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New Job? Avoid These 6 Common Newbie Mistakes

You did it! You’ve worked hard, made it through interviews and salary negotiations, now you’re ready for your first day at work.

Keep your solid reputation in tact by avoiding these 6 common newbie blunders.

1. You criticize processes.

Take some time to get the lay of the land and understand how things work before you start to suggest changes. Just because something worked well at your last job, doesn’t meet it will work in your new role, or that people will be open to drastic change in the beginning.

When you’re ready to suggest changes, talk about the desired outcomes and paths to that outcome rather than being dismissive of the process in place.

While a process can probably be improved, you’re likely sitting next to someone who has been a part of creating or supporting the procedure you’d like to change. Learn as much as you can so your thoughtful advice and suggestions aren’t dismissed as coming from someone who isn’t well informed.

2. You have a “been there/done that” attitude.

There will be training and some of it may seem unnecessary. Be patient with the trainings and meetings as your team (and probably others) are taking time out of their schedules to set you up for success.

Listen, learn and ask questions to be sure you know how to do things in your new role and have a clear understanding of expectations. There is always something to learn.

3. You not aware of your impact.

You’ll meet lots of new people in your first few days and have countless get-to-know-you conversations.

Tune in to people’s reactions and mannerisms as these interactions unfold. Does the person you’re talking with seem jumpy or keep glancing at their computer screen? It might be better to learn about their role another time, or schedule a meeting rather than dropping by.

A new job means getting used to all of the new personalities in the office and how to effectively communicate with each person.

4. You don’t network with the other new employees.

Many large companies will gather a group of new hires for an orientation or office tour. Make sure you get to know the members of this group. You’ll appreciate having allies who are also gathering information about your new company. It’s also very useful to have connections in other departments with whom you can exchange information or make introductions.

5. You don’t tune in to office norms.

Your first few days are a great opportunity to tune in to the team and office culture. Does everyone arrive at 8am sharp or is there a steady stream from 7:30am until 9am? Do people in the office call each other? Shout? Go to each other’s offices? Are emails short and to the point or are niceties exchanged each time? Where is happy hour?

Getting a handle on the ins and outs of office culture will allow you to see where and how you fit in and what to expect.

6. You don’t know the dress code.

Double-check the dress code, even if you’ve been in the office for interviews, also find out about Fridays. Office attire can change seasonally and there may be rules of which you’re not aware just by observing the environment. Better safe than sorry (or embarrassed.) When in doubt, it’s typical more comfortable to be slightly overdressed than too casual.

When you start a new job, you’re making important first impressions and there are countless things to learn. These 6 common mistakes come down to not being aware of your surroundings and how you can best form relationships. Take this time to absorb as much information as you can and start your new job on the right foot.


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