Job Choices 2012 - Science - (Page 48)
Learn the art of being new
Like it or not, you’re going to be the “new kid” at work. It’s hard to overstate the importance of understanding how big a role “being new” plays in everything that happens. Most new hires I’ve talked to don’t really enjoy being new. But just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Learn the art of being new. The more you understand about being new and the better you become at acting like a new employee, the better off you’ll be in the long run. This is contrary to traditional thinking, which says you need to stop acting like a new employee as quickly as possible. Effective new employees understand the importance of the transition period. They accept their role as the newcomer, and attack the tasks of learning the organization and getting accepted with vigor. Every organization has its rites of passage before you can become a full member of the team. You’ll have to pay your dues—just as everyone before you has while earning their places in the system.
are from what they had expected—how much more pressure they feel, how many extra hours they work, how unexpected the types of tasks are that they must perform. Most employers are frustrated with the naive expectations of new graduates, so you’ll score lots of points if you keep yours realistic.
Become a savvy subordinate
The single most important person in your ﬁrst year of work is your new boss. It’s likely that your relationship with your boss is unlike any you have had in the past. You have to be sure that what you do supports your boss. It is your boss who sets the agenda. Learn what your boss wants, needs, and expects— and then do it. Bring your boss solutions, not problems. If you make your boss look good, you will succeed. Most of all, remember that it takes skill to be a good subordinate; you can’t become a good leader until you’ve learned to be a good follower. Remember, too, that a bad boss is not a legitimate excuse for a poor performance.
Manage your expectations
A major frustration of many new graduates after being on the job a short time is that their expectations are not met. Frustration is nothing more than the difference between expectations and reality. If you work at keeping your expectations realistic, you won’t be disappointed. Expect to be surprised:The odds are that many things about your job won’t be what you expect them to be. It’s important to remember that the image the recruiter painted of the company is probably a bit too rosy. And it’s doubtful you’ll receive the same attention from others in the company that you did while being recruited. The reality of your first job is that it probably won’t be nearly as glamorous, as important, or as high level as you thought. You can’t expect everyone in the company to drop what they are doing just to help you. The way decisions are made won’t be nearly as logical as you expected, often because of politics. People skills and teamwork will be much more important than you have ever imagined. New graduates often comment on how different the challenges
Once you accept the unique nature of the transition from college to work, it can be lots of fun and a terrific start to a successful career. But remember, it is your
responsibility—not your employer’s—to make the transition a success. The good bosses will help, but it’s your career. Also, you may not like conforming to your new employer’s culture. In time you will be able to assert your individuality and find your own style. Get yourself accepted by the organization and respected by your colleagues, and become productive, and then—and only then—will you have the right to assert yourself in the organization. That is the art of being new.
Ed Holton, Ed.D., is Jones S. Davis Distinguished Professor of Human Resource, Leadership, and Organization Development at Louisiana State University. He also consults with organizations on organizational entry and career transitions, and has done extensive research on problems and issues new employees face. He is the author of several books, including The Ultimate New Employee Survival Guide: Making the Most of Your Career From Day One, published by Peterson’s Guides and on which this article is based.
48/www.jobchoicesonline.com Job Choices for Science, Engineering, & Technology Students: 2012
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