4/1/2018 by Katherine Memery
Most of us will be returning to work in some capacity after lockdown eases, hopefully well-rested, well-fed and ready for the rest of 2020. For many of you, however, this will mark the beginning of a new stage in your career as you start a new legal job.
If you’re embarking on a fresh challenge, you might be excited at the prospect, but a little apprehensive about being the newbie, settling into your new role and starting again with new colleagues. This is especially true given the rather unique circumstances - for example, you may be onboarding virtually or will be working from home through the majority of the week.
While you have, of course, landed the job, it’s important to remember that the first three months of any new job are an extension of the interview process. It’s, therefore, crucial that you create a positive first impression, settle into your new position quickly and begin to show your new manager exactly why they hired you. If you do these seven things, you ’ll get off to a flying start.
When you start your new job, it may be overwhelming getting to know so many new people, settling into new surroundings and getting to grips with a different way of doing things including a new case management system or Zoom calls. You won’t pick up everything straight away, just throw yourself into your new role and work hard to absorb everything you can. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and keep the notepad app open on your phone!
Now is also the time to ask questions that you might feel slightly awkward asking later on. You might want to ask your manager about the broader aims of the business or structure of the company or one of your peers about the complexities of the weekly virtual quiz! Either way, you might regret it if you leave these questions until six months down the line.
Be clear about expectations
While you will have gained a broad idea of what will be expected of you in your interview, now’s the time to iron out the specifics.
Arrange a one-to-one meeting with your manager to establish exactly what they believe success will look like in your first few weeks, months and year in your role. You can then begin to plan your workflow, set goals and achieve them.
Get organised, work hard and chart your progress
When you receive your caseload, especially as it is likely to be small, to begin with, map out how you’ll spend each day and put in place processes to help you maximise your efficiency and get things done.
Get into the habit of making a note of all your accomplishments, significant contributions and any positive feedback you get. Not only will this boost your confidence and help to monitor your success, but it will help to prepare you for future performance reviews (and salary negotiations).
Establish your new routine
For most people, a new job means a different routine. In your first week, get up earlier in the morning to give yourself extra time to make sure your home office (or dining room table!) is all set up. If your hours have changed, think about how you’ll juggle your other commitments like homeschooling and your partner's working hours and begin to build a routine.
Remember to switch off
Working from home to some extent, will become the new norm in the legal world. In order to avoid experiencing burnout early on, embrace flexibility and remember to switch off your phone and avoid checking your emails after 6 pm. It will allow you to maintain a healthier work&life balance which will ensure that you are more comfortable and happier in your new role.
Introduce yourself and make friends
It’s never too early to start forming bonds with your new colleagues. Introduce yourself to everyone you meet, whether in person or virtually and begin to get to know the people you’ll be working with. In particular, make an effort to reach out to the receptionist and the IT support staff so that you know who to turn to in a crisis.
Don’t turn down any invitations that come your way, whether that be tea and catch up via Zoom with your new team or Friday Teams drinks; being social away from the office allows you to show off your personality and get to know your co-workers in a more relaxed setting.
Give it a chance
If your job isn’t how you expected or you instinctively suspect you may have made a mistake, don’t panic. Early teething problems are common, and it can take weeks or sometimes months to feel settled in a new job, especially given the circumstances!
If, after four to six months, you’re still unsure whether the role is for you, schedule a meeting with your manager to air your concerns, or contact your Realm consultant for advice.
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