Your first 90 days, hit the ground running

Your first 90 days, hit the ground running

Before my last career change, I was introduced to an incredibly helpful book, The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael D. Watkins. This book became an essential guide as I started my new role. Watkins argues that your first 90 days in a new role is an essential period of time not only for your immediate success, but for your overall career.

I often journal as it helps me to clarify my thoughts and emotions. And I find it particularly helpful during periods of change. Recently, I reread the journal I was keeping during the first 90 days in my new role and thought I’d share a few of my favourite passages to help you if you’re just beginning a new role.

  1. Make a good first impression. The first week on the job can range in emotions: From being overwhelmed, excited, anxious—to everything in between. It may be a new work environment, a new team, or a new supervisor. Introduce yourself to people and try your best to remember their names. Our desks do not have nametags so I created a map by writing down where folks sat in the office to help me remember them faster.
  2. Listen, Listen, Listen. You may be bright-eyed and excited to start rolling things out. I know I was! But it is so important to meet with key stakeholders, learn what they do, and listen carefully.
  3. Ask lots of questions. I am known amongst my friends to have multiple follow up questions. It is my way to seek clarity, to ensure I do not step on toes and to be efficient in my work. When starting a new job, do not be afraid to ask strategic and relevant questions as it will help you get up to speed quicker in your work.
  4. Define expectations with your manager. Within the first few weeks of starting, it is important to be open with your manager and establish expectations. Sometimes expectations are known, but you may need to embrace an ambiguous environment. A few things to consider discussing are how you will work together, their management style, how you will be assessed or if there are any resources needed.
  5. Have fun and be kind to yourself. Being comfortable in a new role takes time. You were hired for a reason and there is no doubt that along the way there may be mistakes or frustrations, but keep track of the journey. Track your mini-milestones and celebrate your quick wins. You’ve got this!

What do you do in the first 90 days to help making transitioning easier on you and everyone else? Email us at

Author Biography

Nicole Yeasting, BA’11 is the Manager, Alumni Career Education with alumni UBC. She is responsible for implementing and overseeing the alumni career development program for more than 340,000 UBC alumni.

Over the past 10 years, Nicole designed and taught a Career Development Course (BA 520) for graduate students at UBC, worked as a career coach for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as, gained experience in recruitment, human resources, and employee engagement. She genuinely cares about people’s professional development and supporting people with their career journey.

Nicole has a BA from the University of British Columbia and an Emotional Intelligence Certification from RocheMartin.