The rookie, in the house, is one who still has a chance at making a fresh start. Your ability to impress the interview panel may have paid off but you still have not been tested against the working system. The first few days are where you will be silently judged, with your manager, and your coworkers, taking notes of the time you walk into the building, the time you leave and even the number of bathroom breaks you take.
These first impressions are what pave the way for how they perceive your commitment, and your ability, to do the job you have been so generously offered. Yes, that does mean not going off on a vacation three days after they hand you your ID badge! Even if it is the wedding of your dearest pal and you have made the cut to be the best man.
Here are a list of things to keep in mind when you prepare yourself to start a new job – tips to succeed in the job you have worked so hard to get.
First days at work – How to make an impression?
The days leading up
Your first day begins before your first day. As silly as this may sound, you need to consider the mental and physical preparation that goes into starting something new. Your new job actually begins the day you receive your offer letter. Choose your start date wisely, keeping in mind the time you will need to prepare physically, recuperating from whatever schedule you have had until then.
If there is some flexibility, choose to take out some in-between time and recharge your body and mind. Take a break, travel, get social, or even couch yourself for binge watching your favorite show. Let your mind relax and your body get into your new-job-cycle.
Employee’s new dress
Your professional appearance can influence the way your coworkers regard you. Get to know what the dress code is, if at all there is one, and how seriously is it implemented. So, if it is meant to be strictly professional, avoid the bling, the blue mohawk and the mickey mouse socks.
If it happens to be techie casual, just make sure you don’t show up wearing what you slept in. And if the dress code’s still being decrypted, follow a safe casual formal style (emphasis on formal) and then learn as you see.
Early bird – the day you start
If you have not figured out the functioning of a time machine, it is best to stick to being prepared for the unforeseen delays and start early. Chances are you will reach before the janitor comes in to clean the carpet but at the very least you will be there before the boss and your newly acquired colleagues punch in.
This doesn’t mean that you will have to stick to a dairy farmer schedule for the rest of your work life. It just provides a merit of reliability to your fresh slate. You can obviously look for more flexible timings once you have established yourself as a seasoned staff. Until then, you better witness sunrise every morning to work!
The last one standing
As a rule, don’t jump up and head for the door at 5‘O let’s go home a clock. Delay it within reason, fifteen minutes later perhaps. Even if you are still enjoying the newbie privileges of no-real-responsibilities yet, you should rather not give the impression of shying away from work.
A simple gesture to cultivate trust, knowing that you value your time at your employer’s.
Mingle mingle at the bar
…Or at lunch together at the cafeteria. It’s a great way to get to a first name basis. Be as it may, you will be spending most of everyday, for most of every week, every month and hopefully for some years, sharing your time with your coworkers.
As a new employee, you will be introducing yourself in an already well established community. Your best bet to survive well will be to mix freely, without reservations. It will be really in your interest to not indulge in office gossip, from the start, though.
Start light, chit-chatting about the weather perhaps. If it suits your style, invite everyone to join for a group lunch together. In other words, when it comes to building relationships, get to work when you get to work.
Choose a mentor
You are fresh and inexperienced in your new environment. A good approach to find your way, in the new crowd, is to find your Mr. Miyagi. This veteran will guide you through not just the tasks but also direct you to succeed in the organization.
Branch out independently once you are able to figure out your own on your own. Until then, wax off, wax on…
Make a mark
There is nothing stopping the new kid on the block from chipping in his share of knowledge. You may be learning this job but you are still blessed with an education, or even prior experience, that has landed you the position.
You should feel free to express your opinion, contribute at meetings, offer to take on tasks that you are familiar with, or assist one of your coworkers, all in your professional capacity. Your eagerness, and initiative, will not go unnoticed.
Managerial sit downs
Right in the first couple of days, set up a coffee date with your boss. There are two main reasons to do this. First, it will be a great start to know who your boss is, and likewise. Second, you should be able to gather what is ultimately expected of you to organize and set your goals, with timelines.
You should talk about future one-on-one schedules to assess your progress. Besides boosting your image, as an employee focused on making an impact, it will help you track your own development instead of wandering about the office floor aimlessly, looking for serious work.
Take the fast Train
The training period is for you. It is the period where you don’t actually contribute but rather build on your employer’s investment on you. So, instead of dawdling about, you should concentrate on wrapping up your training in a reasonable time. That way their investment can start paying its returns while you can move on to learning on the job.
Know your boundaries
All that impression making does have a flip side. If you are not careful, you may set a pretty risky precedence which can get hard to set aside. While you should be eager to help, eager to stay behind and eager to make yourself available for all kinds of tasks, you should certainly know what your limits are.
And so should your coworkers. Set up your boundaries early on. It is perfectly fine to give in your best during your office hours, but beware of committing to assignments that encroach upon your rightful personal time. There is a danger of starting a trend that you may have not intended to begin with.
It is nice to have a positive, cheerful (within reason) and enthusiastic disposition when people are just getting to know you. It brings a flavor of youthfulness in a well established system. While you don’t have to betray your true nature, it is recommended that you consider the upsides of meeting new people with a smile, promising a desirable addition to their team. You will certainly find way more acceptance among them.
Beware of getting a bad reputation if you walk in with a permanent pout, or worse, with your nose two floors above. Just be friendly. You will have enough time to pick favorites, or choose the abhorables, six months in…
A new job can be an exciting venture. So while you should be congratulating yourself for your success at securing the new position, you should recognize this as an opportunity to undo your previous mistakes, give you a fresh or a second chance at success, and of course make new associations who are yet to discover that you hide your greys.
So good luck and may this job last till the day you proudly wear your grey hair and missing teeth – your last day at work as you retire!