Finding happiness at a new job
There are numerous articles giving you tips on how to be successful in your job hunt, but very few focus on the much more important aspect of finding happiness at a new job and achieving job satisfaction.
Let’s face it, we spend a substantial percentage of our lives at the work place and therefore it is extremely important that we enjoy what we do.
Many people who are not happy with their new job tend to blame their new boss or colleagues for this. Although there are instances when this is true, many times the reason stems from things that we do wrong either prior to being hired for a new job or else during the first few weeks into a new job.
One of the most important things to remember is that ‘playing well with others’ is an important skill required for any job. We cannot expect others to help us feel welcome if we do not make the effort to integrate with the team. Below, we have listed the key attitudes that we believe are needed for successfully integrating into a new job.
Don’t be a ‘know it all’ and learn to listen. Even if you have a wealth of knowledge and experience, remember that you are still the newbie at the company and still need to learn the way that things are done. We can all learn new things and have to be open and listen to other people’s suggestions. This is especially true when starting out at a new job as otherwise you will be quickly perceived as an arrogant person.
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” – Albert Einstein
Use a genuine ‘Thank You’. We all know how important it is as an employee to receive a thank you from our boss as this will alleviate our moral and help us be more productive in performing our duties. But, remember, that your manager, boss and colleagues are all human beings and also appreciate a thank you once in a while. Do not take people for granted, so for example do make the effort to thank your manager or co-worker for the time they spent to patiently show you how to perform a task.
“Trade your expectations for appreciation and your whole world changes in an instant.” – Tony Robbins
Have a positive attitude and go beyond expectations. If you consider your job as a chore which you need to do on a daily basis, not only will you never achieve happiness but you will rarely have the opportunity to progress in your career. Adopting a can-do-attitude and being willing to go beyond what is required of you will help you achieve satisfaction in what you do, become a team player and earn the respect of your colleagues and your manager. Make sure that you are also willing to spend your personal time to acquire new skills and improve your knowledge. This is an investment in your own future.
“The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.” – Napoleon Hill
Admit when you do a mistake and don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarifications. Although you should have clarified what is expected of you at interview stage, it is important that on your first day you clearly understand the duties that you were hired to perform. This will help you in the direction you will require in the first few weeks into the new job. It is never a sign of weakness to ask for direction or clarification when performing a task as your boss does not want you to waste time performing a task which you have not understood how to properly perform. On the other hand, we all do mistakes. It is important that you never hide behind your mistakes. Make sure that you immediately bring this to the attention of your manager and ask how YOU can solve the mistake. In this way you will be perceived as a person who will take responsibility for their actions. Always make sure you learn from your mistakes so that you will not repeat them
“Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts.” – Nikki Giovanni
Ask for feedback and admit it early on if it’s not a good fit. Although your manager should be checking in with you and giving you feedback on what you are doing well and what you need to improve, in practice managers are often too busy to think about doing this. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback yourself. Ask how your manager perceives your performance so far and what you should be focusing on. Aim to do this 2 weeks into your new job and every now and again after that.
Let’s face it sometimes, even though you try to do your best to make things work, you just can’t seem to fit in. This could be due to an organisational culture that does not match with your beliefs, expectations from the job that were not met or skills that do not match those required by the job. It is therefore very important that during the interview process you are totally honest about your skills and expectations. On average it takes most people around 3 months to become proficient in a new role, so if by that time you are still not sure about your new role you should seriously think what your next step should be.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
Further recommended reading: “Job satisfaction key to happiness, EU study reveals“.