I was reading a great book called ‘strategies for being brilliant’ by Sue Ritchie (which is an easy read, with helpful practical ways you can replicate the 21 strategies in the book). In the book Sue talks about how she adapted to living in a  completely new country and culture. She then shared her tips on how to find your feet in a completely new place.

This got me thinking, and reminded me of a couple of my clients who have recently moved to a new firm in order to further their career ambitions.  Whilst they may not have moved to a completely different country, so much of Sue’s excellent advice was relevant to them. This two part blog post is inspired by both Sue’s book and by my client’s experiences:

1. Stop saying ‘when I was at….’

This is a phrase which is guaranteed to wind up your new colleagues. If you are  going to use it, only use it sparingly. When you compare your old firm to your new firm, particularly if it becomes a habit, it can stop you from settling in quickly to your new firm.

2. Your first 90 days will set a pattern for the rest of your time with the firm

The working hours of your first 90 days will set the pattern for the rest of your time at your new firm. Therefore, get into good working habits from day one with your new firm. If you feel you need permission, ask your line manager or staff partner for the best evenings to leave on time in order to be your most productive during the week.

3. Remember it is YOU who needs to fit in

When you join an established team in another firm they will have a set way of working (and playing!). This isn’t going to change quickly just because you have joined the team. Therefore, before you offer up helpful suggestions of how the team could work more effectively, seek first to understand why they do it that way in the first place.

4. Your team will go through some ‘storming’

Every time a new team member joins or exits a team, the team dynamics will change to adjust to the new team formation. This can also be accompanied by some conflict or friction within the team. For example, you coming into the team may mean that a more junior team member’s opportunities to work on more advanced client projects gets blocked for a period of time. Understandably, this may mean that they have some resentment towards you. This isn’t personal, but it can feel this way.

5. In the ‘quiet’ period, focus on building your internal network

There will be an initial quiet period when you join a new firm. It takes time before you can be allocated  new projects. I have known several professionals who really struggled during this quiet initial period. After all when you have been the centre of many activities, and part of the furniture, it can be incredibly difficult to adjust. Instead of getting grumpy that you are not being given work, take the time to get to know each of the key movers and groovers in your department and outside of your department. The work will come along soon enough! After each meeting with someone, ask them, ‘if you were in my position, who would you be talking to and getting a strong relationships with?’.

The last 6 tips are coming tomorrow…


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