So it’s your first day in your new job. You might be quite excited,ready to get your teeth stuck in and show them what you can do. Or youmight be super-nervous and having flashbacks of your first day atschool, praying this time you won’t need a change of underwear. Whatever you’re feeling, here are some practical tips to help you successfullyease into your new environment and thrive!
1) Know your job inside and out
When starting a new job, it is crucial you gain a clearunderstanding of your role and how it fits into the company. Sit withyour boss and go through each of your responsibilities and objectives as soon as possible. If you do not have a written job description,politely insist on one. Find out what is the purpose of your role. Howdoes it help the company achieve its overall goals? Which departmentsand individuals will you be working closely with? Who depends on you?Who do you need to get to know? Understanding this will allow you tomake an instant impact.
2) Focus on the bigger picture
To fully understand the company’s objectives and how it operates,go in like a sponge. Watch, listen and learn. Ask to attend as manymeetings as you can. Learn about the different departments, what theydo, how they work and interact with the other departments. Find outwho’s who and what areas they cover. This will help you make a smoothand effective start in your new role.
3) What can you do for the company?
Going in with the attitude of “What can I do for the company?” andnot “What can the company do for me?” is crucial for a strong start.Anyone seen as selfish with only their own interests at heart will notbe up for promotion any time soon. Go the extra mile, work outside theboundaries of your job description (with the permission of your boss)and focus on being a team player. You’ll get the thumbs up from allsides and feel good about yourself. It’s a win-win situation.
4) Treat everyone with respect and help where you can
Your title is just a title. It does not make you more or less of ahuman being than the next person. Be respectful of everyone. Offer helpwhere you can. Build relationships with everyone – from the doorman tothe Managing Director. Make friends and build a support network. Trustme, you will need it. Knowing who you can to turn to for advice orinformation will help you deal with almost any situation work throws atyou.
If someone treats you with disrespect, hold your head high, be thebetter person and still treat them with respect. Now I’m not saying youshould bring them their favorite pumpkin-spiced soya latte everymorning. Simply be civil and respectful. Over time, people will admireyou for it.
5) Find someone to model or a mentor
Proximity is power. Who you spend time with is who you become. Ifyou want to be successful, you need to hang around with successfulpeople. People who have higher standards than yours.
If you used the interview opportunity correctly, you should have already picked a boss that willbe a good mentor for you. However, if you end up with a distinctlyaverage boss, or the boss you picked leaves, then look out for otherinspirational and successful people in the company. The ones that trulysupport, motivate and encourage the growth and development of everyonein the company. Watch how they interact with others. How they treatpeople. How they motivate their teams. How they deal with conflict. Howthey problem-solve. Then model them. Really want to succeed? Take it astep further and ask them to mentor you.
6) Choose wisely who you accept advice from
I learnt this the hard way. On my first day at work my boss hadn’tarrived yet so the CFO decided to brief me on my role. I was to supporthim and the CEO. He said if any of the other Directors tried to give mework, I was to push back. They would try to take advantage of me and Iwas not to let them use me. As he was the CFO, I trusted his judgementand I pushed back as advised. HUGE mistake. As it turned out, he hadissues of his own with the Directors and always said “no” when asked for help. He was seen in the company as “The Blocker” and was viewed as anegative influence in the company.
As the Directors saw it, I had picked the wrong side. It took meabout a year to fix some of those relationships. One actually neverrecovered at all. Work in the first year was very hard, and sometimespretty lonely. So get your advice from multiple sources, especially from your actual boss.
7) Stay away from gossip
Gossiping is considered unprofessional, disrespectful and childishby most companies. People who gossip will unlikely make any progress upthe corporate ladder. Remember, who you hang around with is who youbecome. Hang around with the gossipers and you too will stay at thebottom of the ladder. If someone approaches you with gossip, politelychange the subject and make sure whatever they have told you ends withyou.
8) Be fearless
Most of the time, it is not our abilities that hinder our successbut our fear. Fear of failure and what that could mean. The fact isthere is no such thing as failure – only feedback. If you do something,and it doesn’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. All it meansis that something didn’t work and a change of strategy is required.Appreciate that life is just a series of experiences that we are meantto learn from. Take note of whatever feedback is given, learn the lesson and implement the appropriate change. It’s that simple. If you needhelp, ask for it. You are not God. You do not know it all. And you arenot expected to know it all either.
As psychologist and personal development author Susan Jeffers says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” It’s in the moments of facing ourfears we grow the most.
9) Be solution-focused not problem-focused
Banging on your boss’s door every time you have a problem will only give them a massive headache. They will be having a hard enough timetackling problems of their own, let alone yours. Ease their pain bydoing your best to provide them with solutions and not problems. Even if your solutions aren’t perfect, your boss will appreciate your efforts.The last thing they will want is everything grinding to a halt at thefirst sign of difficulty. If you cannot solve the problem on your own,have the courage to ask for help from your colleagues or mentor. It isbetter to solve the problem with help than not at all.
10) Make yourself visible
And no, I don’t mean make yourself visible by turning up to yourfirst day at work wearing a tiger costume. I mean introduce yourself topeople. Get involved in as many projects as you can. Help people whereyou can. Express your ideas in meetings. Tell your boss what youachieved that day/week/month. Do this and you will quickly be noticed as a potential talent. The flip-side is people will be more likely to seeyou “mess up” too. So making yourself visible takes solid confidence and self-belief. You have to be certain that even if you mess up, you will be able toquickly learn from your mistakes and do better next time – while holding your head high. If you want to be seen as a talent, you have to seeyourself as one too.
11) Avoid burn out!
I’ve seen it many times. People are so focused on making a greatfirst impression that they forget to look after themselves. They workall hours of the day, don’t sleep or rest, live off caffeine and sugarfor energy, don’t exercise and then after 3 months they burn out. Theyare so exhausted that even a $5000 cheque wouldn’t get them out of bed.In case it isn’t obvious, this is not good. Not only will you feel illbut your boss and other leaders in the company will start to questionwhy they hired you. Make your health a priority – mental and physical.Take the necessary steps to ensure you perform at your best. Be the best version of you in everything you do, and you will not only thrive inyour career, but in life too.