Archive for July 30th, 2008

Starting a New Job? Evaluate and Acclimate Before You Try to Revolutionize Your Work Culture

Yesterday, I blogged about tips to help you in your first day (or week) of a new job. Today, I’d like to share some of my own experiences starting a new job right out of school. Getting started in a new job is always a transition – no matter how many jobs you’ve had. This is the article I contributed to Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Magazine, a publication I help edit…


My first job out of college was as an analyst on Wall Street. As I recall, from my perspective, our group needed help to become more efficient and comfortable.

Initially, my only suggestion that met with results pertained to our comfort. Our desk chairs looked like they could be props in a 1950s movie. Our boss ordered new ones when she realized that I was scavenging around the building to find a chair more suitable to a 14-hour day! (This demonstrates that suggesting a change that clearly benefits everyone can be a good starting point.)

I quickly noticed that my other suggestions met resistance. I was too new, inexperienced and unaware of corporate culture to expect changes at my request. Ill never forget the day my colleague told me that I asked too many questions.

Luckily, I realized before it was too late that I needed to slow down, re-evaluate and acclimate before I tried to revolutionize my group.

It is important to learn a thing or two before you can become an effective change agent in an organization not accustomed to transformations.

Make a good first impression. You know that you dont get a second chance to make a first impression. Work hard! Get there early. Stay late. Dont complain. Ever. Demonstrate that you care about a job well done. Offer to help your colleagues when appropriate. Volunteer to take on projects that no one else wants to do. You could wind up a hero by solving an unsolvable problem. Bonus: a heros ideas are usually well received!

Develop relationships. Youve heard it a thousand times relationships are key to career success. Before you try to convince your colleagues that you have a great idea, get to know them. Understanding what makes them tick will make it easier for you to persuade them to your way of thinking down the road.

Stop. Listen. Learn. Take it all in. Ask questions (but not too many!) Avoid jumping to conclusions. Learn about the decision makers and what they value. Try to determine why things are done the way they are. Whats the back-story?

Drink company Kool-Aid. Adapt to the corporate culture. Show youre a team player and that you appreciate what everyone has done before you came on board. Dont arrogantly expect to change something before youre invested in it. Demonstrate that you value the work, the people and the organization. Once youre fully on board, know the issues, the whys and the hows, you may be surprised by how easy it is to convince your colleagues to consider changes.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more tips to focus on to build good long-term rapport at a new job!

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Wish you had a new job to start? Get your resume in gear and start searching in a way that will yield results! I can help:

photo by Amber Rhea

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July 2008