that you’re ready to contribute, even if you contribute a little bit at first.
  6. Have lunch with a different person each day. Since you’re new, you really don’t know the people well enough yet. By breaking bread with several people, you can potentially make a new friend at work or learn some survival skills that may come in handy when you’re new.
  7. Find a way to understand the difference between what you learn in training versus the way the day-to-day workflow exists. This is what many in the military referred to as “The School Solution” versus “The Real World”.
  8. Identify trouble spots early and avoid them. This should go without saying, but you need to be aware of company policies and comply with them.
  9. Keep a positive attitude. Even if you meet some grumpy people, remain a “glass half full” type of employee! Remember, you’re coming in after the movie has already started, so it might take a while to figure out what happened before you arrived.
  10. Have fun! Being new won’t last forever. Yes, you will most likely make mistakes and maybe even be referred to as the “newbie”. Relax and enjoy being the new person on the block. Be cool and know that it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes.

Speaking of False Starts, take a look at this video compilation of some memorable ones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8GGCXIjEKI


My hope is that you have not only a great start in your new job, but many years in the race.


Have some advice to share? Leave a comment below.


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