Questions to Ask when Beginning a New Job

If you’ve earned a new position, congrats! When beginning a new job, it’s important to feel comfortable with the company and your new boss and team. During your first couple of days on the job, ask some of the following questions to help focus your work and set goals. • What are the top priorities for the company and our team? This question is vital to your success. If you think their priorities are XZY but they are really ABC, all of your work may be in vain. Also, ask which projects take top priority. You need to learn to budget your time.

How do you prefer to communicate and approve projects? Establishing a strong communication pattern with your boss will save you endless headaches and wasted time. If your supervisor is not one for interruptions, they may get upset if you keep dropping by to get their feedback. It may be best to set appointments.

How and when will my performance be evaluated? Asking this question will help you structure your work so it is easily measured and evaluated. The more profitable/positive results you can show, the better.

Will there be opportunity for advancement within the company? This will let your boss know you have long-term goals in mind. Caution: This is a question to ask after you have been there awhile. You may want to ask a co-worker you’ve gotten to know, “Do people move around a lot in this company?” This will give you a feel for the type of answer your boss will likely give.

Make sure you start off on the right foot and familiarize yourself with the operations of your new company and your team/boss. And to those lucky folks who are growing their team and bringing on new employees, please express the above info to your new hires! A welcoming work environment is positive for everyone.

Are you inspired? Feeling good? In control? If not, take action!

If you're not feeling happy, why not? Here are your options: you can lament increasing unemployment, a shaking economy, a cold winter, a New Year's resolution not met, a kids' bad report card, a gray sky, and any number of other depressing mid-winter realities. Or, you can change your mindset. You can decide to live a positive, optimistic life. That doesn't mean Pollyanna or rose-colored glasses. That means you are in charge, and at the center of your life. You are standing in your power with confidence over the things you can change - and with acceptance of the things you cannot.

Fearful about losing your job? You aren't alone. In Ohio, where I live, our state just reached 7.8 percent unemployment, a number not seen since in decades. It's scary. But it's not immobilizing. You cannot be the one who sits frozen with fear. Those are the folks who go down with the ship. This is a time for action. To decide what it is that you, the Real You, wants to do, and who you want to be. Perhaps it is the time to start the business of your dreams, on the side for now, as you wait to see what happens where you are. Or maybe, instead of waiting for something to happen to you, you'll make a plan and take action for yourself.

Perhaps in this time of great uncertainty you'll step into the center of your life and take charge. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, the tough start their own businesses. As odd as it may seem, now probably is one of the best times in history to go for it. Back in the recession of 1991, there were record numbers of people starting businesses. In fact, in the last two recessions, 77 percent of the net new jobs created in the country were created by micro enterprises - businesses with five or fewer employees, according to Women's Economic Ventures in Santa Barbara, California.

It's OK to start small. If you dream of becoming your own boss, and you are passionate about what you want to do, now may be the perfect time to turn a hobby into a business. There is a concept that originated in the Great Depression called the "lipstick factor" - that people will still indulge in small luxury items such as cosmetics while they cut back on big luxury purchases. In fact, employment rose in the cosmetics industry during the last two recessions, even as it fell in all other segments. And of course, there is always a need for the other basics: food, babysitting, household products, green anything and the like.

Inspired? I hope so. Instead of feeling out of control, start dreaming. Look around at the marketplace and see if you could fit into it with your own business. I know, many small businesses fail, but many others succeed. And hey, if you can make it in this economy, just imagine what will happen when happy days are finally here again.