New Job? Five Mistakes We All Make.

When you start a new job, everything is just hunky-dunky. You're in a new office, new boss, new responsibilities, new friends, and hopefully, more money and increased responsibility. Many people expect their boss and company culture will bring them along (like orientation at college) and help them integrate well into the inner workings of their new organization. Not so fast.

Sometimes it actually happens — most of the time, it doesn't. And who's to blame if something goes awry? YOU.

So I've listed five major mistakes that new employees make when they first start a new job.

1. They expect everyone to be nice and 'on their side'.

There are 3 types of people you meet on the job:

  1. Helpers - people who will help you learn the ropes and work with you.

  2. Walking Dead - lifeless people who go about their day; get in the way with complaints/regulations.

  3. Threats - people who actively regard you as a threat; major impediment; try to trip you up.

Stick with the Helpers, disregard the Walking Dead, and keep your eye on the Threats.

2. Your boss will love you forever.

You need to prove yourself to your boss before the initial work honeymoon ends. They usually give you a few weeks to get up to speed and then they want to start seeing results.

Look at it as a good-will savings account. When you're hired, you have a small positive balance. But any mistake, deficiency, or screw-up deducts from your account. Your job is to blast out of the starting gate, make some quick wins, and fill up your new savings account with good-will currency.

3. You can work as hard as you did at your last job.

You have to kick it up a notch at your new job. Come in early, stay late, and attack any project/task with increased vigor.

You are on stage right now and many people are silently grading you. Good first impressions are hard to develop, but bad ones are easy to deliver. Constantly task yourself to deliver more, add quality, and help others.

4. Communication will work perfectly.

When people move to a new job, communication structures are usually completely different from their past gigs. And this is where new hires slip up . . . badly. You need to:

  • Establish clear communication structures with your boss and staff. Schedule regular status meetings with clear agendas.

  • Listen the first few days/weeks at meetings. Get a good feel for how things are done before jumping in with a 'great idea'.

5. Your expectations of success will align with your boss' expectations perfectly.

No, they won't. And this is why so many people are let go in the first 90 days on the job. You need to be crystal clear with your boss about your responsibilities and deliverables. So do this:

  • Develop a 30/60/90 day action plan with your boss. Work with them the first few days to clearly delineate your role, responsibilities, activities, deliverables, and most importantly -- deadlines.

  • Meet each week and track your progress with your action plan. Check off your completed tasks and ask for help with those problem children activities.

  • At the end of 90 days, you and your boss should be ecstatic about your progress since you've been delivering what they asked for. If they aren't, they're bat-shit crazy and it's time to move on.

This is a great tool to keep you and your boss on the same page and ensure there are no surprises that might derail your career.