Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Why It’s Important to Get Off to a Good Start in Your Job

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It is very important to get off to a good start in any job. Why? Because people begin making impressions and forming judgments about you – your attitude, your work ethic, your approach to your work, how you handle yourself, your relationship to your boss and teammates, etc. – the minute you walk in the door and show up for work. In her book Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job, and Launch Your Future, Dee Ann Turner writes “The first ninety days of any new job are critical. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is exactly what the first ninety days are – a first impression.” She goes on to state that “The relationship with your new boss is the most critical element of success in your new job.” It’s very difficult to overcome a rocky start with a new boss. Dee Ann adds “Of all the reasons I have seen people fail in their career, by far the most common is the inability to build positive and productive relationships in the workplace.”

I know that not everyone approaches their jobs with such an urgency to make a good impression, and that’s a mistake. For example, in the organization in which I spent my entire career, we would hire college students to work part-time in the Mailroom while they worked on their degree. The idea was that they could work mornings (or afternoons) and go to classes in the afternoon (or morning) or evening. This also included occasionally having to work a Saturday morning shift. I can remember that one employee had a bit too much to drink on a Friday night, and was still intoxicated when he came in to work on Saturday morning. Unfortunately for him, his behavior was observed on security cameras by our security staff, who then communicated this to leadership. While this individual may have looked at the part-time Mailroom job as just his “foot in the door” while he was going to college, the impressions he made early in his time with the organization stuck with him for a very long time.
And let’s face it. Some people have very long memories and are not very forgiving. I learned this early in my time in a new area of the IT department I worked in. At that time, we held semiannual analyst reviews for leadership position readiness. I brought forward and discussed a candidate on my team who had been approved for the highest level of leadership readiness by the leadership of our former area. However, after I provided a brief recap about the individual, a more senior leader said this “I worked with him several years ago. He wasn’t a leader then, and he’s not now”. I was stunned. Our group was new to this area and it was expected that decisions made in our former area would be “grandfathered in” during this first review period. I didn’t know who the leader was that spoke up, but I arranged to meet with him the following day. It didn’t matter. My team member had made an impression on him several years ago, and he wasn’t open to considering that he had changed. As a result, he failed to support him for leadership readiness.
So, my advice would be that on day one of any job – from fast food to a Fortune 50 organization – you do your very best to create a great first impression. Do whatever task is assigned to you to the best of your ability, with a good attitude, and if you are a believer, do your work for the glory of God.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.  Colossians 3:23

What other advice do you have for getting off to a good start in a job or career and making a good impression?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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