Intentional Dad | Exceptional Life

How to master a new job (and why I stopped blogging)

by Steve on January 18, 2011 · 0 comments

Man in a suit inside an office, probably on the Olympic Peninsula

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller

This is my first post since October.  I took a long intentional break from the blog to focus on my new job.  It was well worth it.  I’m also happy to be writing again and hopefully will be back with quality stuff.

I started a new job in September.  My first 90 days are over.  I’m convinced that there is an intentional way to start a new job that sets you onto the right path of success.  It opens doors for future opportunities and builds relationships.  As an Intentional Dad, you’re thinking about legacy and success.

Here’s how I did it.

Before starting the new job:

  1. I enjoyed my down time. Once I accepted the job, I didn’t start for two weeks.  This was like summer vacation.  No work responsibilities and no job hunting.  I used the time to spend with my family.  I worked out.  I met with old friends.  I slept in.
  2. I prepared my family.  I needed my wife’s support if I would pull off an intense first 90 days.  I confided to her that I planned to pour myself into my work for the first three months.  That meant, that I’d be working early and late.  I’d have no time to run errands during the work day.  I needed her help and support and I got it.
  3. I got organized.  I sort of made a mess of my stuff during my three months of unemployment.  My files were a mess, my finances were unsure.  I cleared my desk and organized my home office.  I work out of a tiny space in our garage.  Nothing glamorous, but it gets the job done.  My office also becomes a dumping ground for random things.  I got rid of the mess.

During the calm before you start your new job, do what you need to do.  Do you need to see the doctor? Visit a friend? Go on vacation?  Do it before.

First 90 days on the new job:

  1. I dove in.  I made myself available at all hours.  HQ is on the east coast, so sometimes they scheduled phone calls super early.  I took them all no matter how early.  I wanted to establish myself as a team player.  I answered all important emails immediately, early and late.  Make no mistake about it, I wanted my bosses to know that I was fully onboard.
  2. I stopped taking appointments.  I really like meeting up with friends and business associates for lunch, coffee or drinks. I thrive on the sharing of ideas and camaraderie.  But, for first three months, that was on hold.  When people asked to get together, I politely declined and tried to reschedule for later.  In most cases, I explained why I couldn’t meet and they understood.
  3. I declined all new extracurricular activities.  I did not participate in evening or morning church or community activities not related to my new job.  I declined all invitations to join a board, club or committee.  I did continue to participate with groups that I had a standing commitment.  That was a minimal distraction.
  4. I exercised.  As much as I’m promoting work, work, work, I needed some time to recharge.  I exercised by walking or running 3-5 times per week. This was extremely important because my brain needed a rest.  Exercise does wonders for us physically and emotionally.  I used this time to see nature, day dream and think creatively.
  5. I ate well.  Luckily my wife is a very healthy cook.  She prepares most of our meals and as result I get high protein, low sugar energy building foods.  This is very important.
  6. I joined committees and task forces at work.  The first 90 days are all about showing competence in multiple areas as quickly as possible.  I’m a team player and fully bought into the company’s vision.  I joined teams that were doing something with high profile impact.  Note: you cannot join too many of these.  I limited myself to one high visibility, high impact team.  Quickly, my skill set was being recognized by the people I wanted to notice me.
  7. I got everything done on time in an excellent fashion.  It’s a no brainer, but the first 90 days is not the time to slack and make errors.  If I didn’t know something, I asked questions and got the answers.  This brings me to my next point.
  8. I asked questions.  This is the time to ask lots of questions.  If I needed clarification, I asked.  If I needed to understand a process, I asked.  When I couldn’t figure out how to do expense reports, I asked. This is the time to ask, because in many cases if you wait too long you’ll look foolish when you ask. What if you were six months in and didn’t know how to do expense reports. Why’d you wait so long?

After 90 days:

  1. I rested again.  Timing was great for me because the Christmas and New Year holidays coincided with the end of my first 90 days.  I took a vacation. I recharged. I slept in. Even if it’s only a long weekend or a day.  Take a day or two off.  Use this time to recalibrate.  You can’t run like this forever.
  2. I set goals to get back to normal. Now that I know more about the business, I set goals for myself about when I’ll end the day, what I’ll do with my family, how much I’ll exercise.  I also set professional goals for promotion and achievement.
  3. I committed to my family that I was back and thanked them for their support.  This is huge.  By this time, your spouse is ready to get you back.  There are things you need to do around the house.  The kids want to play.

So, how’s it going?

The start to the new year has been tremendous.  I was giving unsolicited positive feedback about my performance.  I started a new workout routine.  I’m back to writing (although very early in the morning).  I’m thrilled.

My point to all this is to be intentional and make an impact.  The first 90 days consists of a very intentional but temporary change in routine.  It builds a foundation for your success at work.  As Intentional Dads, we want to be successful in whatever we do, especially our roles as husband, dad and worker.  Your family will respect you for letting them know up front that the first 90 days will be intense and they’ll love you more when you end that crazy work schedule as you said.

What would you do differently in your first 90 days?

photo by: IMLS DCC

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