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Albertus Angga Raharja
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On First Week (at a New Job)

2 min read

Personal tips that worked to help me during my first week in new job or internships

I've just finished my first week at Stripe. In this post I would like to share my personal reflections and advices that would have helped me a lot if I were to know it earlier in my career.

Like everyone else, we usually came into the job with excitement and some expectation. A new manager, new teammates, new job responsibility, and so on and so forth. This expectation also applies both ways. We come into the new job with expectations, and the manager (and also the company) also has expectations for us when we just joined.

This expectation, if misaligned, could make your first several weeks feels hard and at worst can end up in bad performance and termination. For example, I was the type that comes into a new job with an expectation about my ideal manager/mentor figure: a caring manager/mentor that would once in awhile check-up on me and make sure if I'm doing okay. Though, unfortunately after 5 internships + 1 new grad jobs, that ideals never seems to be the reality. My new managers and mentors are usually too busy to be handholding me, which is okay and makes sense.

Here are my learnings and some tips that would have helped me a lot if I were to apply it earlier.

Managing Expectations

Set your expectations right and align your expectations with the company's and your manager's expectations. Do this in the first week, and if possible, the first day. The earlier the better.

Do not set your expectations too high. Be okay with not knowing anything. Accept the fact that it takes times for new hires to ramp up and be productive.

Don't compare and pace yourself

Comparison is the killer of joy. Don't compare yourself with anyone in the company, this also includes someone else who also joined at the same time of you. Everyone has different pace and speed and it's completely okay.

Your career is not a sprint. It's a marathon. So it's really important to pace yourself to avoid early burnouts. It's really tough when you are burnt out.

Being Proactive

Instead of complaining for your busy manager, unwelcoming teams, bad documentations, and stuffs, I find it easier when I take the initiatives on my own to overcome my unhappiness.

Your manager didn't schedule 1:1s with you yet? Then talk to them and initiate it. Chances are they are too busy with their project and your other teammates and they would really appreciate you being proactive and initiating it.

Feeling like you don't belong to the team? Reach out to each of the member, take a short time out of their calendars to get to know them. Maybe their hands are currently too full with their project to notice a new member joining the team.

See unupdated documentation which is no longer valid? Reach out to the team and tell them your problems. It might have been so long since a new hire joined and the owner of the documentation haven't got the time to update it yet.

Closing

The key of the first several weeks of a new job is to focus on unblocking yourself. Things like scheduling routine 1:1 with your managers, spending the time to get to know your teammates might seems like a cost of time, but I would like to think of it as an investment that would help me to unblock myself and my teammates in the longer term as well.

While being proactive is a very good thing, it can be a double-edged sword that drains you out. Figuring out the middle between being proactive and pacing yourself is also something that I'm still trying until now.

That's it for me now. I'll update this page if I find different tips that would be useful :)

Disclaimer:
All writings here are my own and do not represent any of my current and past employer.
© 2021 by Albertus Angga Raharja. All Rights Reserved.

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