Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Job 101:

We are often called on to share advice with young people entering into the workforce based on our experiences hiring across the 20-25 age bracket. What is great about this is it allows us to provide insight & advice that doesn’t seem to be taught in the education systems. The biggest challenge in sharing this information is that it’s counterintuitive to what is being taught, hence understood as the expectation when people get to their 1st jobs. This false expectation can lead to people’s first months on the new job being a ‘re-training’ period instead of ‘integration’ period which can result in frustration, wasted time and wasted money.

Below are 5 solid tips that can accelerate a successful integration into the workforce.

1. Determine your passion & skill set. There are too may examples of people ‘stuck’ in jobs & careers they are not passionate about. This wastes all parties time, money and energy. If we are able to determine what we are passionate about and then base our job searches around that criterion, we (and the organization we end up in) are going to flourish. Also relevant to what we are passionate about is knowing what we are skilled at. We need to have, or study & gain the necessary competencies & skill sets in order to succeed and sometimes that may take extra work. In the end, those who are in jobs & careers they are passionate about and skilled at will have a much more prosperous (by every sense of the term) experience.

2. Understand personality characteristics. There are many great tools used to analyze peoples personality traits. Briggs & Myers, True Colors are two of the most widely used and what they do is a) identify your primary personality traits, b) outline how those traits are positively and negatively influenced in a team/work environment and c) identify other personality traits and outline how those traits are positively and negatively influenced in a team/work environment. If every employer / employee had a handle on this criterion, they would save billions of hours in time and billions of dollars of money managing personalities. Every job is a delicate ecosystem and EVERYONE has the responsibility of understanding their role and how it relates to the group.

3. Know what business you are getting into. There are many types of business, however for simplicity sake we differentiate by service based and product based. If you are applying for a service based business the success of the organization (hence you) will likely be determined by the quality of your offering vs. other offerings. As competition heats up, your organization (read: you) will need to respond accordingly if you are interested in keeping a share of the marketplace and this presents itself in the form of above and beyond and the extra mile. Different organizations will have different expectations around the extra mile and it’s important to understand what that organizations expectation is BEFORE you commit to the job vs. after you get hired and determine it’s not for you. If you are the type of person who prioritizes work as a means to an end or prefers to punch in and punch out, you should think about getting into a business where the product can speak for itself and doesn’t require you to speak for it. This ties in closely with passion, skill set and personality traits.

4. Understand the 4 key aspects in EVERY business. The 4 main aspects are self, team, operations & customers. Most people make the mistake of only thinking about themselves and the customers and this leads to BIG problems. Knowing your values, strengths & weaknesses, communication styles, baggage and how you prefer to be managed will prevent 99% of all self-related conflicts that can arise. Personality traits can really help facilitate a healthy team environment and despite the ‘be your own boss’ marketing campaign that is often over sold, the REALITY is that a great team will rival an enthusiastic individual every time. People’s lack of understanding around operations is one of the primary contributors to 1-5 businesses not making it past 5 years. Know your companies mission statement, code of conduct, bottom line. The more you familiarize and educate yourself on the operational aspect, the better position you will be in to contribute to the growth and success and the more likely you will be rewarded. When people take care of self, team and operations at a high level, the customers will be reflected in that success.

5. Don’t underestimate the responsibility you have in CONTINUING create a successful work environment. People prepare so hard to write the test, to get the degree to ace the interview to get the job and think that’s the end. It’s not the end. It’s not even the beginning. What people have a set of tools that now need to be selected, sharpened and modified in order to carve out continued success. Those who keep reinventing themselves, sharpening their skills and own their progress and success are more happier, more productive and likely more extrinsically rewarded than those who come into a job and try to hide or get the most for the least.

Matt Young is the founder of Innovative Fitness, a personal training company in Vancouver BC. He is a 2 time Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year finalist, Canada’s Top 40 under 40 award winner and has authored & co-authored 7 books. Matt and his team have donated over 3.5 million dollars to charity and have a Guinness World Record for the fastest cycling relay across Canada. You can reach Matt at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!