So you got the job, now what?
Read this just as you would read a recipe; first the whole post and then each part for reference just before the corresponding moment. Bookmarking this post might be a good idea!
First day of work
a.k.a. the boring paperwork and setup day, ugh. It really doesn’t matter if it’s your first day of work ever or just your first day of work in this job, or even your first day in a new work field. First days always have a special aura. This one is a tongue twister, but it’s quite simple: first things first, from your first day on, be yourself at all times. For the Harvard Business Review (HBR), “the crucial point is finding a balance so that we can be true to ourselves while flourishing and finding success within the company”. This is important since feelings of authenticity lead to greater “job satisfaction, engagement, and self-reported performance” - all things you want. You’ll probably be introduced to everyone, and you’ll probably not remember every single name. That’s ok. We’ve all been there. However, you’re meeting many of your colleagues and team mates for the first time and first impressions matter. So even if you mistake Fred for Paul, you can do it with a smile. During the office tour try to remember where the printer, bathroom and break room are - always useful. For example, at Jumia, the first day involves a meeting between HR and all rookies, the company presentation with a guided tour and setups after lunch.
This is your onboarding week. It’s the time to deal with your expectations and start getting your hands dirty. You might have a buddy programme and a mentor - different things. It’s very likely you’ll have a first week goal or an amount of tasks to accomplish linked to your job description. We’re sure you’re eager to get your hand on the company’s code ASAP, but it depends on how fast of an onboarding process your company has. Usually, this period’s main accomplishments include getting to know the company’s coding conventions and new colleagues. As HBR puts it, you can boil it down to: “write code, learn about the company, and get to know your colleagues”.
You might not know it, but your manager might have made a 30-60-90 day plan or a roadmap for you. This is the more traditional planning. Your company might be different. It might be a different tiered model, but usually these vary only on a matter of scale. If you didn’t get a concrete goal plan from your manager, you can develop it yourself and reflect upon it regularly. This is quite useful for monthly performance reviews, however chilled down and informal they may be. Your reflections are useful to identify positive aspects of your work and anything that may need a brush up. This also might be a 1 on 1 meeting with HR, similar to the procedures at Jumia, where you can share how you felt about the onboarding, and assess the pros and cons after your 1st and 3rd month at the company, as well as set your own goals.
You should start feeling more comfortable if until now you didn’t feel you were being your authentic self. HBR reported that 72% of people take an average of two to three months to show their true selves at work. But don’t sweat it, this might vary depending on whether you’re required to follow a restrictive dress code or not. And don’t forget, we’re all multidimensional human beings too: it’s all about the cultural fit.
Now is the time to develop some good habits that will make you an A-Player:
- Challenge yourself and say yes to exciting opportunities, even if you’re not sure how to execute them;
- Focus on solutions will help you become a better team player;
- Sit in on meetings and share your knowledge;
- Branch out beyond your desk neighbours, work buddies are everywhere;
- Get organized, time track and hack your way to efficiency;
- Seek feedback and don’t take it personally;
- Find a way to have a chat with the CEO;
- Network, go to meetups and be social;
- Remember your former colleagues (from university or your previous job!);
Always keep in mind that “Your first three months on the job can lay the groundwork for major achievements down the road.”
You’re all set. Literary ramp-up concluded. Go shine. And if you’re getting a severe case of new job jitters, you can always review our New Job Insomnia Checklist or ask for some advice from our KWAN Ambassadors!