The first few weeks in a job are vital to your future so plan to use the time effectively, writes Barbara McCarthy

Starting a new job? The prospect is exciting, but make sure your best intentions to get off to a good start are not in vain. Research conducted by Development Dimensions International, a global human resources consulting firm, shows that 53% of managers and executives hired from outside an organisation are gone within a year.

In the wider population, almost half of those starting a job are gone within 18 months, according to Leadership IQ, an American-based training firm that studied 20,000 newly hired employees over three years.

So what is going wrong? “The majority of people don’t leave companies for greater opportunities or more money. They generally leave because they are not happy with their previous company’s culture or their previous bosses,” said Rowan Manahan, the managing director of Fortify Services, the career management firm.

… Like lovers on the rebound, they can end up in a new job without having given serious consideration to what it may be like. “When somebody rushes into finding a job, they often don’t do enough research about their new employer,” he said.

… Many assume that if they throw themselves in, they will impress their new superiors, but that is not always the best way forward, says Manahan. “It is far better if you take a measured approach,” he said. “Say little and learn more.”

… Recognise that each company is different. Just because you worked in an IT firm and you are starting in another IT company of the same size does not mean things will be the same. “Learn the lie of the land,” he said. “Find out what the bosses are like and what your colleagues are like.” Talk to people. “You don’t have much time for first impressions,” he said. “If you don’t utilise that time at the outset, you will lose out in the long run.”

… Playing teacher’s pet will not impress your colleagues. “You need your colleagues and if you don’t get them onside at the beginning, it will be very difficult to do so later,” said Manahan.

… Don’t follow Gordon Gekko’s maxim that “Lunch is for wimps” either. Put in reasonable hours and start as you mean to go on. “If you are in the office for 70 to 80 hours a week at the beginning, you will give the impression that it will always be like this,” said Manahan. But that kind of exertion has obvious ramifications for your health and personal life.

Full article on the Sunday Times website.