They Offered Me the Job!
Congratulations! You have been reading the articles on ‘Careers in Government’, used the tools, polished up your resume, wrote a highly focused cover letter and practiced your interview skills. A few weeks ago, they interviewed you, asked you back for a follow up interview and a few days ago, they phoned to say you got the job. Well done! All that is left is to go back, sign the paperwork and you start next Monday. From there, it really is a case of do the job and your career is assured. That is true, sort of.
At the start of your first day with any organization, there are bound to be a few butterflies. Whether it is your first job or your fifth job, this is a common experience. The truth is, your work life is but a circle. It starts at the Recruitment process, where the job is first advertised, then the Selection process (which involved the interview) took place and now you are into the Induction phase, often referred to as ‘Onboarding’. Typically, after Induction / Onboarding there is the Professional Growth / Management phase, though this can occur whilst you are being fully inducted. ‘Training and Further Development’ ensues, followed by transfer to or winning a New Position within the same organization. Should you choose to pursue a promotion elsewhere or you decide to retire, then Separation occurs.
Onboarding is a critical part of your success, whether your inexperienced or experienced in your work. The reality is that every new organization you work for, even if it’s a different hospital with the same Department of Health or a new school with the same Education Authority, is a different context. The purpose of Onboarding is to familiarize you with the culture of the new organization (the way we do business) and ensuring that you are across Department policies, including Strategic Planning and protocols at the local level. It would also include your compliance obligations (including Work Health Safety requirements) and ensuring you are either maintaining your accreditation / registration / license to practice, where that is relevant or working to move this from Graduate to Proficient or Full Accreditation.
For example, it is not uncommon in Teaching or Nursing for you to start after graduation with a Provisional or Graduate Accreditation. Typically, you would have a mentor and a supervisor (ideally not the same person) as you demonstrate that you are proficient against a set of standards, often set by Government. Moving to Proficient or Fully Accredited will often involve your supervisor and your person in charge (Principal, Head of Nursing, etc.) to complete a report on you. It is this evidence-based approach that leads to a recommendation that you be regarded as a fully-fledged member of that profession. It doesn’t end there.
Your registration / accreditation / license will have a period upon which you need to renew. Typically, this means that you have met the Compulsory Professional Development Hours for your profession, often mandated by Government. The medical profession, professions such as nursing, teaching, law, engineering, accounting, etc. all have these requirements in some form. For the naive graduate, thinking that someone else will look after this for you, is a major mistake. The person that should have the greatest interest in your career is you. A lot of newly appointed people find that there is a probationary period, during which either the employer or you can part company, with relative ease.
Onboarding is a critical part of your success, whether your inexperienced or experienced in your work.
According to McCrindle Research, the following was the state of play in the Australian Job Market in 2014.
“Today the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years (3 years and 4 months), based on the voluntary turnover of around 15% per annum. If this plays out consistently in the life of a school leaver today, and assuming they start their working life aged 18 (in a part-time role) and are retired from all work by 75, they will have 17 different employers in their lifetime. Based on 3 jobs before upskilling or career changing, this means that they will also have 5 separate careers in their lifetime.”
(McCrindle Research “Job Mobility in Australia June 18, 2014”)
There is every reason to believe that this is true in most developed economies around the world.
During this Induction / Onboarding period, which depending on your experience and the nature of the job could go from a few weeks to a few years, you may well be asked to engage in the Professional Growth / Management phase, especially if you are coming with some experience.
This can often be as simple as sitting down with a designated colleague to negotiate 2-3 Goals that will be your focus for the year. The achievement of these goals is reviewed throughout the year. The process is repeated each year. The aim is to align your work for the year with the organization’s strategic plan and your own professional goals that you might have for yourself.
This is where the rubber hits the road. These goals can be connected to contract reviews, pay reviews and bonuses. That means that you should give very careful thought as to what goals you are setting. It also means that from the outset, you need to have some notion of where you see your career going over the next 5-10 years. Be mindful of the McCrindle research above. You are likely to have 3 jobs this decade alone. Prepare for that.
If you have a Personal Plan, you will have already reflected on this. Check out this Personal Plan Template, developed and used by this author. The ultimate goal is Professional and Personal Transformation so that you can be the best professional and the best person you can be. In the process you will reinvent yourself and pursue new avenues that you may initially have thought beyond you.
Business Leader and Philosopher, Jim Rohn sums it up well.
“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” Jim Rohn