Congratulations on getting your job. Having gone through all the hoops of application, interview, contract negotiation, you have landed yourself right here. A new job is an opportunity to redefine your brand, especially in a new workplace. You can define who you want to be and be that person in a new place without the baggage of people who expect you to act a certain way. It is an opportunity to correct the mistakes you might have made in your previous job (such as not setting boundaries, playing small, etc.)
- Be intentional
The first thing that you need to remember is to be intentional about what you are doing in this job and how this job fits into your overall career path. If you have not yet created that plan, I will link the free career roadmap to help you map out what you want your career path to look. Assuming that you have already mapped out the plan, you fully grasp which stage your current role plays in your overall career path. It might be the ultimate job that leads to your retirement or a stepping stone to your dream job, or a role that helps you can transition to an industry of your choice.
Having clarity about why you are in that role will help you when the job gets tough. The newness of the job fades, your expenses swallow the increases in your salary, and your colleagues are showing their true colours. When you start wondering if this was the right choice and start disengaging from the job, it will help to know precisely why you are there.
2. Set a time frame
It helps to define how many years it will take to achieve the career objective that you have set for this job and future jobs along your career path. In my opinion, between 3 to 5 years is the longest a person should stay in a position. Otherwise, one stops learning and becomes stagnant, unless the industry you are in keeps changing and allows you to keep learning and growing. The 3-to-5-years rule does not include toxic environments that negatively impact your mental health. If you are in a toxic workplace and have done what you can to try and resolve that situation, please make a plan and leave.
3. Be a brand
The next thing to remember is that you are a brand. View yourself more like a service provider than just an employee. A service provider in the sense that you are servicing a client and you care about your output. Show that you strive to live up to your brand and live up to the brand values. This attitude will also help you when disillusionment with the company sets in. You are going to remember that no matter how you feel, you have to ensure that you are true to the brand that you have defined for yourself.
4. Learn, learn, learn
Your first few months are a time to immerse yourself in learning and understanding the company. You will start with the macro analysis, then the industry, the actual company, the culture, the power structures, your departmental mandate, company policies and procedures. You want to understand what is crucial for your department, for the CEO and the board. This knowledge will broaden your impact and influence in the company quickly. Understanding the culture and the power dynamics will keep you from making mistakes that new people make. You do want to impress, but you do not want to go against the workplace culture too much before you understand it and are intentional about what you are doing and why you are doing it.
5. Put in the time and set your boundaries
Never forget that getting to a workplace, you might have to work a lot harder than you usually would because you are trying to catch up on your understanding of the company, the workflow and your colleagues. You are building relationships and creating trust. However, be careful not to pitch yourself as an over performer who doesn’t have boundaries. As much as you want to impress, you don’t want to set yourself up as someone who takes on everything and is willing to work crazy hours to get the job done. Better to under-promise and over-deliver than set yourself up as a miracle worker, unless that appeals to you.
The pandemic has shown us all that burnout is a real challenge that has emphasized the importance of sustaining our mental health. As black women we have to be careful to not let the stereotypes of the ‘StrongBlackwoman’ and the ‘GoodGirlSyndrome’ trap us into overworking and burning ourselves out to prove we are worthy of a seat on the table .
Click below for a free copy of the Career Roadmap Workbook to help define your career journey: https://blackwomenintheworkplace.ck.page/d0d516aa48