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How to maintain the honeymoon phase at a new job

We asked a career expert how to keep the good vibes going with your current employer – and when to start looking for a new job

Colleagues talk with documents standing in a meeting room.

The first day at a new job is full of opportunities – especially if you’ve finally landed a job in an industry or organization where you hope to stay for the long term. With new employees, new opportunities and new potential for growth, the honeymoon period at your new job can be one of the most rewarding periods of your career.

But what happens when the honeymoon is over? When new hires become jaded colleagues and new opportunities turn into a backlog of assignments, how can you maintain the sense of possibility and optimism you had when you first arrived? Is it possible to get some of the excitement back into new jobs, even after a year or two of meetings and emails?

The answer is of course yes – but it will take some work.

That’s why we set up a Q&A with Laura Mills, Head of Early Career Insights at Forage. We asked Mills how to stay motivated in a new job, how to maintain good relationships with coworkers, and how to seek out the kinds of opportunities that can make every day feel as exciting as your first day on the job.

We also asked Mills, who has been helping people build careers for over two decades, how you can choose the type of workplace that’s most likely to suit you—not just today, but as your career continues to grow.

Read on for her tips on how to keep the good vibes going as you settle into a new job.

In this article:

What separates a good workplace from a bad one?

A good workplace is basically a workplace where employees feel comfortable, accepted and empowered. These feelings of comfort, acceptance and empowerment are achieved in different ways depending on each individual’s needs and preferences. Being in tune with your values ​​and personal priorities is the key to finding a “good place to work” for yourself.

If you want to identify workplace potential, ask questions! The hiring process is a time for you to interview companies as well. It is important that you think about what you want and need from a workplace before you interview so that you come to the interview prepared to assess the potential of feeling accepted and empowered.

Some questions that can help you gain information about a company’s workplace and culture include:

  • What were the main qualities that attracted you to this company and what keeps you here?
  • What is a typical day like?
  • Why did the last person who had the job leave and where did they land after leaving?
  • How would you describe the company’s work environment or culture?
  • Are there any major strategic changes planned or underway, and if so, what can you share about them?

If you want more information about company culture, read the latest news articles, press releases, latest earnings reports or even customer reviews. These inputs can reveal a lot about a company and its values. You can also consult trusted third-party sources, such as Glassdoor or Comparably, to see what past and current team members have to say about the company. See low scores or an influx of negative reviews as a red flag.

You can also take advantage of the crowdsourcing forums on Fishbowl, a career advice app that provides insight into current events indexed by company and industry. Use Fishbowl and your personal network to reach out to professionals who currently or have recently worked for the company. What they say about:

  • Their everyday life?
  • Their professional development and personal development?
  • The company’s philosophy on salary and performance management?

If you are in a good workplace, what can you do to maximize your good experience?

Seek out mentors – you don’t just have to rely on your hiring manager for support and coaching. Ask if your company has a mentoring or buddy program. If they don’t, maybe you can inspire them to start one.

Even if there isn’t a formal mentoring program, make sure you take steps to meet new people by attending events and creating networking chats to introduce yourself and learn more about the leaders in your company. Peers are just as important in your network as leaders, so be sure to reach out to your peers to expand your lateral network.

Speak up and share your feedback. You were hired for many reasons, including the point of view you bring. New hires are sometimes reluctant to ask for or give feedback, but doing so can go a long way toward establishing healthy working relationships—and, by extension, a happy work environment. “Stop, start, continue” is often a good starting point for exchanging feedback, as each of you can describe some things you want the other individual to stop doing, some they should start, and some they should continue.

If you find yourself in a less-than-great workplace, what can you do to turn things around?

Start by determining why you consider the workplace to be “less than good”. Some problems or pain points are easier to fix than others. For example, say you no longer enjoy the day-to-day tasks of your role; maybe it’s because you’re ready to take on new challenges and opportunities. It’s a conversation that might be worth having with your boss.

Ask for stretch opportunities to give yourself room to grow and show your potential. If you see something that needs improvement, speak up but be sure to outline potential solutions, not just point out the problem.

Choosing to leave a company is a big decision. If you’re completely out of step with a company’s culture or values, then it’s time to consider looking for new opportunities. Keep in mind that you’ll want to research your next opportunity so you can be sure to find a better fit for yourself and avoid a similar situation. Ask yourself what didn’t work and be sure you can address it in your next role.

And if you choose to leave, be aware of how small the world is. You’re likely to cross paths with your soon-to-be ex-colleagues, so give plenty of notice and work hard until your last moments on the job.

What should you do at the one-year, two-year, and five-year marks to ensure you’re still getting the most out of a great work environment?

Celebrate! Ideally, your company will celebrate your anniversary with you. Consider these milestones a reminder of self-reflection.

What have you learned and achieved in the past year and how can it be translated into new growth and development goals? Does the company help you meet them? Have you had major changes in life or experiences that caused what you valued in a company to change?

Have your company’s values ​​or leadership changed and is it still a good fit for you? Is everyone still committed to creating a positive work environment?

In other words, consider whether you’re still fit and happy in your role, and what, if anything, can be done to improve your work-life balance. If your workplace is still a good fit, be sure to express your thanks for the support and growth along the way. If the fit starts to fail, speak up and see if there’s an opportunity to make changes to better fit things for yourself.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigating life insurance decisions, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they fit your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be used for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to obtain advice from their own tax or legal advisor.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a term life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in some states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in some states, including NC) issued by CM Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Police and driver form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by AM Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is valid from 1 April 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other credit rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The driver is not available in all states and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual is responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made available under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party providers (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, visit: https://havenlife.com/plus

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