Oh the anxiety ridden unknown of Day One. We have all been there. There’s always a Day One. We all have to start somewhere. No matter where you are in your life or in your career, if you are growing, you’ll always have a Day One.
So welcome to your Day One. The day to subtly display your personal brand.
Here are 5 Survival tips to help you get to a ‘Day Won’:
1. BE A STUDENT
Day One is not where you unleash everything you think you know. No! Stop. Tell your inner know it all to shut the front door! Before you get the urge to show ‘em all, everything you may think you know, take a step back. Slow your roll. Become a student. You already have the job. Today is not the day to sell yourself. Today is the day to be a student of the organization; a student of your department; and a student of your customers. They’ll respect you for this. You’ll be learning the most valuable keys for survival on day 1. Take notes; plenty of them. Take mental notes on character traits. You’ll refer to them three weeks from now, trust me.
2. ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS
Asking questions does several things. Some people think that asking questions makes them look ‘stupid’. Au contraire mon freré. Asking questions in the right way about the right things will make you look brilliant!
How does your contractors who are on time & materials SOW track their time on projects?
Not So Great Question:
How do I create a project schedule?
See the difference? Your questions should center around organizational specific methods, processes, and project specifics. NOT your basic job fundamentals. Know the difference. The key is to ask questions that will help you to be successful within the organization.
3. ACTIVELY LISTEN
Listen attentively. Most likely you will be shown the ropes by a peer or hiring manager. They have a day job and more times than not, they are busy. Very busy. So with them taking time to sit with you and give you important information, the least you can do is listen attentively and respond to them. Look at them as they speak. Non-verbal cues help them to recognize that you are listening. Nodding, shaking your head, sit or stand with a welcoming posture, and smile occasionally. Remember, you’re listening to gain information and to understand. Don’t interrupt and let them finish speaking before you speak.
4. PACE YOURSELF
Take time. You will not learn everything in one day. Take notes throughout the day. Jot down questions you have. Find out who will be able to point you in the right direction to get the answers you seek. Rank your questions by importance and urgency. Prioritize the information you need. Set a goal on when you’ll acquire this information. Typically, within the first three weeks, you’ll have your initial questions answered and enough organizational knowledge to get started. This is the best time to begin thinking about your 30/60/90 day plan.
5. STUDY YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Last but definitely NOT least, study your surroundings. This means, people, places, and things. Most importantly though… the people. Take a mental note of everyone you come in contact with. Note your first impression of them. Typically, they show you who they are within the first few minutes of meeting them. Definitely by your third interaction with them, you will have already sized them up. This is crucial for your survival and success. You’ll learn who is within your circle of influence and who should be kept at arms-length. People will generally show you how they should be treated. Be very aware of things said and unsaid. Stay away from existing politics. You’re neutral. Govern yourself accordingly.
*NOTE: Pay very close attention to the types of questions you are asked. It'll help you discern certain personalities.
Remember, your day one’s mission is to have a ‘Day Won.’ Learn as much as possible about your new surroundings while keeping an open mind. Be smart. Be humble. Put your best foot forward. You only have one shot to make a great first impression of your personal brand.
In the immortal words of Lin-Manuel Miranda in the stage play, Hamilton:
“I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot.”
I love all things Hamilton. I’m sorry I couldn’t help but throw that reference in there.