If you're one of the lucky few who get to start the new year off with a new job – Congrats! Anytime you start a new job, there's about a month long initiation period where you, your boss and your co-workers learn about each other and find out how to best work together. You may find that after a month, you're certain that accepting the job was a huge mistake. Or, you might decide that your new job is the perfect fit for you. To be sure that your boss doesn't regret hiring you after a month, there are a few things you shouldn't do during this time:
Dressing too casually. When you accept the job, be sure to ask for clarity about the company's dress code. During the interview you should have made a note of what the other employees were wearing, but that isn't always possible. I know it's difficult, especially when you've been out of work for a while, to have the right types of clothing on hand, but looking like you fit in is especially important during this time. Try asking friends and family for professional outfits that you can borrow until your first paycheck or try mixing and matching the items you already have. You don't want to make the mistake of showing up wearing causal clothes if it's not appropriate. Even if the office says that the dress code is casual, try to dress up a little more than usual.
Don't goof off during orientation. Sometimes, when you start a new job you'll have to attend an orientation class. Typically, these classes can last from a few hours to a week or more. Although they are usually run by a trainer instead of your boss, don't think that you have a free pass to ignore them. In my experience, these sorts of training classes aren't always taken seriously and there are always people who want to blow them off. Don't be one of them. Instead, pay close attention and take notes. The information you receive during this time will be helpful during the month ahead.
Don't expect your co-workers to help you. With any job, there is a learning curve. It's going to take some time for you to get up to speed, but don't rely too heavily on your co-workers. If you have to ask them for help, write down the problem and the solution so that if you forget next time, you won't have to bother them again for the answer. Remember that your co-workers still have to do their jobs and may resent you if you are asking them to do your work.
Don't think that you already know it all. You may have decades of experience in your field, but every workplace is different and you can't assume that there is nothing left for you to learn. Even if you were hired to make changes, spend the first couple of weeks just learning how things work at this company. There is nothing as annoying as a new employee who comes in thinking that they already know everything and it's a great way to ensure that your new co-workers dislike you. Instead, try to keep an open mind and learn all that you can. If you have some ideas that you think could improve productivity, wait until you have a clear understanding of how everything works before you make suggestions.
Don't take many personal calls. Especially if you have been out of work for a while, your friends and family may be having trouble getting adjusted to your new schedule. Try not to take many personal calls and stress the importance of having time to focus on the new job. It's natural for the adjustment period to be tough for everyone, but you don't want to appear unfocused or distracted.
Once the excitement of a new job has faded into the reality of day-to-day responsibilities, it can seem overwhelming. Just remember to breathe and keep in mind that the first few weeks at a job are an adjustment for everyone.
What other things should you avoid doing when you start a new job? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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