- Just hired, coast is clear
- Just hired, a bit anxious
- Just hired, in over my head
- Just hired, afraid I'll be fired....
One of my favorite career coaching assignments is onboarding, orientations and helping business professionals acclimate to their surroundings. As an experienced, career counselor I've often been retained by clients to provide support through the first few months of a new job or assignment. Additionally, if you are an experienced and respected employee, you may be asked to help orient new staff at your company. A few kind words and support, can go a very long way towards building a productive working relationship with new colleagues! I've never forgetten people who made the extra effort to help me when I was the "new kid on the block."
What's Hot: Get the phone number of the main line, the Office Administrator and your new boss! In the event you have an emergency in the first week you can call/email them. True Story - a College student of ours worked hard to get a new job at a great company. She was thrilled to be hired. The evening before her second day of work, she celebrated a too much! The next day she was quite hung over in the morning, and missed her alarm. She showed up for work 30 min late and was FIRED on the spot. Sad, but true.
What's Hot: Listen, more than talk! Take notes, especially of people's names. Try to learn co-workers names right away. You will have to work harder than the existing staff - who'll only have 1 name to learn. If everyone wears name badges, you'd better do this too. Even if the name badge says "trainee" or is hideous - wear it anyway.
What's Not: Try to maintain a neutral or pleasant facial expression. Those of us who tend to scowl, will need to make a concerted effort. Imagine if a new coworker drops by and instead of looking happy to interact you present a sour face? Though you weren't expecting anyone, coworkers can pop into your office anytime. First impressions cannot be remade. People are quick to judge the new kid on the block.
What's Hot: Try to learn the company culture, company norms, and especially dress code. Don't dress like a librarian in the interview then like a "dancer" during your first week on the job. True story of a new hire who was almost unrecognizable on her first day. The "conservative suit" she wore in the interview was a complete facade!
What's Not: Slacking off will get you canned! Take your new job seriously. In fact, you can get fired from an unpaid internship - I have plenty of true stories about this.
What's Hot: A new job is like Survivor Island - try to form alliances right away. Don't hide at your desk eating a tuna sandwhich. Determine what the company norms are regarding meal times, break times etc. Eating lunch with your co-workers is just as important as being on time! Carefully observe what the "higher-ups" are doing. At one of my previous jobs, the norm was for the Office Administrator to circulate restaurant menus to the staff. The staff would order from restaurants several times a week and all would chip in. Then we'd all eat together in the break room. At another place I worked, everyone would buy Lottery Tickets when the potential winnings were over $5million. Would you like to be the one who didn't buy a ticket when the office pool won?
What's Hot: Know what the expectations and deliverables are right away. Learn the systems, the structures, the policies. There are many implicit and unwritten rules in any workplace. Buddy up to some of the longterm staff members, assuming they aren't jaded.
What's Not: Constantly saying - "In my old job......" in a comparative way. Much better to swap war stories from life in the trenches after you've been there at least a year. Though we are all guilty of this, try to refrain.
Embarrassing Moment. A few years ago, I was training an intern on how to use the coffee machine. She suddently turned around, grabbed the trash can and threw up. Yes, she was sick on her first day, first hour on the job - in front of her new boss. I wasn't sure if she was sick from the coffee or the new job or me.
What Comes Around, Goes Around. The person who is lower ranked today, may be in a position of power tomorrow! True Story: An unemployed person volunteer at a prestigious company to keep his skills fresh. He greatly admired the Director of the company and tried to engage the Director in coversation many times. However, the Director ignored this volunteer and barely acknowledged them. 4 years later, the former volunteer was now a Director in another company. Meanwhile, the original Director had been laid off and trying to set up a business. They approached their former volunteer *(not recalling the connection) and tried to convince them to sign up for a multi-year supply contract. Their pitch was all about integrity and customer service!
I'd love to hear your career stories and comments! Drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: © 2011 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon B. Cohen, MA,CPRP, NCDA. Virtual Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist.
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