A month ago today we welcomed Melissa Bank Stepno to the HBG team, and (no surprise, if you know her), Melissa hit the ground running. Melissa is the new Vice President of Data Insight Consulting as well as the Managing Director of DAFinitive®, our online donor advised fund research tool. Four weeks in and already she’s brought new insight of her own and (good) change to things that needed a fresh look from a new perspective . This week we welcome Melissa to The Intelligent Edge to share her fresh perspective on starting a new job. Welcome, Melissa! ~Helen
Congratulations! You have accepted your offer letter and you are starting a new job. Day One is here!
How are you feeling? Excited? Nervous? Confident? Overwhelmed? All of these are normal emotions.
You are also not alone.
In fact, according to a PwC study released in June 2023, 25% of workers expect to change jobs within the next year. This may come as no surprise to those of us who have heard the phrase “Great Resignation” explode into our lexicon over the past couple of years or to those of us who follow the news stories of so many industries reducing their workforce and forcing additional folks into the job market.
Of course, a job change typically requires a job search. The good news is that the job market in our industry is hot right now! As of the writing of this article, Apra has over 200 job postings listed on its career center and AFP’s career center has yet an additional 200 listed on its site. This, of course, doesn’t count the myriad of other channels used to identify open positions such as LinkedIn job postings, listservs, and word of mouth through your professional network.
There are a plethora of resources available for job seekers but less seems to be said about how to be successful as you approach your first day. That’s where this post comes in.
Exactly one month prior to the date of this post being published, I started my latest career adventure. I am thrilled to now be part of the HBG family! And, I thought that for this blog post I would share my thoughts on how to make your next career transition a success:
0. Ground Zero – if you are in the middle of a job transition, or planning for one in the future, the biggest piece of advice that I can offer is to take a break. Wrapping up your current position on a Friday and starting your next job the following Monday is not ideal. Give yourself time and space to clear your head, rest and reflect. Whether you can spare just a longer weekend, a full week or a few months, you’ll assure that you arrive for Day One renewed and refreshed.
1. The Best Laid Plans – Your new employer might have a standard training and onboarding plan ready for you when you arrive. If so, that’s great! It is likely well thought out, vetted and (hopefully) tested by others who onboarded before you. But it still might not be 100% complete. It’s also possible that your employer does not have a plan ready for you. In either case I highly recommend creating, or adapting, a plan specific for your role and your past experience. Keep in mind too that your needs might be slightly differently than the last person who was hired.
An ideal plan is more than just tactical orientation. It should focus on specific goals and milestones. Ask, and confirm, what is expected of you over your first week? 30 days? 90 days? Your manager should be able to articulate how they will assess your success over time.
Working with both your manager and a peer to create your plan is important too. Even with good intentions, your manager might miss something that a peer knows is important for your role and responsibilities. Many organizations even have a formal Buddy program where you will officially be paired with someone who is your peer – someone who you can ask those really important but seemingly stupid questions that you don’t want to ask your manager. Sometimes, these informal learning opportunities can be even more helpful than your formal training plan!
2. Patience is a Virtue – Once you are ready to dive into your training and onboarding plan, give yourself time to get situated and organized. It takes longer than you might remember to set up your new laptop, establish all of your necessary logins and credentials, finalize HR “paperwork” and the like. Also be sure to ask for a full list of tools and documents that you will need access to accomplish your responsibilities.
Your first few days may not be filled with glamorous work. In fact, you may feel unproductive and disorganized at times. That’s okay! Taking care of all of these items now will assure smooth sailing for the long term.
3. Be Confident and Be Kind to Yourself – Once again, congratulations – you are starting a new job! Maybe Imposter Syndrome is kicking in and you are thinking: “can I do this?” Yes! You Can. You were hired for a reason and likely beat out other candidates. Your new manager has confidence in your abilities so you should have confidence in yourself too. For some added inspiration on this topic, see my colleague Michelle Hart’s post from a couple months ago here: https://www.helenbrowngroup.com/is-it-imposter-syndrome-or-lack-of-confidence-i-cant-even-choose-right-now/
Even if you have a few slip-ups early on – and you are likely to – remember that everyone will make mistakes. It is how you bounce back and learn from those mistakes that matters most!
4. Rely on the Generosity of Others – we are lucky to work in a collaborative industry. While some of us might be competitive, we also have a strong sense of community. Take advantage of this! Many of your peers, both internally at your new organization and externally within the community at large, will want to see you be successful and help you along your journey. Many might even be paying it forward because someone helped them when they started their current job. Ask questions. Lots of them! Listen to guidance and advice. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to my new HBG family for helping me over the past 30 days! And, I’ll fully admit that I’ve already cashed in some favors from my own professional network.
Let’s pretend it’s a few weeks or months since you started your new career adventure. You are feeling settled. You are in a rhythm. You are thinking: “I’ve got this!” Remember to pay it forward too. At the end of the day, this is what this blog post is about. Yes, I’m still learning and yes, I will still make mistakes. But, hopefully I have learned a few things that might help some of you too!