The other day, someone mentioned that I had been at my new job for a month now and it took me by surprise. With all of the new information I’ve absorbing and everything I have yet to learn, it still feels like I’m on week one. They say time flies, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing to acclimate to the new gig.
1. Meet everybody. And then meet them again.
During one of my first days in the office, one of my teammates was kind of enough to give me a tour and then take me around and introduce me to everyone. And I mean everyone. I must have met over 100 people in a span of an hour. By the end of it, I only remembered to people’s names: the first guy that I met and then a girl named Jack. To save face the next time I see them, I assume that I’ve already met them, but politely ask them to re-introduce themselves.
2. Get to know the business (and the industry).
Before starting my new job, I did as much research as I could on the company. I started with the company website, then read up on recent press releases and news articles. I even took a look at the company’s Wikipedia page, which was a helpful resource for background information and history. As someone completely new to the field, I also subscribed to industry newsletters and bought a few books to read as “homework.” Once I started, I set up meetings with different departments in the company to get a better understanding of what they do and how they each individually support the business. There’s still a lot to learn, but it’s a great place to start.
3. Ask questions – lots of them!
I think there’s an unspoken grace period where you’re allowed to ask anything and everything without sounding stupid (especially if you’re coming into a completely new industry like I am!). I’m trying to learn as much as possible as fast as possible and I really don’t want to waste my time fumbling around in the dark. I’ll reach out to my predecessors (who are, lucky for me, still with the company and just a cubicle away), my director (who has a wealth of institutional knowledge) or fellow newbies (who are probably learning a thing or two from their own teams).
4. Write it all down.
With any new job comes a learning curve and loads of information to absorb. And if you’re anything like me, information overload can make you feel like you have the memory of a fruit fly. I’ve been taking notes like a maniac (Microsoft OneNote is great for categorizing all your notes by topic) so that I can easily refer back to them in the future. To close the loop, I’ll review them after a meeting, highlight any action items and arrange any follow up if necessary.
Talking about your job and how you’re going to do it is all well and good, but the best way to learn is by doing. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty nervous the day that my predecessor fully handed over the reins to me, but in that moment, I felt a sense of ownership. Sure, I’ll still be asking questions and I might make mistakes here and there, but that’s all part of the learning experience. It’s like taking off the training wheels and it feels so good!