Looking to start off your new job on the best possible foot?
Last week we talked about what it takes in 2016 to land that new job and cross one of your New Year’s Resolutions off your list. So now: you’ve jumped on social media, got online, found the most attractive job postings, tailored your resume to suit them, and finally, you’ve landed a new job. Maybe you’re working for an exciting new start-up, or have taken on a prestigious new role with a reputable, established company. What is your next step?
We’re going to list off a detailed list of a few do’s and don’ts to make sure that you start off the next chapter of your career on the right foot.
DO: Meet your colleagues and build connections.
Some of us find it a little more challenging than others to make friends at work, particularly in your first few weeks into a new job. At this early point, it’s important to strongly establish yourself as part of the team. Telling your colleagues a little more about yourself, engaging in a few shared interests, or maybe even treating one of your new team members to lunch is a great way to get to know your colleagues and talk about projects, particularly if you’ve joined the team in the midst of a heavy work flow. While you may be tempted to keep your nose strictly to the grindstone, you should also take note of the teammates who like you and enjoy spending time with you. These are the teammates who will be most apt to help you catch up with your new workflow and keep you abreast of company expectations, so you can catch on quickly.
DON’T: Get too comfortable.
It’s becoming common practice to join your team for dinner or drinks after a particularly hard day. While spending time with colleagues during office hours in a great idea, be careful not to immerse yourself too quickly within the company’s social scene. Getting too comfortable with your team members can lead to poor production and weaken the team dynamic. For the first few months you’ll want to keep things as professional as you can without appearing aloof. Let your new work friendships build organically during this time, and you’ll win more respect from your team mates and superiors.
DO: Understand and invest yourself in company culture.
Your conduct in the first few weeks after you’ve scored the perfect role carries a lasting impression on your peers. Putting yourself out there as a team player can feel a bit like treading a thin line between being friendly and being professional. If there are any company functions within the first few weeks of your start date, by all means, attend them! This will give you a sense of how employees engage with each other in a semi-casual setting, and will allow you to be a little more open with your colleagues while still participating in a work activity. You also want to make sure you mesh well with your new employer and their staff. No upcoming events to attend? Not to worry. It might be worth making the rounds a couple times in your first few weeks to make sure you’ve met and memorized everyone in your department, or even the entire company if it’s small enough. Doing so will engage you in your company’s big picture goals so you can be sure they align with your own.
DON’T: Get yourself involved in office politics.
It can be tempting, and sometimes outright unavoidable, to get caught up in the workplace rumour mill. What can be common, colloquial knowledge to some of the more seasoned employees can adversely impact your impression of the company, which is never fun if you’ve recently been hired. The best way to approach situations that put you in earshot of corporate gossip is to clear your mind of judgements regarding the people you work with closely and draw your own conclusions. Don’t let negativity or uncertainty interfere with your work flow. Keeping yourself lightly social while dedicated to your work will help to build the respect you receive from the people you work closest with. Developing a no-nonsense reputation for that kind of behaviour is always an advantage to have in your first couple months at a new company.
DO: Get involved with helping to plan and execute company events and activities (if you’re interested in doing so).
Maybe your new employer will be attending a conference you’ve attended in the past, or perhaps they’re planning a company party at a venue you have experience with. By all means, speak up! Maybe you have some useful tips about which hotels are best or book up fastest, or which venue manager to speak with to land a great price. Whatever the case might be, be prepared to share your knowledge! There’s been a trend emerging recently that employees are more apt to avoid knowledge sharing if they feel withholding it will encourage their company to keep them employed. The truth is, sharing your knowledge with your colleagues, managers, and superiors will help them recognize you as an invaluable part of the team. By supporting your coworkers with what you know, whether it be in big ways or small ways, contributing even when you do not have to is always a great way to establish yourself in your new role.
DON’T: Bite off more than you can chew.
It can be incredibly tempting to say “Yes” to every little project or simple request upon starting a new position, the goal being to continually impress your new bosses or colleagues. However, this could end up being a detriment to you if you allow it to become habit. Allowing your coworkers to believe that you’re the type to acquiesce to every request can leave you inundated, exhausted, and burnt out relatively quickly. While it’s nice to be helpful, it’s also critically important to know your limits and, just as importantly, the unique responsibilities assigned to your role. The reasons for this might be straightforward to some, but for those people who love to help, it can be difficult to say “no” even when their plate is already full. What can you do? Learn to politely decline, or delegate the work to someone better suited for it in order to efficiently share the workload. Helpfulness is always appreciated, but take care to make sure you aren’t depended upon for absolutely everything.
A new job at the start of your new year will keep you focused and goal-oriented over the next twelve months. Making friends in the workplace, keeping your concentration, and easing your way into the corporate culture will keep you engaged and happy at your new place of work. With a little work and some patience, you will be getting yourself off to a great start in the next step for your career.
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