You’ve accepted an offer, been through the company’s onboarding program, found your favorite parking spot, and met your teammates. Your new job has officially begun.
As young professionals who accept job offers quickly realize, learning the ropes of a new position extends far beyond the onboarding process.
In 2016, a team of social psychologists partnered with research firm Plasticity Labs to learn about how long it takes for employees to feel comfortable in new jobs. This research, which was later published in Harvard Business Review, revealed that the majority of people didn’t feel comfortable in their jobs until two or three months in. A smaller percentage said that time period was a year or longer.
Don’t look at that adjustment period as a bad thing! It’s actually a golden opportunity for you to grow your knowledge of the company and role, and to really make your position your own. It’s a time to learn and a time to brand yourself.
Whether it takes two months or twelve for you to really feel like you know what you’re doing in your new job, here are three things we recommend focusing on during that time period.
1. Find mentors.
One of the best things you can do in the early stages of your new job is set up 1:1 meetings with people across the company to talk about what you do, what THEY do, and how you can succeed.
Ask your supervisor for the names of people he or she would recommend connecting with. Here are some examples:
- Do you have an interest in developing your analytics chops? Maybe your boss can recommend a data science team member who would be willing to chat with you about how to further hone those skills.
- Is there someone else on your team who is a relatively new employee? Consider grabbing coffee with him or her to learn about the best way to settle into the team.
- Do you want to learn more about corporate social responsibility at your company? See if your boss can give you the name of someone who works in community relations to explain volunteer opportunities at the company.
The possibilities for mentorship are practically endless, and these 1:1 meetings don’t have to be anything fancy. In a future blog post, we’ll give you tips on how to craft an invite for a 1:1 mentorship-style meeting.
“A good mentor can be a bridge between individual and organizational needs, between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards,” says Forbes contributor Naz Beheshti.
And remember that mentorship doesn’t just have to be with people who rank higher than you at the company. Peer mentorship is a great, low-pressure way to learn about the company and how to succeed there, so don’t hesitate to reach out to other young professionals you meet along the way.
2. Ask questions.
Introverted or anxiety-prone young professionals may struggle with this. It can be nerve-wracking to pipe up with questions!
Just remember that your teammates and other people at the company understand that you’re new to the role; not only that, but they expect you to ask plenty of questions.
Ask your questions in a confident, professional, and timely way, and you’ll be respected for it – and you’ll be extending your knowledge of how the company and industry work.
3. Give yourself time to learn.
We Go-Getters can be pretty tough on ourselves sometimes when it comes to the learning curve that accompanies a new job. When adjusting to a new job, you may often put undue pressure on yourself to learn at a faster pace than necessary.
If you find yourself doing this, or get discouraged by the breadth of things you still have to learn, take a step back and look at how far you’ve already come. You nailed the interview, got the job, made it through on boarding, and have already acquired knowledge from your peers. So what if there’s still a lot you have to learn? That’s the exciting thing about being a young professional!
You can’t rush the learning process. So just focus on seeking mentorship, asking questions, and absorbing all the knowledge you can from industry publications. Before you know it, you’ll be a natural at your job and people will be coming to you with questions on how to get established at the company.