If you are a new UMD employee, you may encounter any number of challenges during the first few months in your new role. If you are not a new employee, please keep reading. It is never too late to set a new course. There are elements of your transition that are deserving of your time and attention, but may be neglected due to your excitement (and your supervisor’s excitement) to dive right in and start getting the job done!
Understanding the Landscape
Take some time to learn about your unit and the role that you will play in your college/department. You can do this by engaging in several activities, for instance, reading the mission statement for your unit, department and/or the university; asking a colleague/supervisor to assist you in meeting other colleagues and campus partners; taking time to understand your role by reading your position description and UMD’s Performance Review and Development (PRD) forms; arranging time with your colleagues to learn more about their roles and the workplace culture; and scheduling regular meetings with your supervisor to learn about unit priorities.
Questions to explore:
- Who are your primary customers?
- What things do you need to know about working with campus partners?
- What priorities has your senior leadership set for your program?
- What may be some of the challenges you will face in your first three months?
- How might you gather resources to support you in your new role?
Developing a Favorable Impression
Be sure to spend time creating a positive image of yourself, your work ethic, and your college/office. This is as an opportunity to create and build upon your career path and your professional reputation. There are a few ways you can do this right at the start, for example, confirm work hours, hours of operation, and expectations about office coverage. Also, ask about the preferred method of communication regarding late arrivals, absences, updates; become an advocate for your team; project a professional image as a teammate with a can-do attitude; assess your interests and skills and share those with your supervisor/team; and discover ways to do your job efficiently and effectively. Do your best to articulate your value to your unit, in words and actions, while taking the time to listen to the history and development of the unit.
Questions to consider:
- What strengths do you bring to your position?
- What goals would you like to establish in the next 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?
- What kind of relationship would you like to have with your supervisor and colleagues?
- How will you go about establishing these types of relationships?
Charting your Success
Remember to monitor and track your progress. Your first year will be characterized by your ability to navigate the workplace culture and learn from your mistakes and successes. Be patient with yourself and spend time intentionally setting goals and assessing your achievements, as you go.
Questions to reflect upon:
- How does transition make you feel? Think of a time when you transitioned (from high school to college, college to work, being in a relationship to singlehood, etc.).
- What are some markers of making a successful transition?
- How will you remain dedicated to your personal sense of wellness and work-life balance?
This is an exciting and dynamic time for you. It has the potential to become chaotic and confusing. Take the time to establish yourself, and to listen and learn about your new environment, and then take the steps to chart your course to success.
Last updated: March 16, 2017