Many young people will now have now finished their education and be looking for full-time employment. Some will have found paid employment from day one whilst others may be starting work as an apprentice or intern. Wherever they're working, the first days in a new job can be daunting.
Here are some tips for the first days in your new job:
- Ensure that on your first day you're punctual, not too early and of course not late. Either situation can throw your supervisor or co-workers plans into disarray.
- Locate the amenities so that you feel confident about knowing where the rest rooms are, the coffee-making facilities, the kitchen or cafeteria.
- Smile and be prepared to take on menial tasks like making the drinks, at least at first. Regard it as a friendly opportunity to meet everyone, learn their names and let them know who you are. It’s useful to get to know the business from the ground floor. Maybe even bring in a packet of quality biscuits and use it as an inexpensive yet effective way to say 'hello'.
- Make an effort to quickly learn your work email address, people's names, job titles, where everyone's located.
- Don’t be a know-it-all. Yes you may have done some stunning artwork for the school production or written brilliant copy for your aunt’s business. But your way may not be their way and anyway, your new boss will want to train you in his requirements, will want to see how competent you are, appreciate how you operate and feel confident that you’ll be a valuable member of the team and good fit for the business.
- Be receptive to learning. The first few days in a new company are a great opportunity to become a sponge and absorb tons of new information, maybe learn some industry tricks, the way things are done in business. Have the courage to ask if you’re not sure, but be ready to listen, listen, listen!
- Make notes as you learn, in a way that's readily accessible for you later. Highlight important points so that you can quickly identify the key, most relevant information.
- If you do make a mistake resist the temptation to bluff your way through. Certainly in the early days if you don’t understand, are confused or slip up be prepared to admit it. People will usually be understanding with a relative newbie and be far more annoyed if you lie or try to conceal it, especially if by doing so it makes the situation worse. Admit what’s happened, ask for extra instruction or clarification and focus on doing a better job in the future.
- Be willing and keen but not desperate to please. It's great to show enthusiasm but be wary about saying ‘yes’ to everything and taking on too much before you fully understand what's entailed. If you’re asked to make career-defining decisions, consider carefully which aspect of business suits you best.
- Keep your own counsel. Take time to assess the office dynamics before deciding who to befriend. Resist the temptation to criticize or complain about your work or other co-workers and managers. Others may have what they feel are valid grievances but it’s important to avoid being seen as a gossip or negative addition to the team.
- Focus on treating yourself well. A new job is the start of a brand new phase in your life. It can be a tiring, stressful time. Ensure that you eat healthily, take breaks, make time for exercise and to look after yourself by getting enough sleep. Give yourself rewards and treats from time to time. You may be dedicated to getting on in your new role but ensure you have time away for the other areas of your life too.
Starting a new job can be stressful at any age. For a young person the first few days of a new job often means entering the alien, unfamiliar world of career and business. Hopefully some of these tips will help to ease the transition.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.