8 Tips for a New Job

SC&C 8 tips for a new jobStarting a new job? Terrific! Let’s get you off on the right foot.

  1. Relax. Every single person in your new office had a first day once. If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, feel free to tell your friends so that they can be happy for you, but don’t let them drag you out for a celebration the night before you start. The last thing you want to do is start out hungover, or even at less than 100% of your best.
  2. Practice. If you have some warning time, try driving to your new office in rush hour traffic to see what sort of problems you’ll face on a daily basis. Ask where you’re expected to park, obtaining any magnetic or chip cards necessary for access.
  3. Prepare. It is a great idea to pre-plan your wardrobe for the week. Nothing eases the pressure like knowing everything you need for Monday is hanging on the first hanger; Tuesday is on the second hanger, and so on. Even if your wardrobe isn’t that extensive, and you’ll be swapping out blouses/shirts and pants, jackets, slacks, or skirts, getting things organized, even a couple of days in advance, can make life less stressful.
  4. Befriend. Be a buddy with the receptionist/secretary. They know everything. There’s practically nobody in the office that can make your life easier (or more difficult). They know who is “in” or “out.” They know where a particular person can be found at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. They know when all the meetings are being held, and who is attending. They know when someone special is in the building, or is expected to arrive. They can even provide tips on how to impress the “cold-hearted Mrs. Dale from head office” that will be sitting in on your meeting.
  5. Observe. Take a look around you and make sure that you’re fitting in. Are you over or under dressing for the office? Are you making a point of arriving 10 minutes early for work every day, but find that you’re still the last person in? Are you making a point of checking the staff Bulletin Board (even in this digital age, they’re surprisingly common) to stay aware of internal office events?
  6. SC&C be likable at new jobBe Likable. Your goal may be to be liked by everyone, but the truth is you don’t necessarily know what has gone on before. The person you’re replacing may have damaged the perception of the position you’re filling. They may have been loved-by-one-and-all, and you’re perceived as an invader. They may have been grossly incompetent and now everyone has very high expectations that you’re going to solve all the problems. Just ease yourself into the position and try to stay aware of the “vibe” around you.
  7. Manage. Personal expectations may be high, but try to keep them in check. You’re not going to hit all your goals on the first day, or even in the first week, so find yourself a mentor. Figure out who among your peers or managers is a person everybody likes and respects; a person who “gets things done.” Ask if they wouldn’t mind being your mentor, allowing you to come to them with questions periodically. If they cannot dedicate the time, ask them for advice about who might make a good mentor for you.
  8. Be thankful. It’s amazing to me how many people have forgotten about basic courtesy. If someone does you a good turn, if someone makes an effort to help you out, say “thank you.” It takes such a tiny effort and yet it makes people feel appreciated, like they’re not being taken for granted. And if someone says thank you to you don’t fall into that horrible trap that seems to be pervading our society of replying with a grunt or an “Uh-huh.” Good grief! How hard is it to say “You’re welcome” or “It was my pleasure,” or even “Well, we’re a team, aren’t we? We’re always stronger together. Let me know if you need anything else”.

Starting a new job isn’t really that scary. It’s possible to build little things up in your mind until you’re crippled with fear. Is everybody in the office going to laugh at you and perceive you as some sort of idiot because you can’t operate the coffee machine? I doubt it, and you should too. You’re much more likely to run into someone who is more than happy to explain the intricacies to you. Split-second decisions can result from familiarity with factors in other problems someone has experienced previously.

Congratulations on your new job. It’ll be a jog in the park. You were hired for a reason, and you can do this. Let’s go!

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