You did it. You got the job.
Your start date is just around the corner and it is time to relax, right?
Yes and No. I do want you to relax and celebrate your victory but but I also want you to come up with a strategy for your first 90 days in your new role.
These next 90 days are critical. Critical for your success in this new job and critical for your career success. It is your first impression and it sets the tone for the rest of your duration there.
When building your 90 day transition plan there are 6 things that I want you to review, think about and strategize.
1. Take Initiative
This is easy, simply ask for any materials for review prior to start. This shows your future manager that you are one to step up, that you love to be prepared and that you are focused on setting yourself up for success. A great message to send.
Once you start, be open to learning new things. Take the initiative to get to know the whole business and how your role/team/department supports it on its own path to success.
2. Build Relationships
Get to know people. Your team, your department, key people throughout the organization. A crucial part of success is to always surround yourself with a support system. We know this when we are going after a goal but we forget about it when starting a new job.
This is especially scary for introverts or people who are shy. So find a way around it. One thing I always did was to bring pictures and set them up on my desk. There was one of my husband and me from our backpacking days of us on an elephant. I would set that up so that anyone walking by or pausing at my office door or cubicle would see it and they would stop to ask about it. It was a great way for me to build relationships while dealing with the fear of meeting new people.
These relationships are key for your success, they will be the people you go to when you need to vent, ask questions, a shoulder to lean on and keep you accountable.
3. Ask Questions
As you are building relationships you are asking questions. Lots and lots of questions. Gather as much information you can about what people do, what they like about their roles, what they find challenging, how they all work together and support each other. Just keep on asking questions!
Whenever a client and I are discussing their 90 day transition plan and I bring up asking questions when you need help, I get a “well, of course” look. The thing is that yes it is easy to ask questions when you don’t know the answer. At first. But usually 2-4 weeks into our new roles the act of asking for help becomes harder. We feel like we should know it already, or that we are a burden. So then we stumble and struggle our way through it. We go down the path of setting ourselves up for failure instead of the one that sets us up for success.
That is why building relationships is key as it helps deal with this very issue. If we have created a relationship with someone who we know wants us to succeed we feel less like a burden.
I hate to ask for help, I always want to figure it out on my own. I have learned the hard way why this is such a problem. So when starting new jobs I had a system. I would first do everything in my power to find the answer myself. Then I would go to my most trusted peer. And then if they couldn’t help me I would go to my boss. And I made sure to communicate my attempts at solving the problem first.
Prepare yourself to ask questions the WHOLE time you are in the job!
4. Live and Breathe the Culture
Every company is different. It has its own culture and its own personality. So while you are asking all those questions and building those relationships and getting to know the business inside and out, get to know the culture too. What is important to management? What is their definition of hard work, success and collaboration? What is their communication style (emails, memos, meetings)?
Think about how you can integrate this information into how you work such as how you prioritize how to get work done, how you display your own hard work and talk about your successes and how you write emails.
5. Begin with the end in mind
This is a habit of highly successful people. And I always talk about incorporating it into your 90 day transition plan.
For example, say you are moving jobs because you want a better work/life balance and you want to avoid 10-12 hour days. I know when we are first starting out in a new role and we are doing all of the above plus learning how to do the job that it is easy to get in the habit of long work days. But then that habit is really hard to break. On top of that, you are setting expectations. Everyone will get used to you working those long hours so if you do try and break the habit it becomes noticeable and then you may get a bad reputation.
Now I’m not saying to phone it in. If you need that time to get properly on boarded then take it. BUT when it comes to after hours work – try your best to take it home and stay off of email. You are doing the work of learning the role and the company but you are doing it without people knowing you are doing it. That way once you are on boarded and start focusing on that work/life balance no one else will notice. And they’ll be so impressed by your learning capabilities too!
6. Anticipate Challenges
I love anticipating challenges. Figuring out what can derail me or upset me. I love it because I hate surprises and I get anxious not knowing how I will handle certain situations. By anticipating challenges and then coming up with solutions I am more equipped to overcome them with ease. Because let’s face it, challenges are inevitable. It isn’t a matter of if but a matter of when. And to set yourself up for success you will think about what those challenges can look like and then you will picture yourself overcoming them and come up with a plan of action from there!
The first 90 days are some of the most important days that you will have in a new role. It creates your foundation of success. So use these 6 tips to build your own transition plan.
I shared some challenges that I have faced in the past above, I’m curious what are some of the ones you have faced?
Read on to the end, I have a FREE challenge to help you save your career change resolution!
For 15 years I had the same News Years Resolution. To find my way to career happiness.
And for 15 years, I never found my way. I failed at my resolution.
There was always a reason, an excuse, a justification that I would tell myself that would make it okay to let those dreams slip away.
Looking back now, I know what the problem really was.
I had no clue what that my dream career looked like. All I knew was that it wasn’t recruitment. It was overwhelming to make such a broad and generalized resolution so it was easy to give up quickly.
That is the problem with resolutions, they are generally broad life changing statements that seem very easy and attainable at the time. But give us a month and 80% of us have quit. Usually because we are nowhere near that “perfect life” we had envisioned for ourselves and we are struggling because it all seems like TOO MUCH to get there.
So we give up. And we hop back on the hamster wheel until the next year when we make those broad generalized resolutions again.
For me, I had tried everything. I chose a word for my year, I set SMART goals, I created project plans. But nothing seemed to work.
Then one year something clicked. I made a resolution to start making bread for our family. That was it. It was simple, clear and specific. More importantly, it was ONE thing and one thing ONLY. And I was successful.
So when the next year rolled around I wanted to recreate that magic for my career change goal. I focused on figuring out what was the ONE thing I could focus on. I dusted off my Job Search Roadmap to give me some guidance and it hit me. I couldn’t find a new career when I didn’t even know what that new career looked like. So my resolution?
To figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
That was it. My goal was to spend a year figuring out what career happiness looked like for me and to see if there was a job that existed that would lead me there.
So that is what I did. I went through 5 steps that led me to where I am today. Living my purpose, waking up excited each and every day and happy with my career.
I want that for you too.
(Note: I have a fun announcement at the end of this post to help you find your way to career happiness too.)
The 5 steps are easy, they took me on a path that anyone can take. They opened up my world to me, got me out of my head and got me moving forward.
1. The Power of Assessments
I redid many of my favourite assessments plus some new ones. I wanted to live my purpose and I had a sense of what that purpose was but wasn’t completely clear about it. The assessments helped give me clarity. Plus, I wanted to know more about how to live my purpose in a way that left me feeling satisfied, played up my strengths and kept me motivated to survive any career change lows.
I spent some time looking in the looking glass by doing a number of self-discovery exercises. These helped me determine what was important to me in terms of what I wanted and what I didn’t want in my new career.
3. Create a Focus
I had gathered a lot of information and now I needed to do something with it – create a targeted list of careers for me to go after. I researched. I talked to people. A LOT of people, conducting informational interviews so that I had the information I needed to make an informed decision.
4. Goal Setting
Once I had an idea of the career I wanted, I then felt comfortable getting started. I set myself up for success by setting goals in a way I knew that would work for me. Namely, flexible and gentle mini goals that focused on what I wanted. Not elaborate project plans or SMART goals that left me exhausted before I even started!
5. My Roadmap
I followed my Job Search Roadmap and prepared myself for the obstacles that I knew were to come. And come they did! Obstacles like fear, money, motivation and support. But I didn’t let them get in my way, because I had a plan to overcome them.
A funny thing happened by creating one small but tangible goal. I ended up finding career happiness that year. That elusive resolution finally became my reality.
I know my success was because I set a simple, clear and specific goal. I went through these 5 steps and by September of that year my career coaching business was born.
My 2019 Resolution.
This year I have another simple, clear and specific goal. To help YOU discover what you want to do when you grow up so that you too can find your way to career happiness.
Which is why I am so excited to announce my first ever challenge.
This is a free challenge for people who know that they want a change but who don’t have complete clarity on what that change looks like.
It is for people who want a completely different career or a simple career pivot. It is for people who want to check to see if they are in the right career. And it is for people who are in the right career but who want to change something about it – like if they should be going after that promotion, change industries or fight for more work/life balance.
The challenge is 5 days long and will cover each of the 5 steps above with a daily training video sent to your email, worksheets to guide you and a Facebook group to surround you with others on the same path.
2019 is YOUR year. Your year to make your New Year’s Resolutions happen. Your year to Find Your Way to Career Happiness.
I can’t wait to get started! Click here to get your free spot!
I remember my first day at my first job out of school, an IT recruiter in a recruitment agency in downtown Toronto. I came home that evening and said to my aunt (I was living with her at the time) that it was a good first day but that I don’t know how I’ll be able to last out the year. That was my plan when I took the job, work for 1 year before trying to get a corporate HR job.
Well I lasted that 1 year. In fact I was there for 4 years and I was laid off. I didn’t leave of my own accord. And I’m still working through the why. I was so unhappy and there were times where I did a halfhearted job search but there was always one reason or another that kept me stuck in that job I hated. And yes there were the practical reasons – job stability, money, career progression but honestly I used those reasons as excuses to ignore the things that I was telling myself. That I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t have time or that I was afraid.
And I know I’m not alone. Throughout my 15 years of experience I have heard many “practical reasons” for staying in a job you hate but upon digging there is always an underlying negative voice that is the real reason. Today I want to talk about the six most common, I’m sure if you are stuck that at least one of these will resonate with you.
1. It’s too late for me.
You have finished your degree, you have had kids, you are over 40, you are close to retirement. You feel that your ship has sailed and that since it is too late that you need to suck it up and be thankful for the job you do have.
Can I tell you something though – it is never too late to change. So what if you have been a teacher for 15 years or just completed a degree in Engineering or only have 5 years left until you are retiring. YOU STILL HAVE TIME. I have clients that are 55 years old and who are done with the jobs that they hate. They want to spend their last years in the workforce doing something they love not something that they are just tolerating. I have clients who have done complete 180s in the career because they realized they had been pursuing someone else’s dream – their parents, society’s and that it is time to start going after their own dreams.
My message to you: YOU STILL HAVE TIME.
2. I am afraid
Change is scary. The unknown is terrifying. The thought of failure is enough to have you quaking in your boots. So you stay, you may say to yourself that there is no guarantee, that the grass is always greener or the whole “devil you know”, all excuses to allow you to succumb to your fear.
Which is exactly what it wants you to do. Our brains don’t like change and fear is the voice that helps keep us in check. So we listen to it because at the end of the day we don’t want it yelling at us. We may think that it is all well and good for other people, that they are different, that they aren’t fearful.
But let me let you in on a secret. We all have fear talking to us, yelling at us to stop. I know fear has a starring role in my life most of the time, not letting it get in my way of joy in my life and career is a constant struggle.
Fear never goes away. That would be like saying we can completely eliminate happiness, sadness or anger from our lives. It just doesn’t happen. But we can change how we respond and react to fear. I know for me, I recognize when fear starts talking. And I calmly welcome it and tell it that no matter what it says that it isn’t going to get in the way of me moving forward. The key is to recognize it because fear is sneaky and it can wear many masks, so you have to be careful!
My message to you: you can’t be brave without fear
3. I am not good enough
Being in a job you hate pulls us into a negative whirlwind of thoughts. The star of the show is typically that you are not worth it, you can’t do it, that you are not good enough or deserving of a job you love.
This thought is like the heaviest of weights we add to our shoulders that we must carry throughout all aspects of our lives. Meaning that it is a dangerous thought, one that has negative impacts. It slows us down on any sort of forward progress, it drains us of all energy and gets in the way of enjoying not just your career and job but your life.
If this is you then surrounding yourself with people who value you, you build you up and who believe in you is a good first step. Finding a cheerleader to stand in your corner, to help lessen the load and to remind you of your worth is key.
My message to you: you are worth it.
4. I don’t have time
Life is busy. Commuting 2+ hours, working 10+ hours, trying to fit in our life obligations (family, friends, etc) leaves us barely enough time to sleep never mind time to figure out what we want and to go after it.
One question I have for those who don’t have time (and a question I often ask myself), is why are you so busy? Overworking and busyness is often a tactic that we use to distract ourselves from our feelings of dissatisfaction, uneasiness and unhappiness. Kind of like emotional eating or shopping or scrolling endlessly through social media – working too many hours may be a coping mechanism that you have so that you don’t have to deal with those feelings.
If that is the case, stop it. Feel those feelings, figure out the thoughts behind those feelings and stop allowing yourself to procrastinate moving towards career happiness by working long hours. Make a commitment to work 30 minutes less each day, 30 minutes that’s it! That is 2.5 hours per week that you can devote to you and your career dreams!
My message to you: carve out some time
5. I’m too stressed
This ties in with the above, when life is busy it often causes us to feel stressed out and overwhelmed so it feel easier to just ignore those feelings and to stay stuck.
I understand, the thought of adding one thing to your growing and never shrinking To Do List is just too overwhelming. It feels impossible, even if it is for something you want.
But we can’t stay stressed forever and when you hate your job that stress is only ever going to get worse. And take it from me, it begins to suffocate you. You feel like you are drowning and that there is no way to be saved.
There is though. Take a mental health day and focus only on you, not on your to do list. And don’t even think about a new job, only focus on how you can reduce your stress load. Like I spoke about on a recent Discover Your Career Q&A – write down all of your problems, brainstorm all types of solutions and then pick one thing. That is it. That momentum will be enough to get you moving.
My message to you: Do 1 thing to reduce stress and start living your life.
6. I don’t know what I want
When we are stuck in jobs we hate, with bills to pay, mouths to feed and constant messages from family, friends and society about what our careers should look like, it can be really hard to know what we want.
Think back to high school, what was the message you heard? I know for me, at my high school, there were only a few career options that were ever discussed. A trade if you didn’t do too well in school, a teacher if you liked school, a lawyer or doctor if you were smart and maybe business in some capacity. 5 career options, that’s it.
But that isn’t the world we are in, especially now with careers that didn’t exist before and the internet allowing us to create niche jobs that you couldn’t otherwise create. So the world is literally your oyster.
There are a few things you can do to figure out what your fulfilling career can look like, some simple questions to ask yourself that gives you direction. Figure out some ideas, talk to others in those roles and narrow it down.
My message to you: self discovery is the answer.
My goal is to help you stop telling these stories to yourself and instead replace them with stories that get you moving instead of staying.
So if you find yourself staying in a job you hate because you are telling yourself 1 (or more!) of these 6 things then it might be time to talk to someone.
A free Discover Your Career strategy call is 20-30 minutes long where we talk about where you are now and where you want to go and how to get there. It is an easy 1 thing to do! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule yours.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
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