I hope to write this next post in at least 2 sittings… if not more. Right now it is Sunday, January 7th. Tomorrow morning, I will be starting at a new job. This post is about what it is like to start a new job. In about 16 hours I will be arriving at a new office and restarting the entire process of figuring out my place at the office once again.
A full disclaimer: I am not starting a new job with no connections. I am going back to work with my first boss so it isn’t a complete change like my last job was.
Starting a job is always a bit anxiety inducing. You have made a change that will change who you will see and interact with for a little over 40 hours a week. That’s the majority of your awake time during the week and you haven’t even met your entire set of colleagues who will become the primary people you interact on a day to day basis.
You also have to begin the process of proving yourself as a valuable asset again. I find it normally takes 6 months or so to get into a new job routine. From balancing the workload to gaining the respect of your co-workers… it takes time and a lot of effort.
You have to adjust your life. Currently, my commute is about 40 minutes. I will be adding about 10 minutes to my commute, but does that mean I need to leave earlier? Does the day start later? Will I need to change the time I wake up? Or go to bed? These are all questions that get answered in the first couple of days, but they can drastically change you while you adjust to the changes. I’ve been doing the same commute for almost a year, it will be weird to get into a different train car in the morning.
But there are also positives. You get to meet a plethora of new people. While my company is 3 full-time employees… the contract I will be working on is about 10,000 people. It is much larger than my previous company of 300 (and Headquarter office of 25). But it is much smaller than other previous companies (250,000 people and multiple office buildings). I’m not sure how big my team will be (I’m guessing 10-15 people), but I get to make a lot of new friends.
The other positive is you get to face new challenges. My goal is to help them change custom software they have built the past decade into a platform. It is incredibly difficult to manage clients who have tailored solutions and turn their software into cookie cutter use cases. But it is a fun challenge and I can’t wait to get started.
Day 5(7… it’s the weekend):
So… I didn’t get to write during the week because I was exhausted. For anyone interested, I highly recommend against having an extremely packed week when you start a new job. I had Japanese on Monday, a musical on Tuesday, Japanese on Wednesday. This meant that I wasn’t getting home until at least 9PM, which resulted in my sleep dropping from the normal 7ish hours to 5-6 hours. It took me all weekend (and MLK day) to truly catch up. In the meantime, here is what I learned about starting work at a new company.
A lot of stuff happened during the past week. Some good, some not as good. I got off to a great start with a couple people in the company and a hopefully okay start with others. I think the other designer and I are going to work together well and he seems pretty lax about most things. I make a point of always getting to know the tech leads for many reasons… but the most of which is that I view tech as the heart of the team because without them, nothing will ever get done. I think the head of Client Services is happy to have another voice of the user in the room. Hopefully I got off to an okay start with the heads of product. As a former Product Owner, I can be a bit aggressive on setting up a formal process for deriving the workflows that need to be built. I saw a lack of organization in the roadmap and a lot of frustration between the Product Owners, the Project Manager/BAs and the dev team. I hope I didn’t attack it too hard and make people feel like they weren’t previously doing their jobs correctly.
The anxiety around starting a new job normally dissipates by the second or third day for me. At that point I start getting excited about what can be done about the product. I see so much potential for improvement and I’m excited to take on some of these challenges. I also get to flex some of my product muscles to help organize what we should be building instead of our current roadmap. There are workflows to simplify, UX patterns to improve, and visual designs to enhance. I’m excited to start taking a crack at making this product better and to help this team start shipping software. It’s going to be an exciting 3 months and maybe I’ll be there even longer.