Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's Finally Over - You Got The Job

Imagine that great feeling when the long weeks or months of search finally draw to a close. When all the scanning of job boards, networking, teleconferencing, writing, research, travel and interviews are behind you. You passed the rigorous HR screening and all the interviews went well. Happily, all your references check out and an offer is extended. It is a good one, the job you always wanted so you accept. You breath a huge sigh of relief and can finally relax. Right?

Well, this may be the end of one journey but it is only the beginning of another, hopefully even longer one.

Remember all those accomplishments you touted, and all that skill and knowledge you said you had? The interviews were easy because you only had to talk about them. Now you have to put them all into practice. Of course, you were honest and gave a fair and true accounting of your history. Still, as they say in financial reports, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. You may be faced with an even steeper hill to climb.

When my children were younger they complained, as children often do, about school, their teachers, homework and tests. They especially dislike tests and, in particular, midterms and finals. My advice to them was to relax because this part of life is easy. You study hard, learn the material, take the test and move on.

In real life, I told them, every day is a final exam. There are no study guides. No one tells you what will be on the test, and there are only two grades. You either pass or fail. Often, there is a lot more at stake than just having to take the test over or, heaven forbid, failing the class. In life, bad outcomes can lead to much more severe consequences.

So it is when you have a new job. You can only guess what new problems or opportunities each day will bring. You are confident and expect the knowledge and experience you have will be sufficient to address problems and lead to success. But you must maintain the same level of determination you had when you were trying to get the job.

Continuously probe and learn more about the company and its people. Build an organization chart and develop relationships with everyone below, above and at your level. Understand the business and apply your skills to make it a better place for the employees to work and to improve the experience for customers.

As Yogi Berra once famously said, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Captain Joe

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