Congratulations! You beat out all the other applicants, and finally landed a great new job. Now what? The first week at a new job can involve a lot of training, grunt work, and perhaps some boredom or uncertainty. However, in spite of all this it’s very important to get off on the right foot. Here are some tips for making the most of the first days at your new job.
As the Huffington Post points out, there is only a short window of time in an office where the new person is allowed to ask a lot of dumb questions. People will start getting annoyed if you still can’t remember the code to the copier after six weeks. Beyond annoyance, they might start to wonder what you’ve been doing with your time, if not at least learning the office basics.
Be Friendly and Involved
While you’re asking work-related questions, remember that work isn’t all about work. This is also a great time to learn about your coworkers— their kids’ names, whether they have pets, what hobbies they have— and set a foundation for easy chatting around the water cooler. It’s important to become a part of the social scene at the office, too. Don’t skip the office Halloween party, chip in a few dollars for the break room newspaper subscription, and definitely make cookies for the potluck!
Learn Things from Grunt Work
During my first week at my new job, I ended up filing papers for almost an entire day. Snore! However, it turned out that there was a lot to be learned by filing. I got to familiarize myself with the documents that I’ll be filling out myself soon, I got to see examples of good and bad projects, and I learned about the different components of projects through their purchase orders and invoices. It wasn’t exciting, but I still learned a lot.
Have you been drawing cartoons at your desk since yesterday morning because everyone’s too busy to get you started on a project? Big mistake! It’s a good idea to be considerate of other people’s busy schedules— don’t drag your boss from a meeting or anything— but sitting around doing nothing reflects poorly on you. Plus, you don’t learn anything. Politely ask your boss if you can have something to work on, or if he/she has a spare minute to teach you something.
If everyone is truly too busy, then use your down time to do something productive on your own. Keep current in your field by reading some related journal articles, review your training materials, or practice some new software.
Have a Good Attitude
This is the most important thing. Be enthusiastic about challenges, learn from and laugh about your mistakes, and be nice to everyone around you. If Hallmark is reading this, I want royalties for that last statement.
What’s your best advice for starting a new job? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb #woohoonewjob
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Enid Yu