You are sitting alone in your office or in a meeting room full of strangers on the first day or during the first week of working in your long-awaited and much deserved dream job. All of a sudden, you are shocked to realize that what looked and sounded so right in the words of the job description, recruiter, interviewers and offer letter now seems so wrong. Have you made a terrible mistake? Is this role the right fit for you? Have you bitten off more than you can chew? What do you do now? Before you allow the waves of fear, panic and anxiety to overwhelm you, diminish your self-esteem and self-confidence and cause you to make a hasty decision that you might soon regret, take a deep breath, calm down and shift your mind to focusing on working through the following five thoughts.
First, this is your first day or your first week in a new role and culture with new people, expectations and responsibilities. Whether you have transferred to a new role or area in your current organization or have moved to a new organization, there will be a steep or gentle learning curve that you will have to master with ease and speed. You are already familiar and comfortable with a particular workplace language with its terms and acronyms, a preferred mode of communication be it text, e-mail, phone or in-person and a process for getting things done either the modern way of outlining what is required in lengthy e-mails or using the more traditional method of team or one-to-one meetings. Rather than expecting everyone to adapt to your ways, you may want to use the luxury of your newness to take a step back and survey the best people and practices and how they contribute to prosperity and productivity. This will also give you the opportunity to get to know your people and their language, culture, challenges, expectations, responsibilities and for them to get to know all about you. Avoid letting them see you sweat and be warm, friendly and approachable. Allow two weeks to do the initial fact-finding, culture and language learning and relationship building.
Second, as part of your due diligence, you can start to understand if the job is wrong for you, you are wrong for the job or you and the job are right for each other and you are just going through an adjustment phase. If you see yourself as an expert and the best at what you do, being a newbie or a beginner and not having all of the answers at your fingertips can be a scary prospect. At this point, you should be asking questions rather than providing answers. Your chance to provide the answers will come soon enough. You may be feeling uncomfortable because you have not yet established your rhythm and routine for this role. Give yourself the chance to observe and learn so you can build a rhythm and a routine that will result in success for you, your people and the organization. There is a reason why organizations have a 90-day probation period whether it is obvious or obscure. This benefits both you and the organization. They are getting to know you and seeing what you can do and you are showing them what you can do and seeing how much they value it.
Third, recognize that starting a new role professionally is like starting a new relationship personally whether it is a romance or a friendship. The honeymoon period may end on the first day or in the first week, or if you are very fortunate, it will last for several months. Eventually, reality will set in and you must be prepared to deal with it.
Fourth, the role may change due to circumstances beyond your control. Embrace the change and see where it leads. The individual that you are reporting to or who may have been the reason that you made the move to take this role may decide to leave the team or the organization within the first few months of your arrival. Stay put and see what opportunities this might bring you.
Fifth, accept that moving from job to job or staying in a role for less than two years especially in the middle or latter stages of your career can be a big red flag that shows a lack of continuity, consistency and commitment.
Finally, be honest and clear about what you can do for the role and what the role can do for you in the short-term and in the long-term. Do and be your very best every day. You may find that this is the best career move that you have ever made and that this role fits you better than any role in your career so far. So, if you are new in a role and it starts to seem wrong, be patient, proactive and positive. Soon what seems so very wrong will start to be so very right.