In the weeks before starting a new job, I was asked, “What do you want to be known for?” And, the truth is the thought didn’t cross my mind. I was focused on finishing up work from the job I was leaving. Being excited about whatever the new job would hold. I hadn’t begun to consider that I could shape the reputation I held in my next job.

However, it was a good question. A new job is a new opportunity to reinvent yourself. It’s a fresh start and a clean slate.

Did you have some bad habits on the old job? Were you known for being late or the quality of your work? Were you a push-over?

If so I ask you now: What do you want to be known for?

Take some time to reflect on the reputation you want and prepare before that first day.

  1. What are some characteristics of people you most admire at work?
  2. Are there some characteristics of others that you most despised and that you want to avoid displaying?
  3. What are your areas of expertise? Which ones do you want to use?
  4. Are there areas of expertise or kinds of work don’t you want to do?
  5. What knowledge or skills do you need for the new job that you don’t have currently?
  6. Have you considered what are you willing to let slide versus what you’re willing to fight for?
  7. Do you want to be an innovator and change maker? Or, would you prefer to make sure things continue to go on as they are?
  8. What kinds of hours/work life balance do you want to have?

Throughout your first days, weeks, and months on the job review your answers. Reflect on whether you have behaved in a way that demonstrates the character you admire in others. Consider whether there’s anything new you need to learn about to be more effective in the future. Most of all, be honest with yourself – Are you keeping reasonable hours and maintaining the work/life balance you planned?

As you settle into the new job, if you keep your answers in mind you won’t be leaving your reputation to chance. Instead, you will be shaping the reputation you want.

Have an example of how you consciously shaped your reputation at work? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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