Starting a new job is like being the new kid on the block. There are new faces to recognize, new names to learn, and new routines to become familiar with. It can be challenging learning the ropes but equally exciting and fun.
However, as with most new things, your new job can lose its novelty fairly quickly. After a period of time, the “new” factor has diminished and you lose that initial sense of excitement you had when you first started. What was once challenging is now part of your every day routine.
You may start to feel like you’re in a three-month slump, a completely normal and manageable phenomenon. Everyone talks about what to do to get the job but few address how to stay challenged and engaged once you find that role.
Here are some suggestions on lifting yourself out of your three-month slump to ensure you are making the best out of your position:
Seek out new opportunities
Be proactive and ask around. Chances are there are a number of things you can be doing in addition to your normal job description. Obviously, you want to prioritize your designated tasks first and foremost but perhaps there are things your team hasn’t even thought of that you can assist with. It brings us back to the old adage: you never know until you ask! It’s been three months of your coworkers getting to know you. Now that they know what you’re capable of, they may be willing to assign you more tasks. In fact, they will likely be grateful to you for taking things off their plate!
Write down exactly how many hours you are dedicating towards your tasks
Keep track of which projects are more demanding and which ones are less so. The ones that are more demanding are probably also the ones that you can commit more time to and expand on your responsibilities. On the flip side, maybe you’ll find that you are dedicating less hours to something you were told was going to be the most time consuming. In that case, your new job slump may be indicative of not enough responsibility.
Have a frank discussion with your manager
If a new employee evaluation hasn’t already been scheduled, ask for one. Employee evaluations show you what you can be doing differently and open the door for your employer to offer constructive feedback about your performance. Before assuming you do not have enough responsibility, it’s important to listen to the feedback he or she has to offer. If during the evaluation, your boss asks you what kind of projects you would prefer to be working on, seize the opportunity to be frank about how much you think you can handle and how you would like to be more challenged.
Make it a point to interact with other employees not in your department
Whether it’s stopping them in the hallway to ask how their day is going, or setting up a time to meet over coffee or lunch, talking to more senior level staff is a great way to learn about their experiences and establish a relationship that can benefit you long-term. Networking is great when you’re searching for a job but it’s also a valuable skill to utilize while at the company. It’s also a positive way for you to make an impression on your colleagues. Even if you’re not in their department, they will know who you are and that could be priceless down the line.
Schedule regular check-ins with your team and your supervisor
Aside from an employee evaluation, set up a recurring meeting on the calendar where you can check in with each team member individually. This will not only keep things from slipping through the cracks but also give you regular face time, and, if you’re lucky, informal feedback you can use to keep yourself motivated, energized in your job, and prevent another three-month slump!
Get better at your job
Everyone wants to believe they are the best at what they do but the truth is that you can always improve. Maybe the person who held the position before you did things one way and that’s the way you’ve been doing it for three months. Now that you’ve mastered that way, try and see how you can make it more efficient and streamlined. Brainstorm ways to make the workflow faster. Maybe your team has a history of record-keeping by hand and you find it is holding up your process. Try introducing an electronic record-keeping system. Or, discuss with your supervisor the opportunity to attend a workshop on a technique or skill you’ve been learning.
You were hired for a reason; now, go and prove to your team that not only were they right to hire you but should keep you around for the long haul!
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