Starting a new job is both a major challenge and a fantastic opportunity. While the first few days and weeks can be stressful, they also offer you a chance to set the right tone for your entire future there. Clearly, getting off to a good start is crucial. Here are the five things you should always do when you begin a new job.
- Talk to your boss. Before jumping into your work, you need to talk with your manager about what exactly is expected of you. Being on the same page as the boss is crucial. Even if you think you know precisely what your new job entails, there will probably be some details that surprise you. As the days pass, keep your boss updated on your progress. Not only do most managers want to keep a closer eye on new employees, but you'll also need their input if you encounter any problems.
- Ask questions. Coworkers, your boss, members of upper management -- ask them all plenty of questions. As the new guy or gal, you're expected to be wondering about lots of things. For at least a few weeks, it will be OK if you ask a ton of questions. Asking questions will also help you form valuable connections with colleagues. As for ideas for improvement and other suggested changes, save them until later; you should just focus on learning at first.
- Be punctual. At the start, you absolutely must be on time. This applies not just to arriving at work, but to project deadlines as well. While later on you may have more leeway to be flexible with scheduling, you shouldn't take any chances at the beginning. Just to be on the safe side, leaving home 10 to 15 minutes early is a good idea (especially if you are unfamiliar with the route). Staying a few minutes late wouldn't hurt, either. Similarly, aim to complete tasks well before they are due.
- Learn the lay of the land. Every office has a slightly different culture. Things might not be done in the way you're used to. Even what qualifies as acceptable business attire can vary from one office to another. The best way to learn these unwritten rules is simply to watch how your colleagues behave. For example, observe their interactions with members of upper management. If you pay close attention to how everyone acts, you'll soon learn how to fit in. Soon, no one will even remember you are the newest hire.
- Work hard. This one should be obvious, but in the hubbub and excitement of starting a new job, what you've been hired to do can almost be forgotten. Just remember that starting strong is crucial. If you hit the ground running, pushing yourself hard from the first minute, you'll give yourself positive momentum going forward. By gaining a reputation for being conscientious and industrious, you will win the trust of coworkers and superiors alike.
Don't let the opening days at a new job go to waste. This is your big chance to establish a strong foundation for future success at your new post. Simply follow the five rules described above and you'll be on your way to an excellent start.