January 2nd, 2009
Tips on Surviving Your First Week on the New Job

Be Part of the Team

Make an active effort to become a part of the team. A major part of working is being able to get along well with colleagues.

Build rapport

  • Make a concerted effort to build rapport with others
  • Building rapport will help you be accepted by co-workers
  • Accept and ask for assistance, graciously
  • Pitch in willingly for tasks when needed
  • Expect to learn tasks from multiple people
  • Not important to wow everyone with your wide array of skills/knowledge

Be an effective listener

  • Listen carefully to all instructions you are given, many will be details on policies/procedures. Observe others’ reaction to instruction (Listen with eyes and ears.)
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Clarify message immediately if unclear
  • Write down details of complicated messages
  • Pay attention…don’t fake it

Characteristics of a positive attitude

  • Friendly, open, willing to learn, enthusiastic, a good listener, confident, prompt, courteous, hard worker
  • Be a comfortable person to be around, communicate openly and freely

Watch your environment

Much of what you will learn will be experiential.

  • How does communication happen? through email, memos, notes, verbal.
  • How do breaks work? length, being prompt.

How Much to Produce in Your First Week?

How much one produces and prepares to produce is critical to early and continual success on the job. Striving for quality is most important… practice quality from the beginning. While each job differs in terms of what is expected, do the best job that you can on everything you are given.

1. Expect to have either way too much to do – or not enough

  • If there is little to do, stay busy by job shadowing someone else, or look for relevant information to read
  • If there seems too much to do, prioritize the best you can

2. Go over expectations with supervisor

  • Meet at the end of the first week go over job duties, objectives, expectations

Surviving The First Week

Grunt Work

  • Expect lots of grunt work – there is no way to escape the passage all rookies must go through
  • Recognize there are mundane, boring tasks associated with every job. Stay positive, and prove you are a team player

Expect the unexpected

  • There will be surprises
  • You will experience every emotion possible
  • Stay sane (If this is your first full time job consider getting out on your lunch breaks. You will break up the day and come back feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.)
  • You are expected to take the initiative, don’t expect someone to tell you where you should be, or what you should be doing

Begin to develop an idea about the larger world you have entered

  • Understand policies and procedures
  • Work toward gaining a clear understanding of how you fit in to the bigger picture of your company
  • Try to determine what people do, and their official titles

Own up immediately to mistakes

  • Don’t cover them up, downplay, make excuses, or blame someone else. It will only make the situation worse and make you look immature, dishonest, and/or unprofessional

Figure out what are the most important things to learn

  • You will not be able to master everything at once
  • Determine what you need to do in order to be productive

What to Expect Within the First Week

  • Completing lots of forms and paperwork
  • Work site orientation
  • Settling into work area
  • Understanding work flow
  • Reading company literature (product catalogues, training material, industry reports)
  • Performing grunt work/menial tasks
All Tips and graphics compiled by Next Steps.org

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping you to explore your career at any stage.

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