Reflections on Year Negative One | HR Fishbowl

Written on September 16, 2011 by Charlie in Appreciation, Career

I uprooted my family a year ago to follow a job opportunity up to Chicago. I was looking for a new gig, it was a good one, and we knew we always wanted to get back up here anyway. It was a bad time to sell a house and a good time to buy one. After working for one company for the first thirteen years of my career, I somehow found myself moving on to my third employer in six years. Believe me: it wasn’t me, it was them. So it goes without saying that I was particularly careful about this jump. And now that I am one year older and wiser, I thought I’d share some of my reflections on new employment.

  • When you start your job, you aren’t starting from zero. You’re starting from negative one. After one year, you’re at zero. Trust me on this.
  • The first day of a new job is never quite like the first day of school…but it can be close.
  • It doesn’t matter how well you think you know a prospective employer; you’ll never know that employer as well as you probably should.
  • It doesn’t matter how well an organization thinks they know you as a prospective hire; they’ll never know you as well as they probably should.
  • A successful career is neither made nor broken in a years time.
  • 90% of your success in getting up a steep learning curve hinges on your efforts…no one else’s.
  • Take some time just to look around and let it sink in. Be a sponge.
  • You kind of get a free pass in the first year…don’t waste it.
  • You probably think you’re the best hire that organization ever made; they probably think you’re a pretty good hire and that’s about it.
  • Institutional knowledge goes a long way. You don’t and can’t have much of it yet. You have to earn it.
  • As much as they may tell you they want you to “shake things up,” you must only shake slightly in that first year. In fact, don’t shake at all…just jiggle a bit.
  • You should spend as much time learning about what it is other people do than you should about what it is you’re supposed to do.
  • Don’t label your friends and enemies too quickly because one may very well become the other.
  • Learning to love a job is pretty much what it’s like learning to love your spouse after an arranged marriage (I imagine).
  • You can’t possibly have solved the organization’s woes in one year. You just can’t.
  • Have some fun, smile a lot, and shake a bunch of hands.
  • A year goes pretty damn fast.

If my employer is watching, I hope they know I feel very fortunate that they found it worth their hard earned cash to bring me on board. But don’t get used to this kind of flattery.

Image Credit: svenwerk (via Compfight)

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