The Reality of Being the First In a New Position

When you start a new position it’s exciting and scary all at once. When I finished college and decided to take a break by working at my usual summer job in my hometown instead of jumping straight into the workforce I never thought (and definitely wasn’t planning) that I would land a job within my desired field within six months.

When I began working for Alderwood Resort Management I was nervous. Not because it was a new job for me, but because it was a new position for the company. With the growing number of properties that Alderwood had acquired since it’s founding in the late 90s, a designated position for marketing and communication was needed. Enter young professional me.

I knew when I was offered the job that there wasn’t a set-in-stone job description and that we would sort of make it up as we went. The foundations of the job were pretty basic at the time and I had somewhere to start. I began part-time while I finished my summer job and then became full-time in January. The period of part-time work was a lot of setup and figuring out the simple things. It filled the 16 or so hours a week that I worked and it seemed fine.

When I began full-time it was a lot harder to fill in the empty task-less hours. And even after 7 months, it still is. That’s the reality of stepping into a brand new position. No one has been at this desk before and it’s not going to be easy to find things to fill the gaps that have never had to be filled before.

My job title is Marketing and Communications Coordinator and I am the one and only in the Marketing Department. A lot of what I have done so far I started from scratch. It hasn’t been easy. But it is getting better now that I’ve worked around a bit with some things that I’ve learned work well and some things that don’t. It’s a lot of trial and error but its getting work done.

Here are a couple of things that I came to realize within about a month of being a full-time employee:

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No matter how annoying you feel, no question you ask is going to be stupid. You’re new to the company, new to the position and probably have a ton of questions. Ask them.
  2. Ask for help. This goes hand-in-hand with number one. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Again, you’re new and those around you have probably been in your position before, so they generally won’t mind helping you work through something.
  3. Be honest about what you need. It might make you feel weird at first but your employer hired you to do a job so don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need to do that job. Keep it within reason though.
  4. Take breaks. If you’re like me and have never had an office job where you sit for eight or nine hours a day you need to take a break every couple of hours. It helps your body as well as your mind to get up and walk around or get some fresh air.
  5. Continue your education. Of course okay it with your supervisor, but put some time aside to learn something at least one time a week. This could be as simple as reading an article about your position or the industry you’re in or even watching a lynda.com video about software you’re not an expert on.
  6. Chat with others in your field. Connect with old classmates, past professors or others in your department (if there’s more than just you) and ask them about their work experience and what’s helped them.
  7. Be prepared to have downtime. Especially if your position is brand new you will have downtime that you need to fill. This is a great time to continue your education (#5).
  8. Write down everything you do. If you’re in a similar position to me, you have to write down everything you do. This way you can confer with your supervisor during reviews and verify that you are doing what you should be doing.
  9. Explore new options. Research things that other companies similar to yours have been doing. Keep track of trends or new technology. This gives you something to present to your superiors and shows initiative.
  10. Ask for tasks. This was really hard for me to get over because I felt like a burden constantly asking for things to do. Nine times out of ten your supervisor is going to have stuff for you to do but hasn’t added it to your to-do list because they’re busy too.

When you start any new job it’s generally a good idea to be prepared for a lot of unknown. Even if you’re simply moving up within your company there will be a lot to learn. Being open to learning about your job and taking all the advice you can get is only going to help you in your new position. I’ve certainly learned a lot about the company I work for and how I can better market our properties and services.

My advise is to be open-minded and don’t give up on this new opportunity. It might be scary and overwhelming starting from the beginning but it’s only going to aid in your professional development.

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