4 Books to Read Before You Start a New Job

Posted January 24, 2014 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves
It happens every Monday in this country and around the world – people eagerly and nervously start new jobs. And whether you’re 14 or 64, the first days, weeks, and months in a new job will be nerve wracking. We’re all trying to hit the tipping point where we are actually proving our worth in our jobs, and making our bosses say, “Damn, I’m glad I hired her.”

I was in the lucky position before starting my new job recently to have 4 weeks of time to prepare for my first day. I was also lucky that this time fell over the 2013 holiday season when I spent an inordinate amount of time on planes, in cars, sitting in airports, and everything in between. This ultimately gave me a lot of time to read. And read I did, in an attempt to prepare for my new job and embarking on a journey of managing multiple remote staff members, something I’d never had to deal with before.

If you’re starting a new job now or in the future, these are the four books I recommend to get you ready for success:

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter

My husband read this book three years ago before we moved to Chicago for his new job, and suggested I read it in my own transition. And I must say, it is definitely worth the read. Michael Watkins takes you through the curve you’ll need to excel through to become “needed” by your employer. How quickly can you be worth your salary? And what are the strategies to get you there faster? Michael’s book sways heavily toward the corporate sector, though, so if you’re going into government or nonprofit, you may not find it as relevant to you. But it’s one of the best, and absolutely worth the read.


The New Leaders’ 100-Day Action Plan

If your new job requires you to manage people, there is no better action plan than this one. This guide truly gives you, like Michael Watkins’ book above, a 100 day plan. But this time, it’s geared not just towards earning your keep, but towards being the best and most effective leader you can be within your organization. What I loved were the in-depth and relevant examples the authors utilized throughout the book, both great examples of effective leaders and examples of leaders whose tactics didn’t work.


The Girls Guide to Being a Boss Without Being a Bitch

For a female boss, you’ll always run the risk of being the “bitch” to your staff. This book teaches you to walk the fine line of being a boss who expects accountability and excellence and one who is hated by her staff. My favorite parts gave real concrete agendas to use for your first meeting with your staff, your regular 1:1 check-ins, and templates even for the difficult conversations you’ll have to have about performance and attitude. It’s a must read for women everywhere!


On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance

Though it might not be all about your career, anytime you take a new job, you’re going to have new financial challenges. Hopefully, you’re getting a raise in your new position and you’ll be wondering what to do with your newfound extra cash. In that case, the authors of On My Own Two Feet will give you the tools you need to save well and save right. If you’re taking a pay cut, you can learn to live within your new means. Take the time at the beginning of a new job to see it as a new beginning for your finances, too.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."