Starting a New Job on the Right Foot

I’m graduated from college not too long ago but I am fortunate to be starting a new office manager position in a few weeks and want to make the best impression that I can. Any advice on how to start my new job off on the right foot? 

The first few weeks is the time to learn about the people and processes at your new workplace. For success in this and future legal jobs, here are some simple but important steps to take.

  1. Observe, Ask, Listen and Learn
    Prepare for your first day on the job the same way that you prepared for your interviews: Learn as much as you can about the company and its employees, but now from the inside. Instead of immediately jumping in with ideas carried over from your previous legal jobs, take a step back first. When you start a new job, it’s more important to listen and observe than to offer suggestions right away. You should also talk to as many people as you can, including support staff. Ask about:

    • The corporate culture and standards, such as the dress code, conference call protocol and how late people typically stay. 
    • The relationship between your team and other departments or practice groups, including what teams you’ll be working with regularly and any work history between those teams.
    • Any issues or situations where you may need to tread carefully.
    • Who the key players are, what roles they play and how they interact with others.
    • Your manager and your legal team’s preferred communication styles.
       
  2. In It for the Long Haul
    In their eagerness to make a great first impression, some people tend to overdo it. Of course you want to show your boss you’re ready to give 110 percent, but there’s no need to always be the last person to leave or the first to volunteer for every project. That’s a recipe for burnout. As you’re getting up to speed, figure out what are reasonable expectations. You shouldn’t coast through your first few weeks, but do pace yourself as you’re ramping up as in-house counsel at your new company.

  3. Build Relationships
    No one works in a vacuum. Good working relationships with your colleagues will be an important foundation of your new job. Be a team player. Get out of your office. Meet up with colleagues for lunch or drinks after work. This network of friends will be important not only as a source of vital support and assistance, but also to help you learn the unwritten rules and navigate the politics of your new workplace.

  4. Ask for Feedback ... and Help
    As you learn your new role in this or other lawyer jobs, you’ll need to know whether you’re on the right track. But instead of waiting for feedback and suggestions, be proactive. Check in regularly with your boss and make sure you’re meeting expectations. If you are struggling or feel you’re headed in the wrong direction, don’t be afraid to ask for guidance. If you suffer in silence, your manager may assume things are going smoothly for you.

Starting a new position is exciting, but it can also be challenging. You may sometimes even feel you’ve made the wrong choice. But just remember that getting settled in a new job is difficult for everyone. Stick with it, don’t get discouraged — and one day you’ll be the person showing the new hire how things are done.