So boring. But you’ll thank me in many years when you discover you’ve maxed out your retirement contributions! Seriously, starting a new job is exciting, even joyous. It is very easy to overlook our personal stuff, especially if promoted from within the organization. So go through the checklist!
______How much flexibility do I have for my work hours. Is it possible to work from home if I have a major project?
We’d all love to be able to do this. But you need to know the organization’s policies and your boss’ expectations. You also need to be instantly available if there is an emergency. Heaven help you if you can’t be found!
My assumption here is that you work in a physical office, not a virtual one. In the virtual world the rules are the same tho—check the policies, know your boss’ expectations, and have a protocol for emergencies. You also have an additional problem: without “face time” how do people get to know you? Trust you? You might literally use FaceTime,or Skype, or messaging, but many virtual worlds rely too much in my view on conference calls. So think about this one a bit and discuss it with your colleagues. In the virtual world, the people who keep their jobs during layoffs are the ones who are not invisible.
______Have I updated my withholding (W-4)?
Duh. Higher salary? You’d better review, because you may have higher withholding requirements—or not, depending on your personal circumstances. You may also want to take your salary increase and put a higher percentage to student loan debt, rainy day savings, or charitable giving, or all three. Just because your salary goes up, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend more.
______Have I updated my retirement deductions?
This is another often over-looked no brainer. If you got a 10% raise, you could put more into retirement, or even the whole 10%, if you can keep your current expenses the same. Just be sure you are aware of the tax implications.
______Do I have a mentor (or several of them)?
Some people, especially women managers, think they have failed the whole mentoring thing if they don’t have some super mentor in their lives. But I think you should feel free to have lots of mentors—a network of people whose experiences in life and work give you a place to turn for advice. Some mentors are in your profession, but some you may know from other facets of your life. Look around!
______Are there professional associations that would be helpful to me?
There are few things as satisfying in the world of work as having people in the same field to talk to. You can share problems, strategize, make connections, and have fun with people who get what you are dealing with day to day. Here is a place to start, if you are not familiar with professional associations in your field: http://www.job-hunt.org/associations.shtml Go to their websites, poke around, ask your friends, ask your boss. Not all of them are equally valuable but some of them are extraordinarily helpful. Give it a try.