The Importance of the First 90 Days of Transition

A person is in front of a background with the "Compass Datacenters" logo, under text "Veteran Career Transition Tips with Tony Grayson".

Hi, my name is Tony Grayson and welcome to another edition of Transition Tips. Today, I wanted to focus on the first 90 days in that new job. First and foremost, and I brought this up before the military is very, very different than the civilian sector. For example, management. In the military, we’re all taught to think the same way from bootcamp and we have a rigid command structure. In the civilian sector, you’re dealing with very, very different workforce. They all come from different backgrounds. They all have different experience, different cultures and their motivations are very, very different. So you cannot treat them the same way. Budget in the military. Did we really even have one? In the civilian sector it definitely matters. Logistics, in the military more than likely someone else’s problem, not so much in the civilian sector. Operations in the military, very, very root, very, very rigid.

In the civilian sector, you might have a little more freedom to it. There’s a lot more gray area. So my advice to you is during that first 90 days in your new job don’t do anything if you can’t. And I know that sounds counterintuitive, but you really must embrace go slow to go fast. For example, during my transition at Facebook during those first 90 days, I saw a lot of problems that I thought I had answers for based on my military experience. There were similar logistics, operational challenges I had faced before during my 21 years in the Navy.

But I honestly think if I would’ve made recommendations or made decisions, I actually would’ve astounded the team. Luckily I had very, very strong management who understood this and they basically recommended that I just sit on my hands, learn the organization, learned the culture before I start trying to make any decisions. And I tell you, it made a world of difference. And those recommendations that I made at 120 days actually got us to our goal a lot quicker, I think, then me shooting from the hip at 30 days. So my advice once again, to you is during those first 90 days, go slow to go fast and don’t do anything if you can. Learn your organization, learn the culture before making recommendations or decisions. Thank you. Hopefully you found this helpful. And once again, please reach out if you have any questions.