My First 90 Days: Accept That You Can’t Change the World in 3 Months
published by , on 22/12/2014

In this series, professionals share how they rocked — or didn’t! — the all-important first 90 days on the job. Follow the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #First90 in the body of your post).

I remember back in the day, before I started my own business, I was always very excited when I landed a new job. Every step forward in my career came with higher expectations. But I didn’t mind. I was eager to change the world. “Bring it on!”

My first day on the job usually felt like drinking water after running a marathon; it tastes just like champagne. But along the way I learned that too much champagne causes terrible headaches.

You see, the first few weeks everybody’s on a high. Everything is all new and shiny. But six to eight weeks on the job, many of us have a first lapse. Luckily, it is not routine kicking in. It is more of a reality check — you won’t be able to change the world overnight after all. Even the obvious takes time, regardless of your good intentions or people’s willingness to change. We tend to neglect that the company already existed before our arrival and that things might not have been perfect, but at least it worked. Your new colleagues made it work. Show some professional courtesy.

At the same time, people tend to feel a bit lost as expectations increase significantly. You are still trying hard to see the big picture and to keep up with your new colleagues, despite the fact that by now they start treating you as if you’ve been around forever.

So indeed, now is a good time for a nervous breakdown. “What have I done? I’ll never be able to make a difference. I made the worst career move ever. I need to get out of here.” Sounds familiar? Trust me: it does to a lot of people. After 15 years in recruiting, I can tell. Some look for a new challenge immediately, others even return to their old positions and some get stuck forever in self-pity. Sad.


My advice: keep calm and carry on. Accept that you have a lot to learn. Take every opportunity to do so and be patient. Listen to your co-workers, engage in conversations and try to understand why certain things have been done in certain ways forever. Do not give up and stay curious. It is an inseparable part of your growth trajectory. Trust me: you need to get through this phase to finally become the best possible man/woman for the job. After all, you are only getting started. Earn some credit and you might even turn things around sooner than expected.

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