Hit the ground running

Hit the ground running

Bisnett, Shylo

New job jitters don’t stand a chance

CONGRATULATIONS! Against all odds, you’ve landed your dream job. But what’s next? Making a smooth transition from one office to the next can be complicated, but not necessarily arduous. just like the first day of school, your first day at a new job is fraught with trepidation, You’re eager to prove yourself and build bonds with your new coworkers, but even the most confident person worries that everything won’t go as planned.

We’ve asked CAlAs who have been in your shoes, as well as human resources personnel, for their advice. Here are a few steps toward making your transition as painless as possible.

Manage your expectations

Ask yourself what you honestly believe your new job will be like. Do you plan to make your mark on the office with innovative suggestions? Do you expect all your coworkers and supervisors to shower you with praise? Once you level with yourself about what you hope your job will be like, examine whether or not your expectations are realistic. Keep your hopes up that you will be successful and happy at your new job, but know you may have some struggles finding your niche. If you anticipate perfection, you are sure to be disappointed.

Consider the expectations your new employer may have of you, as well. Keri Mizell, a senior staffing consultant at PACE Staffing, places medical assistants and office managers in the Pacific Northwest. She notes that employers desire flexible team players who are able to leam quickly.

Don’t try to guess what employers want. Mary Olshewski, national clinical manager at Kelly Healthcare Resources, a nationwide staffing firm based in Troy, Mich, believes you should be direct. Sit down with your supervisors and have a conversation about what they want out of you. If you believe you may fall short in certain areas, be honest and ask for guidance.

Once you know what to expect, it’s time to leam more about the specifics of the job.

Do your homework

In your past positions, you have picked up useful knowledge that definitely can be applied to your new job, but you can always learn more.

If possible, set aside a few weeks between leaving your old job and starting your new one. Don’t just spend this time relaxing by the pool. Take the opportunity to review the skills or programs you’ll need to use in your new job. For instance, if your previous job didn’t require you to perform many necdlesticks or use a particular software program, Mizcll advises you to take extra classes and gain mastery of these skills. Williams, for instance, reviewed medical terminology before taking her last position.

Joni Reed-Cable, medical office manager and quality coordinator with Indiana’s Riverview Medical Group, remembered a specific job transition where research was key. She took a position assisting with research for pharmaceutical trials, “f knew T would have similar clinical responsibilities with research subjects as with past internal medicine patients,” she explains, but Reed-Cable knew she needed more information. She interviewed the staff at her new job and learned all about the types of studies underway and how her clinical skills would be used.

Make friends, not waves

Since we spend more time at work than at home, your office environment must be an enjoyable one. It is imperative that you forge good relationships with your fellow employees and supervisors. How do you start off on the right foot?

Heather Martin, CMA, an administrative director at Montana’s Eagle Mount, which offers therapeutic and recreational activities for those with disabilities, advises new hires to befriend a coworkcr immediately. This coworker can make introductions, give a thorough tour, and offer additional tips.

Mizell often hears from employers that the best employees stay open to others’ ideas, but also take the initiative to make the workplace more efficient. Olshewski seconds this advice and encourages new hires to share their experiences, but she advises against trying to recreate a previous job environment. “Don’t say ‘This isn’t the way I’ve done it in the past,'” she cautions.

Both Williams and Martin stress that you should be reserved until you gain the respect of your coworkers and supervisors. “Sometimes changing the surroundings can make others feel very uncomfortable,” Williams cautions. Small steps over time may go farther than drastic changes right away. Once you gain the ear of those around you, put together a clear plan detailing your proposed changes and table it for discussion. Receive criticism-both constructive and otherwise-with grace. With time and effort, you are sure to become a valued member of your team.

Organize your workspace

Everybody feels lost those first few days on the job, but as a medical assistant, you don’t have the opportunity to waste much time finding your way. Organising your workspace will help you find your way around and identify areas for improvement. “Making your job yours is very important to your happiness and success,” says Martin, but don’t feel pressured to completely restructure the office.

Basic organization pays off with added efficiency. Set up your space so that you can find things intuitively. Make sure you keep the needs of your coworkers in mind. Organize files and paperwork that are handy for yourself and for others, as well. Explain changes to the office in a staff meeting and make sure everyone feels comfortable with your adjustments. “Keep a pad of paper ready for any ideas … to improve your job or work area,” says Martin.

Put it all together

By following these steps, your new-job jitters don’t stand a chance. Project confidence, even if you don’t feel completely steady. Effective preparation gives you the foundation you need to make your first days and weeks on the job enjoyable. Remember, you won your new position because you were the best candidate. Now all that’s left is tor you to prove it.

Shylo Bisnett is a journalist, editor, and copywriter with five years of experience writing employee communications, consumer profiles, and lifestyle articles.

Copyright American Association of Medical Assistants Sep/Oct 2003

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