Meeting With a New Boss to Discuss Job Duties

Talk to your boss to learn what he expects of you.

Talk to your boss to learn what he expects of you.

You aced the interview and signed on the dotted line to start your new job. You've read and re-read the job description and you're confident you know exactly what the job entails. Take one more important step before you establish your new daily routine: Meet with your new boss. She's the one who's going to be writing your performance review, so it's essential to ensure your understanding of the job's duties and responsibilities matches hers. The sooner you meet with her, the better, to help you get started on the right track.

Request the Meeting

Your new boss probably will schedule the obligatory meet and greet in your first days on the job, but this often amounts to little more than "welcome to the job" and "we're glad to have you on board." Impress him by taking the initiative and asking for time on his schedule to discuss his expectations and requirements and learning exactly what he thinks your priorities should be.

Be Prepared

Review your position description before meeting with your boss. Compare it to the performance standards against which you'll be evaluated. If you're lucky, both these documents are written in some semblance of priority order, giving you a firm idea about which of your duties is most important. Other times, it won't be readily apparent from the job description, increasing the importance of learning directly from your boss about her priorities and expectations. Jot down questions about specific performance elements so you don't forget to ask her for clarification.

Listen and Learn

When you meet with your boss, explain you want to go over the specifics of your job to ensure you're doing what he wants done, when he wants it done, in the way he wants it done. If one of your duties is to "maintain good customer relations," ask whether sending customers an occasional email to make sure things are on track enough, or whether his understanding of that involves taking them to lunch or visiting them on site every week counts. You might think "provide boss with regular status reports" means sticking your head in the door on the way out on Friday telling him everything's fine, but if he's expecting a formal weekly memo outlining each of your major projects, he's going to be unhappy with you pretty quickly.

"Other Duties as Required"

When you've gotten clarification on what she's looking for from you, don't assume you're good to go. Most job descriptions contain some version of the nebulous, catch-all category that basically means "and whatever else I decide I want you to do." This can include anything from helping with the annual report to setting up client lunches to babysitting her dog. Get a clear picture of what this means to her so you're not caught off guard when these "additional duties" land on your desk.

 

About the Author

As a national security analyst for the U.S. government, Molly Thompson wrote extensively for classified USG publications. Thompson established and runs a strategic analysis company, is a professional genealogist and participates in numerous community organizations.Thompson holds degrees from Wellesley and Georgetown in psychology, political science and international relations.

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