Congratulations: you have a new gig! You’re going to be traveling to a new office, trying to learn everyone’s name, and getting a whole new routine down. But what you should also be doing is making sure you don’t make any of these mistakes. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
1. Don’t Be Late
You may already have the job, but that doesn’t mean you’re not being judged by your boss and new coworkers. Being late shows that you’re already in “cruising mode” at work, and you’re not taking it seriously. Sure, it may take a while for work to trickle down to you, the new cog in the machine, but there’s plenty you could be learning on your own every day. If you’re learning a new traffic route, set your clock a bit early from day one so you can get to your desk with plenty of time to spare.
2. Don’t Sit On Your Hands (Literally)
Get to shaking hands hello with the people around you. Your first day might have included two-dozen first introductions, but I can guarantee you’re not able to truly know everyone in your team or department yet. Don’t rely on your boss to have time to make introductions. Adulting means having to swallow that lump in your throat and make new friends. Try to keep it casual, avoid socially awkward conversations (i.e., don’t assume everyone has the same political views as you) and just keep it light. They know you’re new, but you don’t know anything about them.
3. Don’t Avoid Goal Setting
Yes, you’re in a new job, but you should be able to still see a bit into the future. Where do you want to be in six months, a year, and even five years? Think about skills that you hope to learn in this job, and write down how you hope to grow. If, say, when you have your first review after a few months, you haven’t made any progress on that front, you’ll want to have a talk with your boss about what’s working (or not) in your role. Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you don’t have dreams!
4. Don’t Forget to Volunteer Your Time
Sometimes the best way to learn the ins and outs of a new workplace is to be a fly on the wall. If your new job doesn’t have an official program in place, you can offer to shadow your boss or other coworkers to various meetings and work sessions for a few days. It’s often easiest to learn the ropes by taking a few practice days with a buddy. You shouldn’t feel the need to contribute to these volunteer sessions, just observe and take notes if you want. Ask your coworkers questions later if you need clarification on processes or structure.
5. Don’t Forget, It’s All a Test
When you’re new, you’re likely in a probationary period where everything you do is going on your permanent record, of sorts. Be careful about making contributions that will seem notable to your boss, and will help you shine when it comes review time. It’s never too soon to be seen as a good hire, and you certainly don’t want to get marked down as a disappointing one. No matter what, you’ll want to make sure you and your new job fit each other well. If you’re really not having a good time, or if the job isn’t all that it seemed, you can walk away and have time to find something else without too much of a resume gap.
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