Title Card - Starting A Job With Minimal Training

Starting A Job With Minimal Training

When you start a new position, it’s generally expected that in the beginning, you will have a fairly lengthy period of learning. You won’t know anything about how your new company likes to operate, and you will have to be trained and given expectations, all while ensuring you understand them before getting started. Some companies give you a full suite of training, providing you with a full preparation before you’re allowed to even touch your work, but others are quite the opposite. There are many that will throw you into your work with little to no direction, leaving it up to you to determine how to ensure you are succeeding and doing the best that you can do.

My previous job was a prime example of a team that was giving me all the training I could ever ask for. I received almost two months of solid training with over a dozen different trainers, and only then was I given the tools to do my actual work. I have never felt more prepared for a job than I did at that moment! It is in quite stark contrast to my current position, which gives very little in terms of direction at the start. There are a number of reasons for that, but the main one is that the team I joined is still a fairly new one. The team hasn’t had the opportunity to develop the training materials needed to help new employees, which is actually one of the reasons I was hired. As a result, it’s largely up to me to help myself.

So what do you do if your team doesn’t have the resources to train you? Take notes! In place of documentation, they will likely allow you to shadow your new colleagues to give you an idea of how your job will work. Your colleagues are your most valuable resource in this circumstance, and you should do your best to take advantage of as much as they are willing to give you. In my case, I have helped to establish a new step in our procedures which ensures documentation is developed with the help of the entire team, and with this new step, my team can also take that opportunity to help me understand how and why things work the way that they do. As more documentation gets developed, my skills and understanding will grow more and more, and eventually I’ll have enough knowledge to become self-sufficient.

The important detail here is that even if you then have some idea as to how things are working and are starting to gain the expertise you need to flourish, your responsibility towards developing the tools for new recruits hasn’t diminished. It doesn’t matter whether you understand the material or not, there will always be someone coming after you who will be just as confused as you were in the beginning, and it’s important to continue to develop those tools to help them so that nobody has to feel the way you did ever again.

Keep in mind, this documentation is not just for new people! Sometimes even veterans with lots of knowledge and expertise will need a refresher, and having good quality, organized documentation and notes is important to being efficient in the future. Trust me, you will thank yourself later!

This may all seem like a whole lot of effort, and it most certainly is, but it will be well worth it in the end. Putting in the hard work and energy now saves you and many others plenty of time down the road when things are moving quicker and the team isn’t as bare bones as it is now. It’s a lot easier to get started on the ground floor than it is trying to start it with operations in full swing.

If you still find yourself thinking “this doesn’t really seem all that important”, imagine it this way. Your colleagues who have been working and establishing standards before you are the living and breathing knowledge base of your organization. If you lose those people, you lose the a massive amount of the progress your organization has made since it began. Providing accessible knowledge that is available at any time reduces the need for your expert colleagues and enables any employee to get started. If your organization’s knowledge resides within the heads of a few people, it might be time to consider talking to your supervisor about something like this, because if they decide it’s time for a new job, you’re back to square one!

Organization and documentation is key!