Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to Get Oriented for a New Job

A new academic year means a lot of new experiences in school or in the workforce for current students and recent graduates. Whether you’ve entered the world of employment through a work study, an internship, a part time or full time position, getting oriented to a new environment may be difficult. But have no fear! AA&CC is here with some tips to help you get adjusted! (Roos, 2013) and yours truly have a number of great suggestions on what to do in your first few weeks to not only help you get through but also thrive in your new job.

Take Initiative: Want to impress your new boss before your first day even begins? E-mail them after you get the position to ask if there is anything you need to prepare in advance. Whether they ask you to fill out some extra forms, prepare a list of what you hope to accomplish in your first week on the job, set up a company email address or nothing at all, your boss will appreciate your eagerness to jump right into your new role. First impressions like this really stick so take advantage of that window of opportunity as the new hire right away. 

Do Your Homework: And you thought your nights of doing homework were far behind did you? Well think again! Making a good first impression doesn’t just mean asking what you can do for your boss but rather it also means knowing what the new company that you’re working for is all about. Think about it, do you really want to be the new hire who doesn’t even know your employer’s mission statement when it’s on the homepage of their website? Yeah…I didn’t think so. Get familiar with the website, how to navigate it and find key links that you can refer to often (Roos, 2013). Trust me; this will only help you in the long run.

Put Your Best Shoe Forward: Ever heard of the saying that you only get 7 seconds to make a good first impression? Whether it's 7 seconds, 20 seconds or a full minute, we all know one universal truth: you only get one chance to make a good first impression so make it count. To do this most effectively is to show you mean business through what you’re wearing. Now I’m not saying wear a tux or ball gown during your first two weeks at work (in fact, I’d highly recommend you DON’T do that) but this also means you have to part with that well-worn college hoodie and sweat pants (Roos, 2013). Take the time to invest in a work wardrobe. Your work environment could prefer that you go business casual or business formal, you either way, want to look like you mean business. 

Brown Bag Your Lunch: The biggest mistake I ever made on my first day of work was not packing my own lunch. Why didn’t I do this? To be honest, I didn’t want to seem uncool with a packed sandwich and juice box (elementary school flashbacks much?). In hindsight, packing a lunch would have helped me avoid all the embarrassing stomach growling and starvation at work. Lunch room culture is different at anywhere you work; some environments have their staff eat at their cubicles, some have a lunch room that everyone goes to, while in other work establishment, everyone goes out for lunch (Roos, 2013). Regardless of this, in your first few weeks at work, you don’t really know if there’s going to be a food vendor nearby or if you’ll even have the time to go out to buy food. Play it safe and pack a lunch: even if it seems dorky, your stomach will thank you for it.

Use the Buddy System: Sometimes being at a new job feels like being the new student transferring to a new school in the middle of the school year; everyone already has their group of friends and it may be difficult or seem intimidating to introduce yourself to make friends. As daunting as it may seem, be sociable and try your best to make friends at work. Having a buddy at your new job will help you feel comfortable enough to have someone to ask questions that you might feel embarrassed asking your boss, have your breaks with or just have a friendly face around. Even if you do get a new pal at your workplace, don’t limit yourself to this one person forever. After a while, diversify and make connections with more and more of your colleagues. Not only will it help you network more but it will also help the day pass by quicker. Who says work can’t be fun? :)  
Don’t Expect the World Right Away:  It’s great that you got hired and that you’re a part of the work force but don’t think that just because you have the job you can do whatever your colleagues who have worked at the same place as you for five or ten are doing. Always remember that you have to pay your dues. What does this mean? Well don't expect everyone to know you after the first week; it takes time to build connections. Also don't expect to be able to take Fridays off or get a two week vacation after only working for two months; you need to build up your value in a company/environment before asking for perks. In short, always remember that what you give in a job is what you get. The added benefits will come to you one day but that day is down the road.

In summary, a new job is always great and it will help you in the future. Adaptation and flexibility equals success in the workforce so do your best and the rest will come in due time.

Good luck and stay happy,
Souraiya Rahee

Roos, D. (2013, October 8). 10 Tips for your First Day at Work. Retrieved from http://www.howstuffworks.com/business/starting-a-job/10-tips-for-your-first-day-of-work.htm#page=1

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