30-Day Guide: Survival Of The Fittest Employee

You recently accepted a new job. Now what? Most of you are probably thinking, absolutely nothing. You got the gig, which means you’ve crossed the finish line, right? More often than you think, that assumption has killed new careers before they even began. Hiring managers agree that the first 90 days is the “make it or break it” time for each new hire, and guess what – most companies aren’t going to offer help during this vulnerable time of transition. They’ll expect you to figure it out for yourself and fit seamlessly into their work culture.employee_performance_1500px

Imagine that you’ve been dropped into a foreign land, and you’re forced to quickly get in touch and adapt to your new environment. That’s how every new job feels. Employers might as well roll out a giant banner that says, “Welcome to the land of the unknown” on your first day. You’ve got an incredible opportunity to start fresh and rid yourself of the baggage and mistakes from your past. But with it comes responsibility – you have to learn how to get along with new people and understand company policies before jumping in too fast. At first, you’re only goal is to survive, and, hopefully, gain new skills along the way, but you know you can’t do it alone.


Think logically, not based on emotion. Keeping an even keel can be tough because it’s natural for the human brain to freak out when it doesn’t recognize its surroundings. Consider your new job an adventure rather than viewing it as being thrown into the lion’s den, like you felt on the first day of school years ago. When confronted with challenges, take several deep breaths and think before you act.

Observe the landscape. Take the time to pay close attention to your new work culture. Too often, new hires use old tactics that worked for their last organization, which gets them into trouble when they jump the gun and make proposals too soon, despite pure intentions. While it’s important to think about how you’ll make an impact, it’s also crucial that you have a complete understanding of the dynamics within your new company first, and cater your plans accordingly.

Find nourishment. Learn as much as you can about the industry – products and services offered, clients and partnerships, and competing firms. If you expect to be spoon-fed all the information, you’ll most likely fall behind. Be proactive and go above and beyond to find answers.

Get to know the natives. Make sure you get to know your new colleagues, get a feel for the leadership structure, and understand the policies and procedures your team operates by. Cultivate a relationship with your co-workers before you start dumping your baggage for all to see. As I review  recent placements within our own recruiting division, I’m noticing a pattern emerging.  Many job seekers of today over share way to much, especially when it comes to their personal life.

Needless to say, their personal life is typically drama filled, and they feel the need to use work as their personal dumping ground. Before long, they’re coming in late, missing a day, and they expect their boss and peers to just get it! Make sense? The issue is, regardless of work quality, their personal drama starts to take over. As a result, many colleagues become uncomfortable, and management starts to notice. It’s better to leave it at home and develop your work relationships first.

Adjust your strategy accordingly. The skills and knowledge you bring to your team will depend on your new environment and the challenges it presents. To make a difference early on, you must adjust your “big ideas” to fit your new work environment and catalogue the resources you have in your arsenal to make an action plan.

Align your strategy with the company’s growth plan. When making a plan, the first questions you should be asking yourself is 1) What’s in it for me? And 2) What’s in it for my team? Be sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to big-picture goals, and seek approval from your boss before you launch a formal proposal. However, a common mistake people often make is assuming that only the boss’ opinion matters. After talking with him or her, discuss your plan with your colleagues and be open to their feedback.

Form alliances for the betterment of your team, not just yourself. Enlist the help of your new team members to help you get a lay of the land and fit into the new work culture. By learning quickly, you not only help your own chances for survival, but you’re also promoting collaboration amongst the team. Don’t just assume it’s everyone else’s responsibility to get you on track.

-You can also find this article at Joan’s Career Corner published on The Buffalo News website-


Woman Up ConferenceBuffalo, New York – Joan Graci, a featured speaker, invites you to save the date for the inaugural Woman Up Conference, Tuesday, September 27, at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum. This year will feature a live interview with one of WNY’s most successful and impactful woman, Kim Pegula.

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