Just started a new job? Brilliant news! Unless, of course, you’ve jumped straight from the frying pan and into the fire. If that’s the case, and your worst nightmares are coming true, here’s some advice from FindMyWhy on how to handle it.
What’s The Worst That Can Happen?
You’ve nailed it; you’re here! You’ve battled the masses to land that dream job, the one that comes with career advancement, a salary uplift and a great company culture. You made it as the chosen one, the final, successful candidate. But remember that life is often full of surprises and that the perfect career often doesn’t go entirely according to plan. Sometimes, things come along to knock the wind right out of your sails. Ask yourself, when starting a new job, what’s the worst thing that could happen? And if that worst thing happened, do you know how would you deal with it?
Here at FindMyWhy, we know that learning more about yourself is the key to navigating those bumps in the road. FindMyWhy is a personal purpose project which will advance your understanding of you as an individual, your unique strengths and values, what motivates you and how you are perceived by others. Starting as a simple online questionnaire, FindMyWhy produces bespoke reports tailored specifically for you, providing insight and professional guidance to influence those crucial career decisions. By clarifying your natural preferences , it will help you to understand how you react to different situations and help you to cope better with the unexpected. Read on to find out more about how to manage those unplanned situations to make the best start in a new job and avoid those early pitfalls.
Scenario 1 – Redundancies and Cut Backs
You settle into your new role only to hear in the first few weeks that the company is in financial trouble and will be making staff cuts imminently. Your team and the wider organisation are thrown off course as everyone goes into survival mode and you hear murmurs of ‘last in first out.’ What do you do?
Firstly, reassure yourself that this is far less scary for you than it is for your colleagues who have worked there for some time. You are far less invested in the company personally, professionally and financially. Take comfort that your CV and interview skills are fresh and if you’ve managed to get this job, you’ll get another. But by no means write yourself off. You may survive this, so it’s head down to the task at hand so that you can demonstrate to others how you handle change and disruption and what you really can do to add value. As that old saying goes, ‘it ‘aint over ‘till it’s over’.
Scenario 2 – Your New Boss Bails Out
Your first week has gone pretty well and you’re feeling good about the job and your team. You finish off the week with a one to one with your boss. You’ve got to know him/her quite well throughout multiple interviews during the recruitment process and in fact, they were a big part of why you took the job. So, you’re totally blindsided when your boss announces that he/she is leaving. How do you handle this?
Try not to be defensive or take it personally. Their decision is not a reflection of you or your performance, in fact, it’s likely to be nothing to do with you at all. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with working at the company either. Perhaps it was just time to go, or they have been made an offer that’s too good to refuse. Try to see it as an opportunity rather than a blow; there will after all, be a new boss in town who may be even more inspirational, knowledgeable or skilled. Yes, they will inevitably be different, as all individuals are, but change can sometimes be a very positive thing.
Scenario 3 – You Screw Up
Against your instinct and better judgement, you are backed into a corner and make a poor decision at work which ends up costing the business a fortune. The MD, who you haven’t even met yet, is furious and wants your head on a stick. You are called into see your line manager: how do you handle that conversation?
Steer clear of apportioning blame to anyone else; now is the time to stand up and take responsibility. Acknowledge your part in the decision-making process but be clear on the context surrounding it. Your boss is inevitably going to have to explain this further up the chain of command so make sure it is clear how this happened. In this situation, it’s important to demonstrate that you understand where it all went wrong and that you can ensure it doesn’t happen again. If you do stay the distance, put it down to experience and try not to dwell on it, lest it defines you for the rest of your career. Instead, draw attention to your skills and capabilities, where you add value and what you plan to achieve in the future, rather than the unfortunate events of the past.
Scenario 4 – Social Media Crisis
Perhaps you are unwittingly drawn into a high-profile twitter disagreement, or an unsolicited video of you goes viral. You find yourself all over the web for all the wrong reasons. As you are still fairly new in the company, it’s hard to convince others that this is not the real you and you worry for your future. How do you get through it?
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the first thing to do is to alert your line manager. They may have already seen it anyway but if they haven’t, it will be a lot better coming from you than from anyone else. Explain the content and context of the material, how it escalated and the role you played in it. Don’t be afraid to discuss the impact this is having on you personally, although don’t expect a rush of sympathy either (unless of course you are completely blameless). Consider whether publishing a follow up message to address the issue would be damage limitation or further fan the flames.
Scenario 5 – Your Arch Nemesis Rises Again
You walk in on your first day at the job and spot your arch-nemesis talking to your new boss. This is someone you have worked with previously, someone you actively dislike and with whom you have a long history of disagreements. Completely shocked at seeing them, you first panic and then quickly wonder how someone like them got a job here. What do you do next?
If possible, approach them immediately and greet them (through gritted teeth if necessary). You are going to bump into them at some point so it’s better to be in control of the situation and do it on your terms – rather than face an awkward meeting in the loo or run into them in a meeting. Secondly, find out what they do and how much contact you will have with them. If you are going to be interacting regularly, it may well be worth trying to clear the air so that you can start with a clean slate. Acknowledge that you have not always seen eye to eye previously but that you hope that this time you will make a better connection. Above all, swallow your pride and be the bigger person. Thirdly, take some time to reflect on what it is about them that you dislike. It may be a personality clash which you will have to live with – but consider whether context played a part in your previous disagreements. Were you both trying to impress someone or make your mark and that’s why it failed? Were you both in a toxic work environment previously which did little to nurture relationships? Are you actually quite similar in your goals, but different in your approach? Give them the benefit of the doubt in this new setting and you may be surprised and remember that you may have played a role in your negative relationship in the past.
Scenario 6 – Unforeseen Personal Circumstances
You’re delighted with your new role and enjoying working with your new team. The culture is spot on and you can see you made the right choice career wise and from a personal perspective. Unfortunately, you receive some news that means you won’t be able to see out the year and will have to leave in 6 months’ time. Perhaps you discover that you or your partner are having a baby, or that you need to relocate overseas. What do you do?
Make sure you are absolutely certain of your decision before you announce anything – to anyone. Don’t be tempted to let it slip to those around you before you’ve told your manager and direct team. Plan how you want to deliver the news and your exit strategy – do you want to leave sooner than later or do you want to work up until the last possible minute? You may not be given this option but it’s helpful to have it clear in your head first. Remember that if you are still within your probationary period, the company could serve you notice fairly swiftly (unless you are pregnant of course in which case this is illegal!). Make your timescales clear and don’t cut ties – even if you plan to move away for years and think you will never come back to this role, make the most of the time you have there and maintain positive relations – you never know when you might need a reference or recommendation, or when your paths may cross again in the future.
Building Your Resilience: How FindMyWhy Can Help
If any of these situations have struck a chord, you may be reflecting on how you have handled surprises and unexpected situations in the past. Perhaps you have regrets and wish you had taken a different path? Or you look back at previous encounters with the benefit of hindsight and advanced experience and realise that if the same thing happened again today, you would take a very different approach.
FindMyWhy will help you to get to know yourself better, to understand your strengths and motivating factors, which can be the difference between sinking or swimming in challenging times. If you know in advance that you crumble under pressure or speak without thinking, you can be aware of it and prepare for it in the future, building your resilience and recognising your instinctive behaviours so that you can better manage the situation.
FindMyWhy is fully mobile and tablet enabled, so you really can do it anywhere, and the reports are yours to keep forever, providing a handy reference guide for the future. Visit our website to read the testimonials from those who have tried it and loved it and to see how you could change the course of your professional and personal life by unlocking your potential and discovering the real you: www.findmywhy.com