It’s never easy being the new kid. This is true in grade school, and it’s also true later in life, when you start a job and want to make a good first impression on your coworkers. In a fantastic Tampa Bay Times post titled “Strong Beginning: Tips for Surviving the First Month at a New Job,” Marie R. Stempinski of the local business-development firm Strategic Communication offers five excellent pieces of advice for workers everywhere. Read on for a summary of how to wade successfully into new vocational waters.
1. Meet the Gang — Introduce yourself around. Make note of everyone’s names and job responsibilities. The members of your department or group know all about office politics and policies, and in the early stages of your employment, Stempinski writes, they’ll be your guides. Moving forward, some might even be mentors, so it pays to know everyone.
2. Work Hard — The first month on a job is no time for slacking. It’s nose-to-the-grindstone time, as Stempinski writes, and if you’re not sure about how to do something, by all means, ask. Stempinski also recommends using extra time to help out supervisors or colleagues. You want people to think of you as a hard-working team player, and it’s best to build that reputation from the start.
3. Keep Your Ears Open — When you’re getting to know everyone, listen more than you speak. “You’ll be surprised what conversations will tell you about personalities, interactions and workplace pitfalls,” Stempinski writes. You might also pick up career-building tips that will help you down the line, no matter where you’re employed.
4. Steer Clear of Complainers — Every office has bitter grumps who are certain management is out to get them, and that the company is tanking. As Stempinski writes, “their reality is not necessarily yours,” and it’s best to avoid these folks, lest their negative energy rub off on you.
5. Find Some Mentors — A good mentor is there to guide you, dispense advice, sing your praises to management, and generally help you get ahead. They’re super valuable, in other words, which is why Stempinski recommends finding two: one in your department, one in another part of the company. Ideally, the latter will know the “big picture” at the firm and help you get to a point where you can pay it forward and serve as a mentor to someone else.