When starting in a new position, there are several things one should do to ensure they are fully prepared for the coming changes to your workflow and personnel interactions. By making a list of things you wish to accomplish, learn, and excel at, you can be ready for whatever challenges you may face. Below, are just a few of the things to consider before or during your first week.
Questions to Ask Yourself and Others
- Who do you report to, and what do they expect?
- Who reports to you, and what do they expect?
- What parts of the business interact with you, and what do they expect?
- What cultural aspects do you have to be familiarized with? Things like the dress code, language, humor, hanging out with others during breaks and after work, etc. A job is much more than its actual duties; acclimating to the social structure and group dynamics of the business is just (if not more) important.
- What is your job description? How does it match what was listed on the initial job listing? How does it match what was said in the interview? Be aware of any changes to your official duties (so they don’t bite you in the ass at a later date).
- What does your manager expect on the first day, week, month?
- What equipment and software do you need? Do you have them? How do you get them?
- What physical and logical access rights do you need? Do you have them? Who else has them?
Tasks to Complete
- Read as much documentation as possible; hopefully, there is already some form of medium that you can use for this. If no documentation is available, have it in the back of your mind that you should be implementing your own.
- Observe precisely how members of your team and others around you are doing things. Chances are, the way you might resolve or fix something might not be the same as how your new colleagues are currently doing it (sometimes there is a good reason, sometimes your method may be better). Research, listen and be aware of your surroundings.
- Leading on from the first point, make personal notes; I can’t emphasize this enough. Creating a database of all of your interactions/dealings with every employer can provide you with helpful material for years to come. Whether it is using something like Evernote, a simple Google Doc, or like in my case, a blog, chronicling the things you learn daily both enhances the learning process as well as allows you to have a searchable database of your professional interactions and procedures.
- Don’t be too critical of how something has been set up or the method in which people are performing tasks. There’s nothing worse (for an existing team) than a new employee that comes in and spends the first week telling everyone how they would have set something up in a much better way; there will be a time and place for these interactions.
- Find out who the senior members are on the team and ask them to show you around their systems. Every company has a different way of doing things, so it is always good to watch how others work and build your approach around that.
- Depending on your position (and what chaos you have inherited), now is an excellent time to check the numerous passwords you are now in control of or have access to. First, log in to each service/server to make sure they are correct. Next, reset any weak passwords, especially public facing logins. Note: I am not saying to reset passwords on your first day unless they are your specific login credentials. If you inherited a login from an older employee, and that individual used the password ‘12345’, you do not want to be held accountable if something unexpected happens to that account; trying to explain to your boss that it was not your fault will only provoke them.
- Check that the backups are working and test a restore; this frees up time for other tasks, as well as ensures you are not the cause of a complete memory dump. If backups are not working or do not exist, fix that; then, check that they are working and test a restore.
- Begin compiling and prioritizing a list of things you need to fix; this list should only be seen by you until you have some time under your belt, or at least a specific superior to show it to.
- Learn your new network topology: configuration, backup, passwords, routers, gateways, subnets, VLAN, static addresses, DHCP, labeled cables. No matter what tier you are at your new position, always be prepared to administer help down the ladder.
While this checklist can indeed point you down the right path, the most essential tip I can give you is to merely show up to work, ready (and eager) to learn. More often than not, IT-related business processes/procedures change with every company; your superiors are mainly looking for someone who can be able to adapt to their methods, as well as strengthen them with your own ideas and suggestions.
Categories: Group Theory