Every 30 days in a new job is a big milestone. I shared my experience on the first 30 days, and now here is where I'm at with my next 30 days.
I feel that around the 60 day mark I finally started to get my feet under me in terms of understanding what is going on as well as having the confidence to speak up and ask questions.
How have I gone about understanding what is going on? And what is going on? Answering the first question is simple to communicate, but not a satisfying answer: I simply was present and listened to others. I took the time to meet with people and dive into projects. I asked the questions that I needed to ask to get a further understanding of the projects I work on. This has given me the ability to become a stronger employee. What is going on is I launched my first product! As a product manager, this is a big milestone. Though it is a small product, it is a huge stepping stone and a spring board for future opportunities.
Through the experiences I’ve seen and gained over the past two months, I’ve developed the confidence to ask questions and not be timid. I know that everyone expects me to be “green” and not have an understanding of projects and the language used at the company, but this doesn’t make it easy to be brave and speak up. After all, my colleagues have been around much longer than I have. Rather than asking basic questions during meetings, I would document them and ask someone the questions later on. There is nothing wrong with this strategy, but now I know that my questions are more appropriate for the groups compared to a one-off question.
I have experienced some frustration between days 31 and 60. Most of this frustration is a result of putting myself (and being put) into situations that were uncomfortable. This is the reason I left Discover to join Expedia. I wanted to be uncomfortable and not completely familiar with everything going on. By doing this, it has forced me to learn and push myself further. The frustration has driven me to ask that next question so I can truly understand the inner workings of the business.
I picture the learning curve at a new company and position like an exponential growth curve. At the beginning, you learn a little bit, but not much. You spin your wheels asking the same questions over and over again because you lack the full context to have full comprehension. But after a few weeks, the wheels gain traction and context starts to come together. At that point, you can make connections between different projects and ideas, and learning takes off. I’ve experienced this in days 31-60.
Networking has been a challenge for me. Sitting in a group of engineers is very different for me. Their personalities and interests are starkly different than mine. I’m used to sitting with product and marketing people who have the same interests and personality styles. I’ve had to work hard to network to build connections with like-minded people. I want to develop friendships at work. And I know I’ll need to work hard to get to that point where I truly have friendships and deeper connections. At this time, though, my connections are at the base level. I am building the foundations in order to have strong, working and, possibly, personal relationships over the coming months and beyond.