I was sitting in a presentation last week where I heard for the first time a couple of statistics that reinforced to me how important it is that we know how to get off to a quick start as we enter into new jobs or new roles. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, one in four workers are working for a company where they have been employed for less than one year, and more than one in two are working for a company where they have been employed for less than five years.
I suspect that this statistic will change as we look back at the last two years where we have tended to stay in jobs longer given the insecurity in the employment market. Regardless, this level of churn requires that we have the skills honed to make a quick start and establish ourselves in a short time frame. Think about areas to focus on as you take on a new job or even a new role within the company where you are starting new with a new team of people:
- Relationships matter. The early tasks that we are given can get us so engrossed in the work that we forget that we have people around us who are looking to build relationships. Our new manager may want us to establish ourselves through the work, but the teams we work with also want to build up the co-worker bonds that establish you as a person who they can count on and vice-versa.
- That being said, early points on the board are important. The job market has never been, in our life, more competitive than it is right now so being able to accomplish and achieve is more important than ever. Establishing yourself as a performer who can deliver results and exceed expectations is always going to be good.
- Become a great team player. Even beyond relationship building, working on being a great team member early on establishes you as someone who others can depend upon and creates the reputation that you are a positive influence on others in the workplace. To be a great team member it means being willing to sometimes subordinate yourself to support and help others. It may also mean having to carry more weight than others, but even if that is burdensome in the short-term, in the long-run this will pay off in multiples.
- Work like it is a marathon. While the stats show that the tenure within one company will not be long, working and positioning yourself like you are going to be there for the long-haul, for the marathon if you will, can open up possibilities that are closed when the perception is that you are a short-timer. One also never knows when your current job might actually end up being a career role. Thinking like this is the job for the long-run can only be good in a number of ways.
So, as we dig into 2010, which may turn out to be one of the biggest “churn” periods we have ever seen, working on your skills on how to make a quick start with impressionable results and strong relationships being built could be extremely important.