Surviving the first 90 days – how to not only make a good impression but shine like a diamond too

Things to avoid at job interviews, office

Article provided by life coach, Carole Ann Rice

Congratulations – you secured the hot new job!

Well done, you got through the grueling interview process and you’ve got the hangover to prove it.  You’ve made your parents proud, your friends envious and you’re both thrilled and terrified at the prospect of your new role.

Finding where the loos and coffee machine is, who is the gossip to avoid, the whistling irritant to sit away from, the lunch etiquette to master and the when is it safe to go home edicts to absorb.

 Often contracts start with a three months’ probation period where the company gets to see how you work and settle in and whether you’re both a good fit.

This can be a nerve-wracking time for any new employee.  Not only have you got the stress of settling in with new people, new work and new surroundings but you feel you have to out-perform everyone to make a good impression with a combination of sheer graft and neurosis.

There are however a few important rules you can follow to ensure your first 90 days isn’t just a paranoid “getting to know you” honeymoon period but a workable blueprint for a satisfying new career move:

Know and Be-Known – It is your job to be as friendly as possible to all the new people you meet. Share a bit about yourself (don’t brag or over share out of nerves) and be sure that you find out from your colleagues what the do’s and don’t’s are, what the culture is and any useful insider knowledge.

Network Nous – Get out of your departments and use your networking skills to establishment key contacts in other areas of the organization.  Try to draw out their priorities and challenges.  Be in the know.  Have lunch with colleagues in the cafeteria, talk to the guys in the newsroom, get to know the receptionist – network horizontally and vertically.

No-Go Gossip – Avoid office politics and gossip.  Many long-term employees may have ancient resentments, conflicts and issues with other members of staff.  Avoid getting drawn into intrigues that could back-fire on you. Make up your own mind.

Mark Your Wins – Keep a note of all your successes, achievements and all the tasks you are proud of so that you have a log that you can call upon when you have your review.

Create coalitions – Find out who can help you, who is important to know, gain advocates and connect with people who will support you and get them onside.  You need to create allies and advocates.

Stay Balanced – In times of stress and transition it is possible to make bad judgments and you can lose perspective.  Try to keep balanced and see the bigger view.  If need be, chat things over with a wise colleague.

Get Noticed – Volunteer, socialize, network, have strategic lunches, but the most important thing is be seen and get noticed.  When it comes to assessing your time there, be sure the decision makers know you and what you’ve achieved.

Maintain energy – it’s so easy to slide into a rut after a few weeks.  Remember it’s not a done deal until the end of your probation period so maintain your enthusiasm, be punctual, dress well, look fresh (keep a toothbrush /mints /spare tights in your drawer) keep socializing and keep focused. No daydreaming or doodling.

Don’t Wing It – be very clear what your role is and isn’t and be sure to define with your manager precisely what is expected of you.  Don’t double guess, you could go off on the wrong tangent or worst still – step on toes.

Listen and Learn – Don’t question the culture or try to change it but do ask those who appear to be successful and who may have the boss’s ear how they work and what their values are.  Our ears never get us into trouble. Read the company’s annual report and take notes.

Be Inspired – Take a notebook around with you – write down your idea and observations – it will make you look keen.

Button it – Look for solutions and not problems and resist complaining.  New employers don’t want to inherit a whiner or a trouble-maker.

Be fun – Be helpful and nice to be around.  You’d be surprised how far a winning smile and eager personality can take you far.  Be memorable and be that “really nice new gal/guy” that people talk about.


Fancy a 30-minute free session with Carole Ann Rice?  Visit www.realcoachingco.com and sign up to her newsletter.

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