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Top five tips for starting at a new job

by Geoff Hart

Based on a message posted in the techwr-l forum, then republished as: Hart, G.J. 2000. Top five tips for starting a new job.

  1. Don't start trying to change things until you understand how they currently work, how they got to that state, and why they got to that state. It'll also be easier once you've accomplished step 2:
  2. Start building friendly working relationships with the subject-matter experts (SMEs) from day 1. Along the way, figure out how each person is different and remember to treat them differently. Once you've built some credibility, you can start talking about changing things.
  3. If possible, get them to send you information on how they work (e.g., house style guide, if any; policies and procedures manual) before you arrive so you can hit the ground running.
  4. If you don't already understand the product category well, make sure you're at least basically familiar with it before you arrive. You'll want to know the basic jargon so you can communicate intelligently with the SMEs and know how to ask informed questions (rather than ignorant ones).
  5. Don't forget subscription information to techwr-l so you can subscribe as soon as your computer is set up.

Bonus tip: Bring your own jellybeans!

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