You walk through the revolving door of the lobby toward the elevator, soaking in your surroundings—there’s not a familiar face in the building. You straighten out your suit, press #12, and take a deep breath: Once those doors re-open, your first week of work will officially begin.
Whether it’s your first position or your fifth, those first few days on the job can be more than a little intimidating. But with these key rules, you can get comfortable in your new surroundings, get up to speed quickly, and get off on the right foot with your new boss and co-workers
One of your most important duties your first week is absorbing everything. Getting to know your company’s culture, the working and communication styles of your teammates, the problem projects, office politics, and department or company-wide goals means that you’ll be able to start your real work sooner (and be more effective when you do).
So, go to the new hire orientation, sign up for professional development classes, and attend all the team and office meetings you can, even if you’re not yet sure what’s going on or they don’t 100% pertain to your work.
Also join in on the informal events. If you get asked to lunch, happy hour, or the office softball league (either as a participant or onlooker), say yes. It’s a great way to meet people, and it shows that you’re excited to be part of the team.
Do be careful, though, to balance your schedule—you want to have plenty of time to learn the ropes from your desk. The last thing you want is to look like you have too much to juggle, seem overwhelmed, or show up late to a commitment because you’re stuck somewhere else.
As you learn about new processes, projects, and people, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to get up to speed, and people will expect it from the new person on the team. Also take down detailed notes about everything you learn, even if it seems simple. Your brain is going to be on overload this week, and writing everything down will make sure you don’t have to ask the same question twice.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to contribute and add value—you do want to reinforce that you’re the right person for the job! No, you won’t know everything (nor should you act like you do!), but you can make suggestions in team meetings or brainstorming sessions, or ask questions like, “Has this been tried before?” And if you have a skill or ability that you’ve been hired to bring to the team, pipe up and share that knowledge. But be careful to read your audience. You don’t want to come on like gangbusters or step on someone’s toes.
There may be some down time during your first few days on the job as your boss and team adjust to having you there. But don’t sit around waiting for others to figure out tasks for you—volunteer to help your new teammates on a project. You’ll show initiative, you’ll build rapport with your boss and co-workers, and you’ll learn about expectations, procedures, and how things are done.
If your boss or co-workers give you advice or offer to help you with a task or project, take them up on it—yes, even if you’re totally capable of handling things yourself. It’s a great way to bond with your office mates, plus you may get valuable insight into the company’s expectations or a more efficient way to do the work you’ll be given.
It never hurts to have an experienced, knowledgeable, successful professional to bounce ideas off of and be groomed by, but it’s especially useful when you’re the newbie. Look around. Who are the stars of the organization—the ones who radiate likability, confidence, and initiative? Introduce yourself, and pick their brains.
Undoubtedly, the people who make you feel most comfortable will become your go-tos as you navigate your first week. But remember the time it takes for people to help you out is time being taken away from their own tasks. Be sensitive to this by trying to figure things out for yourself first, asking a variety of people when you do have questions, and showing appreciation for everyone who helps you out.
Throughout the week, ask for periodic meetings with your boss (instead of popping in her office for every question you have!). In addition to getting her direction on projects and tasks, you should use this time to update her on what you’re learning and who you’re meeting with.
Ask questions like “Are there additional tasks I should be taking on or skills I should be learning?” and “Can you give me feedback on the project I just completed?” to show initiative, but also do a lot of listening, too. Your boss’ feedback and insight is going to be one of your greatest resources at this point—after all, you’re going to be spending the next weeks, months, and maybe even years working for her, and learning how she thinks early on will serve you well.
Surely you could rattle off things you loved (or loathed) about your last job and how this position compares—but don’t! You want to give yourself every opportunity to shine, and that means keeping your initial first week impressions to yourself. You’re in a new place, and this is a new opportunity, so embrace it and move forward!
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Top 10 Benefits Of A Workplace Wellness Program When Google opened up in the 90s it took a unique approach to employee satisfaction. In an..
It's all about potential: how to write a CV with no work experience Follow these tips to stand out among competing candidates – from research..
Being Too Busy for Friends Won’t Help Your Career Friendship matters. Everything we do to succeed in our careers is improved when we’re supported by..
The Best Ways to Reward Employees. Having an effective reward program in place can help solve many of your HR issues. Every company needs a..
Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness More and more people are feeling tired and lonely at work. In analyzing the..
People Don’t Take HR Seriously; Here’s Why That’s Dangerous Legacy beliefs like being the bad guy and a lack of strategic vision isolates HR, and..
Think Strategically About Your Career Development In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of..
Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion Leaders have long recognized that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge..
How To Advance Your Career In A Crappy Entry-Level Job Yes, you can still bring yourself one step closer to snagging that dream job even..
Interviews are generally regarded as the primary decision-making event in any recruitment process. Regardless of your academic credentials or career thus far, it is crucial..
What causes burnout and how it can affect both the employees and the organisation How HR Can Help Prevent Employee Burnout An engaged workforce. It's..
Studies have shown that structured interviewing is more than twice as reliable a predictor of future employee performance than unstructured interviewing. That is why most..
Cyprus unemployment has been steadily increasing monthly since 2008 and is getting closer to double digits (January 2012 Eurostat figure – 9.6%). However there are..