I don’t know how many new jobs you’ve started, but in my experience I’ve found the first few weeks of a new job are about the hardest I’ve ever worked.
It’s not only that every newbie wants to make a great first impression. It’s that you don’t know how to do things.
I’ve decided to share some of what I’ve gleaned from my checkered career path to help us all get through those exciting and arduous first days:
Be prepared to tough it out – Accept that you’re going to have to put in extra time to figure things out. When you accept it, you’ll expect it and it won’t feel so bad when you’re the first in, the last out and taking work at home to boot. You will get a grip someday.
Look for their systems – Every organization, even if it’s no more organized than your group of friends, has systems for doing things, like figuring out what movie to see on a Friday night. Pay attention to see how your new work place does everything, from processing payroll to making coffee to staring new projects.
Watch your work practice – Are you doing some things twice? Looking in the wrong place for information? Pay attention to how you go about your work day, especially your routine tasks, and you might find a better way to do it.
Be willing to adapt your schedule – It doesn’t matter if you’re used to leaving work at 4:30 on a Friday, or starting at 7:30. You need to assume the time habits of your new workplace. Pay attention to who does what when, and try to do the same. This will soothe people and help you fit in.
Try to be good, not perfect – Trying to be perfect will just make you stressed out and insane and might irritate your new co-workers. Go for the gusto and the good instead. Try to be the co-worker you would like to have, the one you can count on, the one who helps out. Be friendly to everyone, just like a new kid at school who doesn’t want to get dragged into clique warfare.
Ask questions – No one expects you to know everything since you’re new, so make the most of this opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask people for the information you need. Not only will you get the facts you’re looking for, you’ll also be able to discern lines of power and influence you can follow in the future.
by Danielle Dresden