How to adjust to a new job in technology, or any new industry
“You won’t really feel like you know what you’re doing until your second year here.”
…is what my coworker told me at my very first job. Two years? It seemed ridiculous. What about this company/industry/job/department would take me so long to understand?
I was naïve and figured out pretty quickly, if you’re being challenged, you might never feel like you know exactly what you’re doing. In the five years since that conversation, I’ve learned the unmistakable value of tenured teammates. They are allies in a new environment. They know the company’s history, culture, clients, strengths and weaknesses. In my most recent role, after two years, I had finally begun to feel like a reliable source. I had valuable relationships with our clients and my peers. I was comfortable and confident—a hand-raiser during meetings, a frequent volunteer for challenging projects and a wealth of new ideas.
Today, I find myself starting a new job in technology, a brand-new industry for me. I hear my former coworker in the back of my head… “two years,”… and start to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Thankfully, with a few years of experience under my belt, I’m a little more equipped to start my career as a marketing associate with SingleStone. Of course, it’s going to be a long journey becoming familiar with all of the new concepts and ideas related to technology and consulting, but doing these key things will help me be more prepared.
Five Tips for Career Transitioners
- Read. Watch. Listen. I’ve always felt vulnerable and underprepared when I’m the only person in the room who doesn’t know what the heck everyone is talking about. Naturally, anyone would feel this way when starting a new job with a new company in an industry they’ve never worked in. One solution? Read, watch and listen to anything and everything that’s related to your company and industry. If you don’t know where to start, ask for guidance from your new colleagues. Be a sponge! Familiarity and confidence will come with time.
- Join groups. We’re lucky that networking has evolved into more than grabbing a cup of coffee with someone (although you should still push yourself to do this). There are so many online communities you can join that relate to your role and industry. For example, I’m a member of The Daily Carnage group on Facebook. There I can get fresh perspectives on tools, tips and tactics for all things marketing. In the past few days, I’ve researched groups that directly relate to my new job in technology, like Women in MarTech, and joined them. Empower yourself with insight from experts in your field, and you’ll have a huge advantage.
- Research competitors. Once you feel like you’ve read everything about your current company, start researching your competitors. This will give you more background and insight into this new industry.
- Throw yourself into the deep end. Now, this doesn’t have to happen immediately, but gradually start challenging yourself to do things you haven’t done or wouldn’t normally do. As you become more comfortable, ask to work on projects that interest you. Pushing yourself to step outside your comfort zone will surprisingly help you get acclimated to your new role and company even quicker.
- Positivity and gratitude. Don’t let the stress and craziness of starting a new job get the best of you. Spend a few minutes each day reflecting on how incredible your new opportunity is. Remind yourself that it’s going to take time to feel at home in your new gig, but you’ll get there.
I’d love to hear what you do to help yourself feel more “you” in a new role. Did you transition to a new job in technology? Drop me a comment below or feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks to SingleStone for such a warm welcome!