by Wayne John
You’ve got a great new job. Now what? Whether you are a ‘newbie’ to the industry or are a seasoned veteran, you’ve always got to start things off right with your new employer and fellow employees.
Starting a new job is always an exciting time but it can also be very stressful. There’s a lot to do. You have to learn new systems and processes; along with navigating the complex social network that everyone faces in the office.
No matter how likable you feel that you are, there are still a few things that you need to remember on your first day-and well into your first six months or so:
- Even though everything is still new to you, remember that you are the ‘new person’ and you’ll need to earn respect.
- Make it a point to try and remember names. Use word association or mnemonics. People will be impressed that you actually called them by name. Remember the old saying: You only get one chance at a first impression.
- Get a roadmap of the office: find the hierarchy of management, fellow co-workers and all others. This will give you an idea of whom to go to for help and also help you to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.
- Don’t think that you’re going to be everyone’s best friend the first week. Just be a friendly, pleasant person but don’t overdo it. Say “hi’ when passing a co-worker in the office. But do smile. It’s really not that tough.
- This is the tough one: Don’t get involved in office politics or gossip. No company is perfect-there’s always going to be some level of drama; whether large or small. Just take it all in. You’ll soon be able to make your own opinions on other employees, management and processes.
- That brings us to probably the most important one: Listen, be seen and rarely heard. Obviously once others warm up to you, this will change. But at least in the beginning, take a clue from Epictetus (AD 55-135) “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
- Feel free to be inquisitive with your new co-workers. Safe, general small talk about a TV show or sporting event are all great ice-breakers. Even inquiring about where to get a decent lunch may get you an invite.
- No matter how tough it is, don’t keep referring to your old place of work. You’re not there anymore. Your new company has different processes and flows that may or not be as effective as in the past. Learn how it’s done THEIR way, get on board and go with it.
- In meetings, it is again time to do nothing but listen; unless you’re asked for your opinion. If you’re viewed as too aggressive or assertive, it could turn people off-even before they get to know you.
- Your desk is your new ‘home’. Bring family pictures and maybe some things that can get conversations started. Bring in that picture of you skydiving; the one of you catching the marlin; or even an award that you received.
- Probably the best way to ingratiate yourself with your new team is simply offering to help them out. It’s a quick way to make friends.
Don’t forget that you were hired for your talents or specific knowledge. You need to prove yourself to fellow workers early on. Demonstrating that you are a valuable resource will go a long way to fostering a positive working environment. Just don’t try too hard. The writer, Wayne John, is CEO of Electrical Career Specialists, Inc. ECS is a specialized staffing and recruiting firm exclusive to the electrical wholesale distribution community. www.ecs.jobs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 888-474-4327).