“Your job now is to find a job.” As a career coach, I’ve talked with my clients many times about the concept. But it’s a much more challenging phrase than I ever knew! The implications are enormous, and that’s what I’ve been spending so much energy on this week.
When you’re new to a job, what’s the first things you focus on? Well, first, you’ll sit down with your new boss and others who will help provide direction, and ask them questions:
- What are the tasks I’m responsible for?
- Who do I need to talk to?
- What sources of information do I need to connect with?
- How will my success be measured, both short term and long term?
- Any instructions, even tips, on how I do my job?
- What other stakeholders/customers will need the value I’m delivering?
Whenever I’ve started a new job, it takes me awhile to get this organized so I can start feeling productive. Since I’ve done so many jobs in the last decade which are loosely defined, many times it’s also a matter of creating my best guess at the answers to these questions, and then testing with various stakeholders – including my boss – to see whether it makes sense.
My experience this week in getting organized has been around these kinds of questions. The problem is that there’s nobody who will just give me the answers. Instead, it’s a lot of internal work that needs to take place.
That’s where my first meeting with my coach this week was invaluable. She helped lay out a process (thank you!) which helps walk me through the thinking and actions that I’ll be taking. It’s not easy, mind you, but at least I know that I’m starting to make progress. Even just a simple thing like declaring what I’m looking for in my future career. Every time I have to declare that to someone, it improves and gets clearer in my own mind.
Similarly, I had a chance to seriously rethink one of my résumés this week, and that really helped me to think through how I communicate the value I’ve delivered in the past. That’s very useful, and valuable for my success in this new job.