Takeaways and reflections from my first months at Facebook

What I’d share with anyone starting a new role

October 25, 2021

4 mins

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Starting a new role is an exciting period—it marks a new chapter in one’s career and the energy that comes from meeting new colleagues, diving into opportunities to spearhead meaningful impact, and the race to recollect fun facts about yourself for team introductions are all memorable moments of joining a novel team.

As a recently hired product designer on Facebook’s Creative X team, I wanted to share five tips I found helpful coming into my role:

1. Invest time into relationships.

Organize 1:1 coffee chats with your immediate team and work your way out to other partners within the organization. Learn who they are as people, what inspired them to be in the role they’re in, what their journey has been like, what they care about, and what brings them joy.

Some coffee chat questions collected from my own conversations:

  1. What led you to [Insert company here]?
  2. What do you wish you would’ve known when you started?
  3. What were some of your favorite projects or initiatives in the past?
  4. Who are your biggest inspirations?

I usually like to close the conversation by asking who they’d recommend I meet next; it creates an invaluable list of people to continue the feedback loop of coffee chats.

Illustration by UIGO Design

2. Create reoccurring meetings with stakeholders.

If you’re looking for a consistent way to build relationships from those you work closely with, reoccurring meetings will be a resourceful technique. Keep a running notes document for each 1:1—I include sections such as meeting agenda, notes, and action items to complete before the next occurrence. It’s a great way to set expectations, evaluations, answer open questions, and invest in your own personal development.

To save time, include topics ahead of time to discuss in the meeting notes and spend the first few minutes going over any tentative action items from the last meeting. Having a record of former conversations will be helpful when it comes time to share feedback during performance cycles and will also come in handy when referencing former conversations concerning work, resources, or links.

Illustration by UIGO Design

3. Use your fresh perspective to your advantage.

As a new hire, you’re entering your organization with a pair of fresh eyes. Spend the first few weeks understanding the processes over which the organization runs. Then, identity opportunities or gaps that could be improved upon and ideate solutions to present to your manager or collaborators.

Being proactive and taking initiative to propose improvements shows your investment into the team and ultimately company’s success—even “small wins” can go a long way in shaping impact on your team. Note: try to understand what’s been suggested in the past before pitching your ideas.

4. Be organized.

A huge component of the onboarding process is soaking in the plethora of resources to read and diving into all the helpful links for tools, existing libraries, and templates. Use your browser’s “Bookmarks Manager” to your advantage and create folders structures that make it easy for you to reference any resource easily and quickly.

Personally, I like to create new folders for each new project I’m involved in—making it easy for me to compartmentalize separate categories of links. Additionally, I try to create sub-folders when necessary if there are multiple forms or types of files (i.e. research studies, illustrations, prototypes, etc.)

Illustration by UIGO Design

5. Find a mentor.

One of the quickest and most effective ways of learning is to find someone who‘s been in your shoes before and is more knowledgable in the areas you’re hoping to grow in. There are always people willing to help if you ask.

Invest time into genuinely getting to know people you work with (inside and outside your teams). If there’s a potentially good fit, suggest a mentorship structure with that coworker and ask if they’d be willing to carve out time on a biweekly or monthly basis.

I’ve been fortunate to have had people provide sample performance reviews they’ve written, share decks to former culture initiatives they’ve spearheaded, and even been sent curated collections of links to people’s favorite pieces of work in art and design. Remember to pay it forward and help out the next new hire on your team feel comfortable in their own onboarding experience.

Recap

In short, here are the tips once again:

  1. Invest time into relationships.
  2. Create reoccurring meetings with stakeholders.
  3. Use your fresh perspective to your advantage.
  4. Be organized.
  5. Find a mentor.

Hope this advice helps anyone out there in their new roles! As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.

Thanks for reading! Follow my newsletter to receive links to provoking reads I’ve found helpful for my career and keep up-to-date on my newest blog posts. If you’d like to reach out, follow me on Twitter to continue the conversation. You can also check out my photography journey on Instagram or learn more about me from my website.

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