Starting out on a new job is exciting and nerve-wracking in equal parts. On one hand you look forward to your new role, working with new people and doing new work, on the other hand, being a part of a new culture, a new set of people with different roles and responsibilities can also be slightly intimidating. While one might argue that first impressions might or might not always be the last one, one thing is for sure: the first few days in the organisation set the tone for what follows. Amid filling out forms and learning about your new job, don’t forget to check things off of this do-to list, which enlists what you should and shouldn’t do in your first week of a new job:
Things you must do:
Assume the Interview is still on: If you thought that clearing the interview and landing a job was the biggest challenge, think again. Your biggest challenge is to prove to your new employer that you are really capable of everything you are thought of. Going lax and comfortable from the very beginning can lead to people forming terrible opinions about you. So during the first few days, think as if the interview is still on, and everything you say or do is under great scrutiny, for it really is.
Walk the extra mile: Make an extra effort to learn how things work in the organisation. Even if it means coming in early, and going in late, or joining your team for a quick bite outside the office, do everything you can do understand essential information about the company and your team. Also, learn the names of everyone on your team quickly, get organised in your new space, and work extra hard to grasp acronyms and short-forms that are unique to your organisation.
Prioritize what to learn: You must have a plan, marked with priorities, as to what you want to learn, and where you can contribute best. Make sure you share this plan with your immediate boss/supervisor, and set clear your expectations from the job, and understand what is expected of you. Many a times, hesitance in discussing learning opportunities up front can cost big-time in the future.
Get a ‘buddy’: Find one person who is cordial and friendly enough, preferably not your boss, to help you through the minor and seemingly trivial things. This go-to person will help you in understanding rules and procedures, get you acquainted as to how to use the pantry, and also clear minor doubts about the culture of the company. For instance, helping you understand what medium of communication works best: emails or in-person request, or which meetings are more important than the others, or whether having lunch at your desk is a good idea or not. Pick wisely!
Things you shouldn't do:
Devalue Time: Don’t reach late, or leave earlier than you are expected to. And if at all, do not do it more than once in the entire first week. Display through your actions and ideas that you value time – yours own, your employees’ and the company’s time. In other words, personal business, namely phone calls, conversations, instant messaging, social networking, online shopping should be avoided. Focus on what you are supposed to do: work!
Compare things to your previous jobs: You might end up loving or absolutely loathing the culture of your new organisation, but on no grounds is that a reason enough for you to work a reference of any of your old jobs in every sentence you speak. While others around you might feign interest for a few seconds, the truth is that you are here now – at your new job - and constantly comparing it to your old work – to reiterate your joy or disdain is of no practical purpose or interest.
Reveal Too Much Too Quickly: While it is always in your best interest to make new connections and friends, you might want to take some time in actually deciphering who is trustworthy. Do not make the mistake of sticking to only one group of people – whether they happen to be your co-workers, or the first set of people you interacted with – and spend time in establishing professional relationships with as many people as you can in the organisation.
Be Silent: Ask questions, and don’t assume you are expected to know everything. Engage with those around you, and since you are new, those around you are likely to help you. Do not hold back valuable suggestions and contributions, because you are afraid to speak up. And very importantly, do not wait on people to explain tasks and processes to you; take initiative, poke around, ask questions, and show you are eager to work.
Any sort of change or transition, isn’t supposed to be smooth or glitch-free; it is always made out to be one. When starting out a new job, hold onto your uniqueness, and don’t try too hard to fit in, respect the cultural norms of the new place, and gradually set the base for your work. Very importantly, do not forget to keep in touch with old colleagues and co-workers, or at least the ones you think will be interested to know how you’re doing at the new place. Remember, every successful leader or manager was new at some point of time, and they must have made mistakes in the beginning as well – but what counts is how much you’re willing to learn from those mistakes!