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Transitioning to your new job

Carole Nicolaides -- Whether you're moving from school to work, changing companies or staying at the same firm but assuming a new role, changing positions is never an easy process. It takes time and effort. Often times you can catch yourself feeling trapped.

Did you ever know anyone who was brilliant and intelligent? But then they assumed a new role and (for whatever reason) portrayed a not-so-good image? The stress of a job transition can be enormous. However, perception is reality. The way you behave, talk, make a decision or dress is an impression that most people will remember you by until the last day on the job. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when your new job comes through. These will help you make a smooth transition, and an overwhelmingly good impression!

1. Take it easy. Many people try too hard their first weeks. Everyone wants to impress their new boss and coworkers. And people will be impressed -- if you're human, compassionate and listen to them. Rather than making every effort to appear to be a "Super Employee"... relax. Anxiety is the cause of many new job mistakes.

2. Figure out the key players of the organization. Sometimes this is overlooked. People tend to think in terms of formal chains-of-command that have a direct influence on the company. However, informal communities within the company often carry more influence than the formal networks. There are always several people in the office who are "in the know." Your success may lie in finding out which ones know so much and which ones know someone.

3. Avoid the trap of the gossip mill. Many people look forward to new employees arriving. After all, that means there's a new ear who hasn't heard all the old stories yet. Decide, before your new position starts, that you will be cordial but will not allow yourself to be labeled as a gossip. By heading such behavior off at the pass, you’re avoiding becoming involved in something you'll later regret.

4. Remember not everyone will like you. It's impractical to think that everyone at your new company will like you. Unfortunately, there are many people who don't care for a new employee simply because he or she is new. If you find yourself facing an unsupportive coworker, ignore it if possible. By not allowing yourself to be swayed by unprofessional behavior, you might actually win the person over.

5. Create partnerships. Successful leaders from a variety of industries have one thing in common- they are wonderful networking gurus. They get to know people very quickly and engage them in their activities. Don't be afraid of asking for help. People will provide you with ideas and suggestions that you have not even thought of, and relationships will begin to bloom.

6. Use all your energy to focus on the right things. Before beginning a new position, make a plan of what you hope to accomplish. Perhaps you want to lead large projects or earn two promotions during your first year. Whatever your goals, make sure every ounce of effort you use is somehow related to achieving them.

7. You have to become visible in your first few months. People need to know who you are and why you were hired. Decide, right from the beginning, how you would like to be "branded." Next, take steps to help yourself become known by the brand you've chosen. Perhaps you can go to meetings or luncheons, write an article for the company newsletter or send out emails. Whichever path you choose, visibility will help you to make a name for yourself.

8. Take extremely good care of yourself. I know... most people are so busy during the beginning phases of a new job that they don't consider self-care as a priority. However, the stress of a new position can quickly take over. During this transition be sure to take every opportunity to care for you! You'll want to be perceived as a well-rounded person that enjoys success on the job, and off.

Carole Nicolaides is President of Knowledge Innovation Group offering business & personal coaching/consulting in Knowledge Management and Leadership Development.

(c) 2002 CareerBuilder.com

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.