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  • Writer's pictureVicki Ryan

Nail Your First 90 Days at a New Job

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Recently, three of my coaching Clients landed big jobs in new organizations. Each had set an intention to get to that next level, Director and VP.

Each visualized hefty compensation increases and got them. Each was ready to make the change.

Great, right?

Yes, this is great!

So why within 90 days of being in the big new gig had each called for a coaching session. One was desperately urgent.

Here’s what I heard:

“I think they think they hired the wrong person.” Social Media Director
“I’m not adding value. I can’t figure this place out. This isn’t going to work.” HR Leader
“This was a mistake. I’ve given it 90 days; I need an exit strategy.” L&D Leader

What was going on? Coincidence? Predictable pattern? I wanted to know but even more, I needed to know.

If this was a “thing” that my clients experience, I had to understand.

Here’s what I found...

Leading up to the offer:

They prepared. Resumes, which can be the big stall to starting a search, were revised with just enough information, facts and figures to tease the recruiters/hiring managers. STAR responses were identified. And then we practiced with senior leaders in my network. All three interviewed brilliantly and the offers came.

First few weeks:

They went through the companies’ onboarding programs. Supplementing this, and as part of my coaching practice for job seekers, each had developed their own onboarding plan.

This starts with FIND THE BATHROOMS FIRST (a book by my colleague and dear friend, Roy J. Blitzer about the first 90 days on the job), learning the role, meeting new people, etc.

All good, right? Not so much. This is where the happy ending blew up and they never really launched in these coveted new roles. What’s up with that?

90 days and counting:

The net-net ah-ha was pretty simple: These highly talented professionals were not showing up on the job the way they had showed up throughout the interview process. Despite the fact that they did so much so well to get the job, and to launch well, they didn’t show up well.

What I heard…

The organization was too complex.
The new location wasn’t great.
The change of managers in the first 30 days threw them off.

Reason or excuse, it didn’t matter. They were not who they said they were. They were imposters. But they weren’t!

They needed to re-emerge, re-engage, re-establish, and re-launch in a value-obvious way. Happily ever after, they all have. This article by Michael Watkins covers this critical 90 day period.

My story:

Becoming a Director for the first time within the same organization is a fairly easy shift.

Typically you’re already doing the role, or much of it. Same team. Similar workload. New peer group. Senior leader visibility, etc. But when it came time to expand my career landscape to include OD (I’d been L&D and LD) I left a company where I had a solid reputation for leading and developing people and driving results to witnessing my confidence in my capabilities tank lower every day.

It was a brutal period, and I too, thought “maybe I should cut my losses” but my coach, friends, and tennis got me to about 15 months.

Looking back, there are lots of things I could have done differently in that critical 90 days, and since then, I have.

What is your story? Email me and tell me about you.

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