Congratulations! You are on the way to join your new job, but do not do so before reading these very essential tips.
“Welcome Aboard” – Don’t Fall Overboard
As a new employee you may find yourself in a “honeymoon” period for some time when you join your first job – the time period varies for each one of us. In general terms it may last for a couple of days or a week or ten days.. seldom more. This period is all “welcomy” hand shaking and receptions with your colleagues getting introduced in the meetings and getting the new “goodies” for example a new laptop, PDA or other items pertaining to your industry. It is up to you how you make the best of this period. You can be all smiles and bright eyed enjoying the new found freedom and respect, but make sure you do your best to make a lasting impression – this is your first impression with those you meet. What would you do? Pause here; take time to write down your thoughts before reading ahead.
Once done, read on.
My suggestion in the first few days of your new work is to keenly and enthusiastically observe the work culture of your new workspace, your boss and your co-workers. Do not jump in with ideas and “I could suggest another way to get this done” even if you find the urge to do so. You will get plenty of time soon after. The first couple of weeks must be spent getting acquainted with your workplace, getting to know your boss’ work hours, how he conducts meetings and what are his expectations (if they have been conveyed to you already in a welcome meeting). The point is KNOW before you ACT. It pays to observe and plan your actions accordingly than to just go ahead showing how smart you are.
Since you are trying to make your first impressions last, make sure that you talk cordially to your HR personnel, your IT staff – when they come to install your new equipment at your office/cubicle and the administrative staff whom you could be contacting off and on to know the whereabouts of a meeting room or just getting acquainted with the layout of the building or canteen. If you are not working in an office space spread out your cordiality and friendliness to the staff you are introduced to and show eagerness to learn not to tell them what you already know. Also most people liked to be asked, even if you are sure of how things work or operate it is good to ask just to be sure that you not mess up something and ruin your first impression. Asking does not make you look dumb, it eventually makes you more knowledgeable, you get to know that things can be done differently.
Know your BOSS – Time to set Goals and Expectations
Your first meeting with your boss to discuss your job description, expectations and the project you will be working on should be set in the first week of your joining the job. If not take on the initiative to ask your supervisor on when can the first meeting be set. Taking initiatives puts you your boss’ good books.
In this meeting – discuss with your boss on the short-term and long-term goals. Also feel free to ask during this meeting who all in the team you should consult in case you are unable to understand the task. And when you know are the go-to people ensure that you introduce yourself to them within the week itself and present your eagerness to learn from them (note: do this even if you have no problems yet). It pays in the long-run to be in the good books of the “go-to” people. What is more important these people can be your mentors and you learn from their experiences.
During the meeting with your boss take notes (both mental and written) and always follow up (soon after the meeting) with an email to paraphrase what has been said and also to confirm your tasks and deadlines. It is very important to know and set expectations upfront. You performance reviews and even your job might be at stake on this very important point!
Read more at: How to Talk to your Boss about your Career Goals
Read and Know your Company Policies
This again is a very important step and must be performed in the first few days (it would be awesome if you could get this done in the first two days itself, you will find it difficult to complete if you let it dwindle past these first few days). Research your company policies, read any company manuals and employee handbooks that you have been given by the HR or your manager. Note: if you have not received any manuals or links on the company intranet to read about general policies – you MUST ask for them. Ask your HR contact or your immediate boss. Do not ignore this step. You will soon find yourself overwhelmed by learning new tools and tasks at hand and getting to know the company code of ethics or sharing confidential data contract (that you do not even know you are signed for as an employee of that company) might fall in the back seats. To make you understand how important this step is let me try to scare you by saying this: if you are not aware of the company policies on how proprietary information or trade secrets information should be handled or even some small things as accepting or offering substantial gifts within or outside the organization, you may be in serious trouble if even you conduct a breach in confidence of these important policies. Disciplinary, legal and possible termination is very much the possibility thereafter.
In the first few weeks and months at your first job you would have to work harder than others and also sometimes would have to put in long hours to complete some tasks. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the same. There are new tools to be learnt and learning something new is always tougher at the beginning. You might of dreamed of having this new found freedom, your first paycheck, hanging out with friends and spending more when you joined your first job and not had given much thought about. But the reality is there is no shortcut to success. Work hard, sincerely and honestly and you shall find satisfaction and recognition at work.
It is your attitude that is on test now – how willing you are to learn new things and also how well you can ask questions around to get the help you need to accomplish these tasks. You career success depends on working smart and showing discipline and initiative at work. Pay attention to daily details – what did you achieve today, what was not working out and why, could asking others would have helped me complete on this task earlier? All such trivial questions and pondering can take you up the corporate ladder or to your definition of success day by day. Work on them every day else every week.
Again, be ready to work harder and long hours in the first few months of your job at least. Once you get a hang of things, your tasks will seem easier and faster to complete.
Never Eat Alone
Alright this one is the “cool” one! The first four points above have taken some time to digest and you have a lot to do, this 5th essential tip for new position holders is also very important and can be easily done. Do not eat alone. Your first few months in the new organization are also very crucial in building a good healthy network – of friends and those you can rely on for help when the going gets tough at the workplace.
Networking also enables you to find the “right” mentors; whom you can connect with easily and they can also benefit from your knowledge or company. It takes time to find “friends” and those you can trust, so consider your lunch time as the “networking time”. This also keeps you focused on the job when it is time to work and provides a “happy hour” meeting new people and making new friends.
Networking should also move on beyond your workplace, if you find a good Toastmasters group that you would like to join to improve your communications or presentation skills; do so. If you can accompany a colleague to a trade show or expo of your company – volunteer; these conferences and meetings present you with an opportunity to meet people outside of your organization and widen your network. The point is expand your network right from the start but do not be obsessed with it, your first task is to do your job well and having a healthy and knowledgeable network supplements your ability to do things well and think beyond the box.
These tips above might be useful for your friends or family who are soon to join their first job, don’t forget to send these to them – I am sure they would be very thankful!
And don’t forget to add your tips here on what other tips can make your first few months at the job fruitful and get some long lasting satisfying results at the workplace.