What Matters when Starting a Job

First impressions matter! Here are some things to watch out for when negotiating or starting a job.

Stever Robbins
3-minute read
Episode #108

In today's post,  we’ll get on top of the things you need to master when starting a job so you can kick your career off to a good start.

Readers and listeners have written in, ferklempt that their job isn’t going well. Sometimes, it’s too late. But sometimes, the right moves at the start of a job lay the foundation for everything that comes next. First impressions are important. That’s why I wear jeans and a T-shirt. It’s my deeply rooted fear of success. My therapist and I are working on it.

In order to be successful at any new job, there are a few things you must do before accepting the offer.

Make Sure You Have the Right Job Title

Your starting job title matters. If you change titles, it’s never just a change. People consider it a promotion, demotion, or lateral move. If they think you’re being promoted or demoted, the politics start.

Due to a terrible mixup, a new manager was given an individual contributor job by mistake. In the month it took to sort out the problem, people’s impressions were shaped by her initial introduction and title. When moved to the job she was hired for, the gossip mill already said, “Why should she be promoted to manager after just six weeks? Other people have been here longer.” If she had started as a manager, no one would have batted an eyelash. But once they thought “individual contributor,” management meant promotion.

People also remember your first role. If they know you as a people person, they might never trust your math skills. If they know you as a numbers geek, they may not let you work with people or make strategy.

Make Sure You Have the Right Starting Salary

Your starting salary determines your salary going forward. That isn’t psychological; it’s mathematical.

Your starting salary determines your salary going forward. That isn’t psychological; it’s mathematical. Raises are a percentage of your salary. If you’re making $30,000, a 5% raise is $1,500. If you’re making $60,000, that same 5% raise is $3,000. The rich get richer faster than the poor get solvent. This makes your initial salary terribly important, maybe even worth trading benefits for. People who start at different salaries and get identical percentage raises will have vastly different salaries after a few raises.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.