Assert Yourself in a Brand-New Job

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 7:15 PM EDT

When you're hired for a newly created position, you have a great opportunity to make the job your own. On the flip side, you are filling a void. Job descriptions can change quickly (if they exist at all), you may not have the resources you need, or your boss might simply not know what to do with you.

The Wall Street Journal's recently addressed this issue, profiling Kim Simon, a pharmaceutical employee who moved cross-country to see his duties diminish and spend his first week working out of the cafeteria. After working with an outside coach, he was able to overcome the obstacles and succeed in his new role.

Here are some lessons you can take from Simon's experience.

  • Take an active role in defining your new role. Ultimately, the person most affected by your success or failure in this job is you. Your job description might start off nebulous, but it's your responsibility to make sure it ends up being what you signed up for or something your equally happy with.
  • Gain credibility by forging relationships. Get to know the key players and their expectations of you and your new position. Involve them in brainstorming and decision-making to create your own internal network.
  • Stay visible. Attend important meetings to make sure everyone knows you're involved. Simon even crashed some meetings uninvited, which was fine with his new colleagues and helped him stay on top of important decisions.
The article also subtly addresses the political issues involved. As the new kid on the block, you may find you need that internal network of allies to help you navigate any red tape or resistance from coworkers and outside consultants who've been doing the work you're taking on.