How to Ace the First 90 Days of a New Job

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You mastered the interview, landed the new role, and now it's time to dig in and get to work. First, you'll need to memorize names and procedures while also figuring out what it is you do, exactly. Here's how to set yourself up for success to ensure the first few weeks and month are smooth sailing.

Introduce Yourself

While some companies have very specific first-week procedures involving formal introductions, ensuring your entire team learns your life history over coffee, others are far less formal. If you find yourself at an empty desk without a lunch buddy, take a walk through the office and say hello. Let people know who are you, what your role is, and what makes you tick (but be succinct). Invite yourself to informal gatherings and coffee runs, and raise your hand to be part of social initiatives. It will make your first few months far less awkward and you'll likely end up with new friends that remain close outside of office hours, too.

Ask Questions

But be deliberate and thoughtful about who you ask and when. Coming into a new role can be anxiety-inducing as you adapt to office culture and workload, while also trying to produce top-notch work. But it's not always as easy as simply sitting down at your desk and getting things done. There are often roadblocks you'll need to maneuver before you can even get started. Be on the lookout for these situations and pipe up immediately if you have questions.

  • Company-specific language and acronyms. If your manager and co-worker seem to be speaking a foreign language, stop and ask them to take a step back to explain what the phrase or abbreviation means.

  • Important rules. One company might not care if you arrive at 8:30 or 9:30 in the morning, as long as your work gets done, while others want everyone at their desk at a specific time. Be sure to talk to your manager about what procedures are mere suggestions, and which ones are deal breakers that need to be closely followed.

Find a Work Buddy

Whether one is officially assigned to you or not as part of the onboarding process, be sure to buddy up to someone who can show you the ropes and walk you through the more nuanced aspects of the office. It will help you feel at ease more quickly and provide a go-to resource for everything from basic questions about the printer (why are they always so complicated!) to straight talk about team politics or other potential pitfalls.

Create a Routine

Once you complete your first few days of orientation, get settled, and learn all your new passwords and assignments, pay attention to the rhythm of the office and workload throughout the day. Then create a schedule. If meetings are normal all afternoon, be sure to leave time in the morning to tick off to-do items. Do folks typically leave the office for lunch, or do they snack on a sandwich at their desks? Once you get a feel for how the day flows, you can better plan your work around other deadlines or team schedules.


About the Author

Kristin Amico is a career and business writer who spent more than a decade managing creative teams at digital agencies. She has written for The Muse, The Independent and USA Today.