Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New job first impressions

I've had a job since I was sixteen - some of them for as short as two weeks; others for as long as two years. Needless to say, I've had quite a few "new jobs" and "first days," and have noticed that, much like most anything in life - from a first date to your first experience with an exotic food - much of your perspective lies in and is founded on that initial interaction. Like a life partner, sometimes the chemistry sits right. And sometimes it doesn't.

There have been jobs that never "felt right" from the beginning - maybe I'm more sensitive than most, or entitled enough that I permit myself to conclude more than I should from first impression, but I do know that there has been a job or two that, from the very first moment walking into the office on the very first day, didn't complement my psyche. And, no matter my effort, that inital feeling of dread never fades. One of these jobs - a full time position after college - lasted four months. The other, fortunately for me, was an internship. It lasted two weeks.

Some jobs, though, always "felt right" - not only from the first day, but sometimes from the moment I walked in for the interview, or the moment I shook someone's hand. Maybe I was in a different mindset. Maybe I felt more determined, more disciplined, less entitled. More likely than not, though, it was simply a good chemistry - good fit.

In my experience, the deal breakers deteriorate the rapport. And it never gets better. The deal makers, on the other hand, lay a foundation of trust, comradery, and positivity that only grows as you continue there. Good rapport.

Good rapport happens when you get the sense that your employer is willing to go to bat for you. They like you, they believe in you, and they aren't afraid to say so. In turn, you begin to feel the same for them - you want to go to bat for them, too. You pound the Kool-Aid. You'd take a bullet. (Okay, maybe not that extreme... but in a metaphorical sense.)

And when you walk in each day feeling that way about your firm - like a fantastic life partner that means a lot to you - you're happier.

How do you feel when you walk into your work place? Burdened? Uplifted?
How do you feel as you walk out? Energized? Exhausted?

Choose a place that makes you feel good. The signifiers, if you're paying attention, will be obvious sooner rather than later.

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