I started a new job towards the end of June, and I haven't been quiet about the fact that it's been a rough adjustment. I don't feel like part of the team and I don't feel like I'm contributing to our user-facing work. I could write a million blogs about all the things that bother me and how I got to this point, but it's been almost 2 months and I'm ready to move forward. I don't want to focus on what's wrong, I want to focus on getting into a good work routine. I know the struggles will continue for a little bit, but overall, I'm ready to get down to business.
The first thing I want to do is get back on track with my timing. On my first day, my manager shared a doc with 7-30-90 day goals for me. We never revisited that doc after 30 days. We were too focused on my problems. At our next 1:1, I'd like to review this doc and get started on the 30 day goals that I missed. I'm hoping that I'm not too far off track and that I can get started on these goals quickly. I also want to start looking towards my 90 day goals. I've been hesitant to take on long-term projects or get involved in new things because I don't know how long I will be at this company. But if I don't get involved in any team-wide activities, then this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and I'm never going to feel like I fit in. If I want to stay at this company for a few years (which was my original plan), then I need to start acting like I'll still be working here in six months.
I also want to make sure I'm primarily working on projects that feel productive to me. Most of the projects I've worked on so far (including one that I am leading) have been taking existing features that are written using older technology and converting them to more modern technology. These are interesting (and extremely important) projects, but they tend to take a long time and they aren't really something that have a major impact on our users. Working on these projects has not felt very fulfilling, and while I know I am contributing, I feel more productive when I'm contributing to new features (rather than just tech debt). I don't mind working on some tech debt and I know it needs to get done, but I'm hoping to talk to my team lead and emphasize that I'd like my next few tickets (after I finish this project) to be related to feature work and not tech debt. I know that not every project I work on will have deep meaning to me, but the more I am able to work on things that have meaning to me, the better I will feel showing up to work every day.
The most important thing I can do to make work better is ensure that I'm comfortable speaking up when I struggle. After conversations with a few people, I'm starting to understand that my teammates are a good resource for me and it's okay to ask questions and ask for someone's time. I know of a few people that I'm comfortable reaching out to, and I want to expand that list. I'm hoping that when I do struggle or come across a concern, I know who to talk to and am confident in my ability to reach out. The only way that I can ensure that I am comfortable at work is by speaking out when I struggle and getting the help I need. One thing I've learned is that people are willing to help if I ask and if what I need is in service of the company's (and my team's) goals. So what I need to do is be comfortable asking for help and learn how to ask in a way that shows that I'm focused on contributing to company goals and being part of the work we do.
My first six weeks of work were pretty rough. I didn't know if I could make this job work. But I've come to realize that the main problem was my attitude - when things started off a little difficult, I started looking for more problems instead of looking for solutions. I like my company and the people I work with, and I want to be successful at this job. And that means focusing on getting back on track, doing the work I want to do (within the company's goals and plans), and becoming more comfortable when I need help. I know I can make this job work, and I'm excited to get back to business and start being successful as part of my new team.