How To Bring Your “A” Game After You Land The Dream Job

August 2, 2017

The Dream Job. It’s the perfect role in the perfect place at the perfect time. Everything about this moment feels wonderful. All the pressure that went into finding a job like this has been released.

Not to burst your bubble – enjoy and celebrate getting the job today – but come tomorrow, you don’t have any time to rest. Because this is just the beginning. Landing the Dream Job is great but so is keeping it and growing from it. In other words, it’s time to bring Your “A” Game.

Start by adopting these three significant mindsets you need to have right now so you can take control of your life instead of waiting for things to happen.

1) Work For Your Actionable Goals

Your manager has made clear the agenda of what he or she wants to accomplish over the next month or quarter. OK, that’s obviously something you need to adhere to and understand how you can be a good, collaborative partner in that mission. However, have you sat down and thought about your own actionable goals for your career too? What are those?

Frankly, a lot of people don’t take the time to consider their goals, which is very surprising. Among the ones that do, there are a fair number of folks who only think of their goals in terms of the endgame and not what the immediate next step is, no matter how small. If you don’t think about mapping out the journey to your goals, it’s going to be incredibly hard for you to know which step to take next on the path.

So what’s the one thing you’re going to do next that moves you one step closer to achieving that goal?

Break it down as much as you have to but keep moving and tracking your progress. Every quarter. Every month. Every day.

Rather than just walking the door and resting on the fact that your qualifications have gotten you the job, you need to be thinking about how you can affect the world in which you are orbiting. All CEOs want their people to be thinking in the big picture, because if it’s a good CEO she or he will be listening for the gems that are in other people’s perspectives. By thinking that way, you understand that you’ve got to be proactive about how you show up at work every day. It’s about producing good work, whether or not you get a pat on the back or not. That’s the first thing.

2) Network From Within To Learn From ALL Colleagues

A CEO can’t stay insular in their “ivory tower” of a corner office, wondering what’s going on in the minds of their subjects. Guess what? Neither can you.

Staying confined to your own team or department may build some relationships but not many. There is tremendous value to employees who know how to collaborate and build their own personal network within the organization. So besides working with your immediate team, your immediate department, what can you learn from all of your colleagues? Grab coffee or lunch with someone you’ve admired at your company to understand their side of the business better.

“Yeah, but that guy’s in Distribution. I don’t have anything to do with Distribution and their roles are entirely different than us over here.”

It may seem that way. However, what if Distribution temporarily goes down? Suddenly, whatever you’re working on may have less value. It pays to think beyond your department walls and your own role to understand someone else’s side of the business.

Instead, you might say, “Listen, I just want to know more about the section of the company you’re responsible for. Tell me how that impacts the end user, the customer? Take me through your process so I can better understand how what you do has a tangible effect on the other end.”

Businesses with their various departments can be like a giant jigsaw puzzle. If you can put all those pieces together, I have no doubt it will be helpful to you in the long run.

Additionally, strengthening bonds within the company can be helpful both today and tomorrow. Let’s say that you build a strong relationship with someone in a completely different department who has always liked your personality, work ethic and skill set. They leave to join another company in a higher role and realize there’s a position that you might be perfect for. Wouldn’t they rather work with a familiar face they like and trust rather than a stranger they have to start from scratch with? Yes, that’s almost certainly true.

Take more advantage of the opportunities you already have under your roof. If you wait around for an opportunity from another part of the company to find its way into your department, you may be waiting a very long time. There are allies to be had. Go find them – some may be right down the hall.

3) Schedule Your Own Performance Review

“Oh, I assume my boss is going to schedule a time to talk to me once a year and I can communicate a lot of what I’m feeling then.”

Once a year? Do you really want to wait that long to know where you stand, share ideas or get insights on the business beyond the annual company meeting?

Be proactive and put your passion to improve your skill set on full display by asking your manager to schedule a mini-review on a monthly or at least quarterly basis. Too many people mistake silence for praise, especially coming from a manager – not always the best assumption to make.

When the boss knows that you are serious about your performance, they’ll tend to give you more and more responsibilities along the way as well. And more responsibility gives you a better opportunity for promotion.

What about you? After you landed a dream job (or at least a good one), what were some of the first things you realized after the honeymoon period was over? Did you adjust and adopt any shifts in mindset like the ones above? We’d love to hear them!