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Note: Some exciting news to share – this week, I’ve been quoted in two separate articles – one on Melanie Axman’s site where she reflects on ways to appreciate your job and the other over on FlexJobs.com for some more ways to hack the online application process. Please go check them out! And I’d also like to give a big shout out to Shannyn over at TheFrugalPreneur.com – she has my logo featured up there and I’m beaming from ear to ear because of it! And while you are there, be sure to stick around for her great advice.


The way you transition within your career sets the tone for your overall success – trust me, I’ve made some big mistakes in this arena. Most people only consider how their first day will go, what they should wear, how they will fit in. But career transitions happen more than just on your first day and will always leave a lasting impression.

If you are transitioning into a new company, most likely you are excited to begin your journey in a job that you are excited about. As I used to plan my first day at the many jobs I started, I would have a little panic over which notebook I was going to bring for day one followed closely by what I was going to wear to be professional but still fit into a culture I had no clue about yet. Not once, until it bit me in the behind, did I think about planning my entry and introduction into the company, culture and the people.

How to Transition into a New Company

Do not walk in with your guns a blazing.

I know you are excited to add value and leave your mark on the position and change everything at that company that is wrong. Perhaps your new manager has told you throughout the hiring process how you are going to be expected to jump right in or start the ground running.

They do not really mean that – I promise. What they actually want is someone who is a quick learner, able to take direction, catches on fast, absorbs information that is provided, and for all that is holy – does not rock the boat.

Chill out on the friendliness factor.

I’m not saying be a jerk, but being too happy or friendly on day one comes across as phony. Smile when appropriate, introduce yourself when presented to others, but do not try to make small talk with every passing person. Just relax and try to go with the flow instead of turning every passer-by into your BFF.

Know that you are creeping in on their territory.

Just like walking into a lion’s den, you have no idea what you are walking into. Your predecessor may have left you big shoes to follow, or may have left you a mess. Even if you think you know why that person left, you have no clue, and each person you meet could have been a friend or enemy of the person who used to do your job.

Be respectful of that and know that you may not be welcomed by everyone at first. They are going through their own adjustment period and possibly dealing with their own insecurities over the situation, so treat carefully and lightly, and above all else, remember, you are walking into their domain.

Take some time to figure out the office politics in action.

Do not assume that the hierarchy within the company is the same as it was in your previous company. Titles mean different things everywhere and more than that, titles typically have nothing to do with who is actually “in power.”

Figuring out who the key players are and how to navigate either with them, against them, or abstain from them, will only come from sitting back and watching everything play out in front of you.

Keep your opinions or solutions to yourself.

For the most part, new ideas or efficiencies are not welcomed – think about it: they have clearly been doing something that way for ages, they do not take criticism, even constructive criticism, well. You have to earn the right and respect to start moving things in new directions – so give yourself a few weeks at the very least, before you start providing radical ideas.

Use day one as a day to “peak behind the kimono.”

Not only with what you should wear, but also it is your opportunity to ask as many questions as possible and start to observe the buzz and feel of the office as a whole. Be sure to pay attention to how others interact with your boss, and what the expectations will be for you.

And I beg of you – stay away from engaging in any conversations where you start with: “in my last job;” “how did my predecessor do this;” or “what do you think about my boss.”