Setting up for success in your new job – part 1

JULIE CHASE | SEPTEMBER 17, 2020

Congratulations you got the offer, which is an accomplishment in itself! Now it’s time to lay the foundation for phenomenal success in your new job. 

I’m going to share tips on how to set yourself up for success in two parts. This article will focus on what you can do before you start your job and the next article will focus on what you can do on the job, including best practices on ramping up in this fully remote world. 

Let’s start at the time in between your two jobs. Hopefully, you’ve negotiated 1-2 weeks off. The best time in the world is the time in between jobs. Just like summer vacations as a student, you don’t have any work to do. You can unwind, reflect and reset.

Rest & Unwind

Are you burned out from your job? Did you go above and beyond to wrap things up and transition work to colleagues? You probably need time to unwind and rest so you can recharge your mental, emotional and physical state. The best thing you can do is catch up on sleep, spend quality time with family and friends, and do the things you love to do. Having fun will center and energize you. 

It’s also a great time to adopt new healthy habits. Start a daily practice of meditation (even if just 10 minutes), journaling, exercising, reading and getting enough sleep 🙂

Prioritizing your to dos

One of the first things most people do is make a list of all the things they want to do during this “free time.” While we all have the best intentions, we often set ourselves up for disappointment by committing ourselves to accomplishing a laundry list of projects. This is the time to be strategic with your to do list. Here’s what I recommend: 

  • Do a braindump of everything you want to do
  • Organize into categories: do, delegate, delay or delete
  • Take the “do” list, rank them and decide what one, two or three things you will tackle
  • Then make a plan and block time on your calendar to work on them

Another key tip is to clear your calendar for the first month of your new job. Remove any non-essential appointments, social events, etc. Starting a new job is exhausting. The more time you give to yourself to rest and recover, the more you’ll be able to show up as your best self. 

Reflect & draw actionable insights

This is the perfect time to look back on your last job and make a list of: 

  • What you liked and disliked doing 
  • Your accomplishments and mistakes (remember mistakes aren’t failures if you learn from them)
  • What you could’ve done differently/better with work and with people
  • What you were told you could improve on
  • What you gained and learned

Understand what was under your control (like your reactions and decisions) and determine what you’d like to do differently and better in your new job. Think about the steps you can take to change your actions and behaviors. Think about colleagues who you admired and role modeled strong leadership in difficult situations. Read a book on one of the areas you’d like to improve.

One common theme I hear from clients is they’d like to set better boundaries. Many are high achievers and get into a pattern of taking on too much and being the go-to person for the work that no one else wants to take on. At some point they’re working long weeks and feeling resentful. 

A new job gives you the opportunity to establish healthy boundaries. You get to set clear expectations of what you’ll do and not do and be realistic with timelines. If you need help or inspiration, check out one of Brené Brown’s books, videos or Netflix documentary — she’s the queen of healthy boundary setting.

Set intentions

I work with a wide range of leaders, from individual contributors who lead cross-functional initiatives to C-Level executives. No matter the level, there are limiting beliefs that plague most people including self doubt. All of them ask this question, “Can I do this job?” Even when they have an incredible track record and feel confident about their past work, there’s part of them that questions whether or not they can actually do this new job.

Here are a few things that will help reinforce your belief in yourself and be successful in your new role: 

  • Set intentions: write down what’s most important to you, which may be leading your organization to accomplish its objectives, building a collaborative and empathetic culture to empower people to do their best work or driving innovation and transformation. It could also be more personal about showing up as your best self to inspire others to do the same. 
  • Write your new story: write down what this new job looks and feels like. Include things like the new opportunities you have, the kinds of things you’re learning, how you’re growing and the impact you’re making. Also think about the types of people you work with, the relationships you’ve built and how this has positively impacted your personal life.Read it often — it’s a great practice to keep it at your nightstand so you can read it every morning and evening. 
  • Say affirmations: as cheesy as this seems, this practice is wholly effective. Our thoughts are powerful. Affirmations help shape our subconscious and conscious thoughts and help reinforce your beliefs about yourself. Say them aloud daily (preferably in front of a mirror), things like “I am confident and resilient” or “I am living my best self every day.”

All of these activities will help ground you in what’s most important to you as you start your job and help you visualize being successful. 

My final piece of advice is to stick to a normal sleep schedule so you don’t have to make a big adjustment when you start your new job. Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll focus on how to ramp up effectively and build strong relationships with your new colleagues. 

Are you looking for help in your job search to land a job that you’ll love and thrive in? 

If so, then watch our video and book a session with one of our job strategists. We’re excited to learn about your career goals and share insights.