I left my present job, which was stable but had limited opportunities, and went to a larger company that is so different. I think I’ve made a mistake.
This was a frantic call I received from a project manager who’s dealing with buyer’s remorse. It seemed like the best job ever. The money was good and the benefits great.
But a dream job can turn into a nightmare if you haven’t checked out the company’s culture before joining it. The career challenge of moving into a new organization is like moving to a new country — you need to learn the language, connect with the people and know the do’s and the don’ts of appropriate behavior.
Advice from a job changer
Mary, wanting to be in senior management at a large metropolitan hospital, realized she will need to change jobs, each one with increased responsibility. This probably means moving from one hospital to another. She makes it a habit to take several steps when she applies for a position and after she accepts it.
During the interview she asks:
- What skills and behaviors will be successful here?
- What is the average tenure of your employees?
- How does the company define success for itself?
- How would you describe the corporate culture?
Once in the position, she advises:
- Do not assume that what made you successful in one company will work, even within the same industry.
- Ask a lot of questions — of your manager, of your peers, of whomever is willing to help you.
- Ask for expectations in terms of output, time, and content for all work assignments.
- Develop a glossary of company buzz words and phrases so that you, too, can sound like an old hand.
- Find the best possible guide to the company, someone who has been around forever and knows how everything works.
Career Success Tip
On-boarding is one of several career challenges you may face. Successful transition into a new organization or a new position requires a quick understanding and adaptation to a new culture, new people and a new political arena. So don’t jump ship yet. Rather focus on learning the new ways of working.
Do you want to develop Career Smarts?
- For more resources, see the Library topic Career Management.
- Start with the Career Success System.
- Sign up for Career Power: 101 success tips.
- Fast track your career. Be part of a Success Team.
- Need a speaker? Get the Edge Keynotes-webinars-workshops.
- Find career and leadership boosters in the Smart Moves Blog.
- Copyright © 2011 Marcia Zidle career and leadership coach.