Career lessons from Anthony Scaramucci on what NOT to do when starting a new job.
On July 31, 2017, Anthony Scaramucci received some difficult news from his boss on Pennsylvania Avenue. Just 10 days after he was appointed the new White House Communications Director, “The Mooch” found out that he was already out of a job. Given the history of rough starts and even rockier stops in U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s administration, one more casualty comes as no shock. But the weirdest part?
Scaramucci hadn’t even completed his first day in the office.
The time between accepting a job offer and reporting to your first day of work may feel like employment limbo, but if 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is a sure thing. All your actions, whether in the office or out of it, reflect your personal brand. So, if you have a beef with one of your future co-workers, it’s in your best interest to keep your opinions to yourself.
If you’ve finally received that job offer, bringing your current job search to a close, congratulations! You have all the reason to celebrate —just be careful not to speak with any reporters along the way. Learn a lesson from The Mooch and follow these tips about what not to do before starting your new job.
Assuming the job’s a done deal
You may have signed the paperwork and picked up your new employee ID, but now is not the time to relax. In fact, consider the first 90 days of your new job to be an extension of the interview process. During those first few months, your boss will closely observe and evaluate your performance to make sure you’re the right person for the job and a good fit for the team. This is not the time to, for example, get into a profane altercation with a reporter at The New Yorker.
Bashing your new colleagues
You may not get along with everyone in your new office, but that doesn’t give you license to bad-mouth them to others at the company, on social media, or — in Scaramucci’s case — to a reporter. You only cause damage to your personal brand when you publicly call your colleague a “paranoid schizophrenic.”
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone at your new organization, but you do need to find a way to work with them. Don’t let another co-worker’s resentment hurt your chances of succeeding in your new position. Be professional, but watch your back. Chances are, if you give your nemesis enough rope, he’ll end up hanging himself.
Taking action without getting buy-in
Oftentimes, when there is a change in management, the new boss is tasked with being a catalyst for change. As a new boss, you may receive marching orders to “shake things up” by evaluating your team and making recommendations for a new direction.
However, before you start handing out pink slips — or threatening to fire “three or four people” the next day — take the time from day one of your new job to get to know your staff.
Leaders are only as good as the team behind them. Set up a time to meet with each of your direct reports and get to know each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, skill set, and personality. The better you understand each individual, the easier it will be for you to form a strong, high-performing team.
If you plan on making big changes to the team or its structure, start your new job by learning the lay of the land and asking questions. You can’t expect to earn your team’s trust and gain their support if you don’t dedicate time at the start of your new job to get to know them.
In other words, be the sponge, not The Mooch, when you begin a new job.
Ignoring the chain of command
It doesn’t matter if your new employer’s CEO is your childhood neighbor or if that person gave you a personal recommendation for your new role. If you want to succeed in your new job, it’s important to respect the chain of command. Just because you have a personal connection with someone higher up in the food chain, doesn’t mean you can go over your boss’s head, especially when you’re starting a new job.
Scaramucci made that mistake when he made a deal to report directly to the President instead of Reince Priebus, former White House chief of staff. This arrangement became especially troublesome for The Mooch when Priebus was replaced by John F. Kelly, secretary of homeland security and retired four-star general — a.k.a. someone who would not abide by such an agreement.
Follow these tips for starting a new job, and you'll set yourself up for success. Click the following link for more advice on getting ahead at work.
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