Great New Job! Now What?

So you finally landed your dream job. Time to celebrate…of course! Time to network?? Yep. After landing a great job, it’s easy to fall into complacency. You might think, why continue to network? It goes back to the fundamental reason for networking: to build quality, long-standing professional relationships.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to suddenly downsize to save money and improve their bottom lines. Or maybe the company announces plans to restructure and as a result eliminate some positions. And unfortunately these scenarios can play out at any time. In any event, now’s not the time to rest on your laurels and lose touch with your existing network or stop making new contacts. Maintain and nurture those relationships, and make it a goal to keep growing your network, both externally and within your new organization.

A good way to start is to get in touch with your contacts and let them know about your new position, thank those who played a part in getting you there, and last but not least, express your willingness to be of assistance to your contacts. After all, networking is a reciprocal relationship, a 2-way street. Another approach is to periodically go out with co-workers for coffee, lunch, or happy hour.

So definitely go and celebrate, enjoy the new job, do great things while you’re there…but also follow the Boy Scout’s motto: “be prepared!”

Is Leading by Example a Lost Art?

lead-by-example1Anyway, we went back and forth – with others now chiming in to tell her to go to the back of the line – before I finally said to her, “Nice example you’re setting for your kids.” She definitely heard me, but pretended not to. After a couple more minutes, I decided to physically plant my body in front of her, and then I heard her say to her kids, “Just let them go first.” How generous of her. I’m generally non-confrontational, but in situations like this I have absolutely no problem confronting.

Since that day, I’ve come across the same type of behavior multiple times and in a variety of situations. I really hope it’s more the exception than the rule, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this type of behavior is more typical than I realize. It’s critical for not only parents, but also teachers, managers, or anyone else in a leadership position to lead by example! Whether it’s at home, at school, or at work, we want our the people in our charge to exhibit a desired behavior, but where’s the motivation to do so if we fail to be role models for them?

True Colors: Work Edition

In the studies done, when new employees were allowed to express their individuality and use their unique strengths, instead of conforming solely to organizational  values and behavioral norms, both the company and the employee benefitted – especially in terms of greater retention, higher quality work, greater engagement, increased job satisfaction and more positive job attitudes. This is a practice that organizations would be smart to consider.

Here’s the full report. And while you’re reading that, have a listen to Cyndi Lauper singing one of her biggest hits!

Perfectly Imperfect


eraserOne of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned is that perfectionism is just an illusion, an ever-unattainable goal. I’ve read Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, which instead of being a one-time read, is a reference book that I keep within easy reach on my book shelf. A lot of us get caught up on the perfectionism hamster wheel, always trying to look perfect, do perfect, be perfect, perhaps in an attempt to escape judgment from others. In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown puts into perspective: “Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”

In my work as a career coach, I help others with their resumes, where understandably  the goal is to have a perfect resume. But even here we consider it a “living document” and a work in progress that is constantly evolving and improving.

According to the idea of perfectionism, it’s not good enough that we’re only human and (hopefully) trying to do our best on a daily basis. And actually, it’s when we trip up and fall a little short that help create opportunities for learning and growth. To me, healthy striving and doing my best is perfection!

What’s on the menu for your next job offer?

There are several things that will play into the final decision for accepting a job offer or not. Ask yourself if you’ll be happy over the long-term or are you being tempted by, for example, a high starting salary when everything else (health and retirement benefits, organizational culture, job responsibilities, time-off policy, professional development opportunities, length of commute, etc.) may not meet your expectations. To relate it to food, are you going for the instant gratification of a slice of lemon meringue cheesecake, or opting for a 4-course meal (including dessert!) that will provide more sustenance to satisfy your career appetite?


On the menu at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Lisbon, Portugal. May 2019. As decadent as it looks!

I always advise a holistic approach to evaluating a job offer. Yes, salary is undeniably important, but taking into account multiple factors and creating a prioritized list will help you see the big picture and make an informed decision. If you’re able to earn a high starting salary, but working in a toxic culture at an organization with a less than generous vacation policy, will you be okay with that? Or conversely, if you’re faced with a low starting salary, but will be working in a healthy and supportive environment with a great time-off policy, will you be okay with that? It all comes down to your priorities and what you value in a job and career.


Podcast: “What Did I get myself into?”



As a continuation of my recent blog post, I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric Spector, a soon-to-be graduate of The George Washington University School of Business whatdidigetmyselfinto2to talk about our different experiences with jobs that didn’t turn out quite the way we expected, and strategies to use when these types of situations arise.


What Did I Get Myself Into?

Many of us have been there, me included. We accept a job offer based on what we thought the job entails, but it ends up being something very different. So what now? We’re now in a job that has turned out to be something other than what we expected, something we would probably have turned down if we knew what we were getting into.

It’s the employer’s responsibility to clearly and accurately convey the responsibilities and scope of the job during the interview phase of the hiring processwhatdidigetmyselfinto. It’s also the employee’s responsibility to ask as many clarifying questions as it takes to completely understand what the job really is. And if something doesn’t feel right about it, then we should trust our gut instincts. Of course, other factors may come into play – like an attractive salary, or a desperation to escape a toxic work situation.

So several scenarios are possible here:

  1. We didn’t fully understand the job in the first place.
  2. The employer didn’t clearly communicate the job.
  3. It was a newly created position without a fully developed direction or vision.
  4. There was full clarity and understanding in the beginning, but the job has suddenly turned into something else, something we didn’t or wouldn’t have signed up for.

So what now?

1. If the job is really intolerable, then the best thing would probably be to rev up the job search again. Look outside the organization, but also see what opportunities may exist within. (If however, you just started, it may be too early to make a move internally.)

2. If the job is tolerable, and you’re comfortable doing so, talk openly with your supervisor and see if your job description can be adjusted to allow for more of the things you really want to do.  If this isn’t possible, try to give the job more time to see what develops, and what twists and turns it might take. It may just turn in your favor. But in any event, it could never hurt to keep your eyes and ears open for other opportunities.

3. If you have the means to do so, then quitting outright may be a viable option. I see this more as a last resort, but if the job is causing undue stress and having an unhealthy impact on your life, then sometimes you’re left with no other option than to remove yourself from that situation and start over.

Clear communication and full understanding are key before accepting any job offer. But again, sometimes even with that, things don’t turn out the way we expect. But also know you have options if confronted with a bad situation. When it happened to me, I thankfully chose to look elsewhere and found something much better suited for me.




Be Fearless and Vulnerable when Setting Career Goals

A few years back, I saw one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history when Raphael Nadal was beaten in the 2nd round by a virtual unknown named Lukas Rosol. The following morning there was much in the way of analysis and commentary about how Rosol could pull off the seemingly impossible. I believe a huge part of it was that he went out there without fear, unintimidated, and just went for it, unafraid to take chances. When you take this into account, the result wasn’t unthinkable. Playing it safe isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. The same can be said for how we approach our careers and professional goals. That’s not to say we shouldn’t spend time to thoughtfully plan and strategize. In fact, it would be foolish not to.

Lukas Rosol WimbledonThink about your career up to this point and see if there are times when fear and uncertainty have held you back. Have you ever felt stuck in a dead-end job because of a fear of taking a chance on pursing a job/career that was out of your comfort zone but on the other hand would feed your passion? Or did you ever forego further education that would qualify you for a more suitable job because you weren’t sure you could handle the extra workload?

It’s important to take some chances, to push ourselves, and fight through the fear and uncertainty in order to reach those career goals and dreams. I think it all boils down to this: when all is said and done and it’s time to look back on your career, will you regret the things you did or the things you DIDN’T do? Personally, I’d rather be vulnerable, take some chances, and risk failure vs. being stuck in comfort and fear. Soren Kierkegaard had it right when he said, “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.  To not dare is to lose oneself.”


Taking Dr. Seuss On Your (and my) Career Journey


There are a million motivational and inspirational books out there. But one of the best I’ve found is also one of the simplest. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss: insightful, wise, powerful, uplifting, universal, honest…and accurately reflecting the ups and downs and twists and turns in life. It’s the perfect book for anyone, but especially someone in a life/career transition who might be feeling a little frustrated or discouraged that things aren’t falling into place faster. ohtheplaces

The final part of the book goes like this: “You’ll get mixed up of course as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact and remember that life’s a great balancing act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98.75% guaranteed.)”

I think many of us can relate to those words of wisdom. So the next time you’re in a career transition, or even when you’re not, have Dr. Seuss nearby!