9 Awesome Tips to Crush Your First Month in a New Job
A few months ago, I started a new job. It was thrilling, exciting, and also terrifying.
Being new at a company is intimidating. Taking everything in is overwhelming. You’re unsure how to navigate the workplace and how to get up-to-speed in the quickest way possible.
I wanted to be the best employee I could be and I wanted to rock it.
But, I failed. In several areas.
I don’t want you to do the same, so I’ve provided nine ways to ensure you crush it at your new job by learning from my mistakes – and mistakes others often make.
Tip 1: Ask Questions!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I remember when I was training someone new a few years ago how frustrating it was that the person didn’t ask any questions. I knew he didn’t know everything (he knew it, too), but he thought asking questions made him look weak.
Not at all.
Just the opposite.
Asking questions shows that you’re engaged and you want to do processes correctly.
Not asking questions when you’re new makes you appear like you’re not willing to learn. So even if it’s annoying to whoever trains you, make sure you find out everything you can about the process you’ll be assisting with.
It’s truly in everyone’s best interest for you to learn things the correct way early on in a new role.
Tip 2: Use a New Job to Form Good Habits
There aren’t many times in life where you can “start over” with your day-to-day work habits. Try to use this time to start things out correctly and create good habits.
So, if your job requires process documentation and you were lazy about it in the past, try to start out writing proper, detailed documentation this time around. It’ll become second nature after a short time.
If you have to track your time based on your work responsibilities or you choose to track your time, do your best to stay on top of it.
Forming those good habits early will help guard against you forgetting, making mistakes, and becoming too lax.
Tip 3: Be Willing to Try New Things…
In my new role, my boss told me he wanted me to try leading presentations and training because he believed I would be good at it.
I’m terrible at public speaking. Creating presentations is fun. Presenting them, not so much.
And he could tell. Even though I tried to hide it, my face showed it all.
I began explaining that I become anxious when public speaking, but that doing more of it would be good for me. I’m sure he didn’t buy it.
But I was being honest that I do want to try more of it. And even though presentation skills aren’t at the top of my sought-after skills list, they’re good skills to have.
When you’re new in a role, be open to new things. I know, you’re reasoning right now that you are trying new things…by working in a new role. Obviously this role is different than what you had before, otherwise, you wouldn’t have sought it.
However, if you’re tasked with trying things out of your comfort zone, embrace them.
Tip 4: …But Not Over-Eager
It’s okay to want to take on every new project thrown at you but know your limits. Make sure you recognize when your plate becomes too full for you to handle.
Even if you have the best intentions, you’d hate your over-eagerness to backfire and make you look flaky or unreliable. One of the things my mentor tells me that has continued to stick with me is that saying “no” shows a sign of strength.
There’s also an art to saying no. If you realize this isn’t the best time, a “not now, but in 2 months” response might be fitting. If it’s out of the scope of your role, maybe an “I can’t help you but Cindy can” will work. If you carefully think about how to say no before you actually do, it will show your maturity in the situation.
Tip 5: Make Your Space Yours
I’ve found that one of the reasons getting adjusted in a new job is so difficult is because it feels so different. What helps ease the adjustment is to decorate, organize, and make the space yours.
So, if you have a desk job, consider spiffing it up to fit your taste.
Tip 6: Practice Patience
You’ll get frustrated. It’s going to happen. Learning all these new processes will become overwhelming and you’re not going to pick up on everything as quickly as you want. That’s okay.
Everyone was new once.
Everyone’s been there.
Take a deep breath if you become frustrated and try to clear your mind. Patience really is a virtue and it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even if you have to work at it, trust me, you’ll appreciate taking an extra second to clear your mind before moving onto something else.
Tip 7: Play Nice with Coworkers
Making friends as an adult isn’t fun. When we were kids, it was so easy. Now, it takes so much more…work.
Try your best in your new role to get integrated with your other coworkers. Get to know them. Make the time to care about them.
Don’t do this artificially, but actually try to get to know them. Work is so much more enjoyable when you like your coworkers.
I don’t want to say to do this as a selfish move, but someone’s going to be much more willing to help you out in a pinch if they like you.
Tip 8: Remain Humble
It may be easy to become prideful when you start a new job.
Obviously, you have skills your new employer needs.
And obviously, they’re excited about you working in this new role.
But obviously, you don’t know everything.
It can be easy to try to own as much as possible when starting a new role so that you can prove your employer made a good decision in hiring you.
And if you’re hired in a role as a subject matter expert (SME), it can be easy to want to uproot everything. Because obviously, you’re the expert, right?
I want to challenge you to take a step back and absorb whatever you can before attempting to turn everything on its head.
No, you don’t have all the answers.
And no, everything doesn’t need to be changed immediately.
Tip 9: Stay Organized
It’s overwhelming to start in a new role, with all the new things you have to learn and to remember. You have new terminology, new names, new rules – it’s quite a bit to digest. Stay organized! This is the best way to keep it all straight.
A few things we recommend to stay organized and on top of everything:
- Get a planner. We highly recommend the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. You can write your daily tasks, jot down to-dos, make notes, and stay overall organized with how simple yet organized this planner is.
- Get a notebook. You need a way to take notes. Whether it’s digitally, or something you take with you to meetings, pick whatever you’ll actually use. We recommend this set of two fun notebooks that you’ll want to use to take notes!
Get out there and crush it in those first 30 days at your new job!
Do you have any additional tips you’d add to this list?