You’ve landed your dream job, congratulations!

The first year of a new job is not unlike the first year of a marriage, except in the obvious ways, of course. You know you love the job, the company is a good fit, and your skills fit the job responsibilities.  You are compatible. But you’ve never spent every day together or figured out your routine together.

The First 90 Days

You started three weeks ago and you still don’t really know what you’re doing exactly. You still have trainings and meetings a lot, your workspace is still being set up and you’re slowly getting to know you, co-workers. You’re working at the easy stuff or the stuff you already knew how to do before you started.  You’re still a newbie.

It’s okay. Take your time.

The first 90 days are an opportunity for you to build a solid foundation for your time at the company, learn everything you need to learn, and get comfortable. It’s okay if after 30 days you wonder if it will ever happen and if at 60 days you’re still a little unsure. Really.

The Second 90 Days

You’re comfortable now and know what you’re doing to fulfill your responsibilities. The second 90 days at your new job are a time to evaluate your actual job, compared to what you thought it would be. What do you like doing best and what would you love if someone else took over? It’s too early to change anything, but start developing a plan to make your dream job even dreamier.

The Third 90 Days

This is the time when you put your plan into action. Approach your manager about your willingness to take on more of what you love. Be proactive about trying to tweak your job into exactly what you want, what will keep you there, what will keep you fulfilled. Your managers know what you’re capable of and, if you’ve been successful, they will want you to stay.

If it works, great!

If not…

The Fourth 90 Days

Not every job is going to be perfect, and you can’t expect them all to be. However, at this point, you have a pretty good idea of how “not-perfect” the role is and will be in the coming year(s). This is when you can think about the long term. There are lots of reasons to stay in a job, especially in today’s economy. And if the pros for staying far outweigh the cons – you’re in for a great finish to your first year.

But there could very well be another company out there that is a better fit for you and your experience. Get your resume out and add your current job, with your accomplishments so far. Think about your motivations for leaving and focus on positions that will improve upon them so you have a better experience next time around.

You never know what’s going to happen or what a place is really like until you’ve lived there for a while. Let the relationship develop, settle down, become comfortable. Don’t worry about the time it takes…just make sure it is the right place before you put down roots.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative