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What’s the Hardest Part of Starting a New Job?

Right now, accountants all over this great land are thinking about their careers.

On the one hand, some are reflecting, preparing for the dreadful experience of performance evaluation. Others are preparing to be promoted.  And many are thinking — not without some apprehension — about a new job.

But let's skip all the hemming and hawing about looking for a job; I'm confident most of you will find a new gig that will have you leaping out of bed every morning. Okay, at the very least you won't dread Sunday nights any more.  

Part of the excitement of a new job is the opportunity to make a difference in a place that needs and wants your help. You might recognize these opportunities during the interview process or in your first few weeks.

The hard part, however, is actually adding that value while adjusting to a new environment. Knowing things like, "Avoid Bob before 11 am because it takes him 3 cups of coffee to get going," or "Christina is the keymaster around here. She can get you anything," will help you avoid awkward situations with your new co-workers and also learn how grease the wheels at your new company.   

This morning, I linked to an excellent Fast Company piece on ways to make the most of the first 30 days at a new job. My favorite suggestion being "Find someone whom you can ask all the embarrassing questions."

Before Going Concern, I had a short stint as an analyst for an insurance brokerage. I reported to the COO and right away I learned that his time was precious so in my first couple of months,  I learned more from his assistant than him. She knew everyone and knew how things got done. I could ask her anything, no judgment at all, and it helped me get through that bumpy patch while I adjusted to my boss's schedule and working style.

Personally, I think that's the hardest part of any new job — understanding the people and building the right relationships. Sometimes it can be difficult identifying the people who are helpful and trustworthy rather than the people who act helpful and then turn out to be a gossip or want to use you in some kind of bullshit alliance because they're always feuding with others. More generally, understanding where you fit in and not being overeager is hard too. People have the tendency to wrap themselves up in their day-to-day work so if you seem impatient when they're swamped, that can come off as needy. Then again, you don't want people wondering what it is you do all day.   

And of course there's the coffee situation. It can't be ignored.

What have your biggest concerns been when starting a new job? How did you handle them? Discuss.