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The first three months in a new job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Whether you’re entering the workforce as an assistant or as a senior leader, you’ll want to make a strong first impression. It’s a time to start fresh, with new opportunities and challenges.
Whatever the job, here are a few guiding principles for you, based on my many years as a leader in government. I especially encourage new Federal employees to take these tips to heart as you learn to navigate the public-sector landscape.
Your first 90 days on a job is the time to show what you’re made of and to prepare your path for the future. So listen, learn, and follow the advice of a mentor. Whether your new job is making copies or analyzing policy, success is about how you handle the work you are given and the commitment you show to the job and the mission. If you take that to heart you will go far.
January is National Mentoring Month and it’s a perfect time to spread the word about the values and possibilities of mentoring and celebrate the Federal workers who take the time to teach, inspire and help guide their colleagues in their careers.
Throughout the Federal government, agencies are finding innovative ways to foster the goals of National Mentoring Month, which are embodied in the President’s proclamation: “America is at its best when we lift each other up, when we pursue our individual goals while never forgetting that we are bound as one nation and as one people…”
I know I have been fortunate to have wonderful mentors along the way in my career and hope that colleagues whose lives I’ve touched have benefitted from my mentoring.
At OPM, we are convening a roundtable discussion next week for employees to share their experiences and backgrounds and hopefully meet someone they can mentor or who can mentor them.
The governmentwide Flash Mentoring Program, which the Chief Human Capital Officers Council coordinates, has provided opportunities and programs at agencies throughout the government to help employees get tips on mentoring and to learn about the benefits of mentoring. In fact, a Flash Mentoring session is scheduled for next week at the Department of Education.
Since the Flash Mentoring Program’s first session in the fall of 2011, more than 600 federal workers have been mentored by more than 100 mentors and 27 agencies have participated in mentoring sessions.
But mentoring doesn’t require a formal program. Look around you. Find someone who you believe can help you develop your career, someone who may have a skills expertise that you would like to acquire. And look for someone who you can help reach his or her potential, who you can partner with and coach.
The President’s goal is to create a culture of mentorship throughout the Federal government. Let’s start now during National Mentoring Month and keep going during the year. Let’s make mentoring a way of life throughout this great Federal workforce.
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