There are certainly ways to start a new job the right way, but not everyone thinks about them when they are “in the moment,” and they can say or do something that starts them off on the wrong foot. I have been the new person several times, but I have seen new people come and go more times than I care to count. These ways to start a new job the right way will hopefully stick in your mind when you’re starting a new job and make you just a bit more cautious.
1. Do Not Talk about Others Negatively
One of the ways to start a new job the right way is to not talk about others in a negative way. Even if your new co-workers are complaining about the boss, don’t join in. It may seem like it will build camaraderie with everyone else, but you never know if there is someone in the crowd who will report back to the manager everything you said. It’s also just not nice or professional to gossip about those you work with.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
I know that I always feel awkward asking questions at a new job, even though it’s expected that you won’t know what you’re doing. I always feel like I’m bothering someone or that they’ll think I’m stupid if I don’t know how to do something, but that is a way of thinking that needs to stop for everyone. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you must ask; don’t guess, because things will be a lot worse if you do something wrong when all it would have taken was a simple question to clear things up.
3. Dress Professionally
I cannot tell you the amount of new people I have seen come in wearing sneakers or a tee shirt when it was inappropriate to do so. When you are hired, the person you speak to should tell you the dress code, but if they don’t then you need to ask. If you’re really not sure, err on the side of dressing too professionally. Sneakers are rarely acceptable at any job and should definitely not be worn if you’re unsure of the dress code.
4. No Cell Phones
There are few employers who would be okay with paying you to text your friends or read statuses on Facebook. Even if you see a few of your coworkers sneaking texts on their phones, don’t do it yourself. First of all, you shouldn’t break rules. Second, you are the newbie, you should be on your best behavior because you are being watched more closely than everyone else. If you don’t want to be caught breaking rules, don’t break them to begin with and don’t get into the habit of having your phone on you at work.
5. Don’t Complain
It is human nature to want to voice your opinions, especially when those opinions are negative, but no one wants to hear you complain about every little thing that is bugging you. “My feet hurt from standing for so long,” or “I hate working Saturdays,” are all things that are commonly said, and once you’ve been there a while they will be far more acceptable to hear. When you’re just starting off, however, nobody wants to hear you complain about all of the things that they have been doing for much longer than you.
6. Be Friendly
I am incredibly shy and almost have anxiety attacks when I have to talk to new people in new situations, but when I start a new job I know that it is incredibly important to start conversations and build friendly banter with my coworkers. Even if you have to fake it at first, put on a sunny smile and ask how their weekend was, ask questions about their kids if they have them. You don’t have to be best friends but the more you talk to each other, the more comfortable you will be around each other.
7. Don’t Be Set in Your Ways
Different businesses have different ways of doing things. If you worked for 5 years in one place, chances are you have a set way of doing things that are now ingrained in your mind, but you need to wipe the slate clean when you start your new job, especially if it is in a similar yet different field of work. Don’t assume that you know how to do things, allow them to teach you their way and try to pick up new habits that allow you to work they way they prefer you to.
If you are nervous about a new job, just take a deep breath and jump into it. It’s rarely as nerve wracking as it seems at first and with these tips, you should be off to a pretty good start. Just remember, first impressions last and you’ll want to make the best one you can! Do you have any tips for starting a new job the right way?