by Scot Herrick

Starting a new job is terrific. Usually, we're so overwhelmed with the amount of new information or so relieved about having a job that we make some big mistakes. In this work environment, your manager wants confidence in the hiring decision and you should want to know the job is right for you.

So we make mistakes and don't even realize we're doing it. One year later, we're wondering why we don't like the job and aren't getting the support we need. Here are three big mistakes to avoid.

1. Not Understanding the Organization

You might think this is just who is in the department; your coworkers. Not really. It means you need to understand how IT fits into the rest of the organization. IT should support the business objectives, but it is pretty hard to support business objectives when you don't know what they are. Know how the pieces of the organization fit together so you can see how departments relate to each other to reach business goals.

And if your manager can't tell you how your new department fits into reaching business objectives, that is a warning sign. So ask your coworkers. If you can't describe the value of your department, why would the business want to keep you and the department?

2. Not Learning the Goals of the Department

As well, your department should have goals to achieve to help reach the business goals. Those goals may include the completion of some projects, doing upgrades that fit into business objectives or other work to support the business. Knowing the department goals gives you a reading on the importance of your work and how you relate to the company, all important aspects of engaging in the work.

If your manager doesn't have department goals or can't tell you your goals in a way that you understand and know how to achieve, your work will aimlessly wander through the servers with lonely electrons lacking in purpose.

3. Not Knowing Who the Stakeholders are for Your Group

A stakeholder is someone who has a vested interest in your work, but he or she is not the person receiving the output of your work; your customer. Stakeholders can make your work life wonderful or totally throw you under the bus because they can influence the opinion of your work with your customer.

Knowing your stakeholders and asking them their interest in your department (and your work) will go a long way to understanding what is really needed by your customer. Having that little extra bit of information about what your customers want from your work can make a big difference in simply your doing the work compared to really knocking it out of the park.

Keeping Your Job Starts When You take a Job

It's great to celebrate the win of getting a new job. But the work isn't over. The faster you can integrate yourself with your department, business goals and stakeholders, the faster your ability to perform well on the job.

And let's remember that work is a two-way street. If you can't get the answers to how the organization works, what your goals are and who has influence over your work through stakeholders, how great of a job will it end up being?

Scot Herrick is the author of I've Landed My Dream Job--Now What??? and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. provides online career management training for workers who typically work in a corporate cubicle. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.