You’ve finished the interview process and you’re hired! Congratulations! You deserve to hang your coat on your new office chair and you’re ready to get to work. Now you can take it easy, right?
Not exactly. Even though you’ve signed the papers, remember that your new employer is still getting to know you. That first three months of the new job (and any job) should be treated as an extension of the interview process. Just as you were on your game during the application and hiring process, be on your game during this “extended interview” process.
Here are a few steps you should take to ensure that you thrive in your new role:
Earn your team’s trust.
This doesn’t happen overnight. Take time to learn how things are usually done and why they are done in that way. Don’t just start making changes without a good reason, otherwise you’ll be setting yourself up for no support.
This also means that you should make time and take the initiative to meet people. Law firms operate on a pretty fast pace and you can’t expect people to come to you. You’ll definitely be interacting with those closest to you and those you will be directly working with, so start off on the right foot by making the right impression.
A great way to start making friends at the office is to invite them out for lunch or coffee. Inviting colleagues out to lunch add a few benefits: having your lunch-dates pick the spot gives you insight into the best local spots. It also carves out time for you to connect with others (a way to preemptively prevent you from the sad desk lunch habit before it sets in).
Don’t be a braggart.
Lawyers get enough of a bad-rap for being know-it-alls. Even if you’re the most experienced attorney in the office, remember that the practice of law is a lifelong pursuit. Listen to the advice from your colleagues and senior attorneys who offer their help or time. Be careful with the “well at my old firm, we never did that” mindset.
Even if you already know what you’re doing, showing openness helps nurture the egos of your colleagues (and as a bonus, pacifies feelings that you’re a threat to your more competitive colleagues) and can help you down the road when you need to reach out for help.
Learn the ropes.
In any new firm, it is important to learn who the players are and how the game is played. Firms develop their own language and culture, and you’ll need someone to help you decode the acronyms and office politics.
Learning where the coffee is, for example, is a great place to start. By simply being present and meeting colleagues there, you can figure out the unwritten rules of the office that, if violated, make people go ballistic.
Slowly, you can upgrade to learning more about your new neighborhood. Do you know where you can get a band-aid if you need one? What about where to grab a quick lunch or to take people out for coffee?
As with any new role, take the time to reach out to colleagues from your previous jobs. Reconnect and stay in touch—that’s how you ensure that you continue to cultivate your network.
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