New Job? No Problem

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I recently began a new role – a coordinator position – and it got me thinking about what I need to do to get off on the right foot.  Here are three suggestions I came across in my research that will be useful in any TESL work environment. In this blog, I want to discuss 3 keys to a successful transition into new employment.

Occupy a learner position 

First, quickly learn expected behaviors. It is a reality that your coworkers will be making quick judgments about your compatibility with the role and organization, so it is important not to violate any established norms. If possible, mirror the actions of those who occupy a similar rank. Remember that in the beginning – regardless of your experience in comparable contexts – you should occupy a learner position. You can be viewed as threatening or overbearing if you are too eager and overstep your responsibilities.  

Connect with your colleagues 

Second, identify the people who will be necessary for your success. Some of these difference makers will be obvious (i.e., managers, supervisors), but there will be others with less visible influence. Take the time to understand how your colleagues are connected to fully understand social hierarchies and power dynamics. Once this knowledge is established, work on building authentic relationships with these people. Approach conversations with genuine curiosity to learn about them and how you can help solve their problems and achieve goals. Research has found that those who take a broad approach to networking in their institutions early in their careers advance more quickly.  

Bridge knowledge gaps

Third, recognize the areas in which you need to strengthen your skills. Don’t assume that the skills that got you the job in the first place will be adequate to let you excel in the new post. Generally speaking, success in a new role depends on building established skills and gaining new abilities. Savvy employees will locate individuals in their network who can bridge knowledge gaps.  

I genuinely hope these tips will be of use to those starting or hoping to start a new job. With any luck, you will hit the ground running! 

5 questions to ask when starting a new job 

Helpful Resources

5 questions to ask when starting a new job

How to succeed quickly in a new role


Heather Donnelly has worked for multiple EAP programs since becoming an instructor in 2010. She currently works as the Supplemental Instruction Coordinator at Lambton College and as a PT faculty member at Fanshawe College.


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