All major changes in life tend to make us fairly nervous and uncertain, and there are few things as nerve wrecking as the first few days on a new job. You want to impress, let everyone know that you are a true professional and get as friendly as you can with your new colleagues. If you don’t have much experience, especially if it’s your first job, then you’ll need to do a few little things to prepare for this new challenge. Let’s take a look at some of the best things that you can do to make the first days of your new job stress-free and highly productive.
Update Your Wardrobe to Look Professional
Some of the people reading this are, no doubt, quite fashion-savvy and understand the ins and outs of the business casual and more formal dress codes, but a lot of people are new to this sort of thing. Millennials in general tend to be more laid back and like to add their own personal touch to everything, but as long as you follow the basic guidelines you can still let your inner self shine and look like a professional.
Get the Right Gadgets to Boost Productivity
Once you’ve got your business attire sorted, it’s time to look at some of the tools of the trade. Think of yourself as business superhero – you’ve got the suit, but you still need some cool gadgets. The most important tool you will always have on you is your smartphone, which you will use for anything from sending emails to accessing information in the cloud and using team management apps.
Finding a proper business phone can be a bit of a chore, but it is a smart investment that pays for itself in the long run. Be sure to install a few useful apps that you will be using day-to-day, and forget about games and silly fitness apps that you will never use.
Learn All You Can about the Company’s Culture and Rules
You will be the “new guy/gal” or, if you prefer classic cop show nomenclature, the “rookie,” but you don’t have to be a fish out of water. Sure, it’ll take time to get to know everyone, get a sense of how office politics work and all, but you should come prepared from day one. Dig through the company website, ask a few questions during your final interview, look at any written material on things like the dress code and corporate policies and try your best to fit in.
Once you start working, it’s best to ask your colleagues about anything you are not quite sure of, no matter how trivial it may seem. The social and psychological aspects of sharing a workspace with other humans are just as important to master as the skills necessary to do your job properly. You might look a bit unsure of yourself or eager to please at first, but after a week or two you’ll be all settled in and accepted as part of the team.
Work on Mastering Confident Body Language
Being seen as a confident and ambitious employee, and a cool and interesting colleague will help you win over your coworkers and the bosses much more quickly than just keeping to yourself and letting your work speak for you. In fact, as unfair as it may seem to someone new to the corporate culture, putting in overtime, meeting every deadline, being insanely punctual and just generally courteous won’t lead you towards a promotion or improve your reputation if you don’t make an effort to charm everyone’s pants off.
The first step is to learn about confident body language and practice moving, standing, sitting, speaking, gesturing and listening while looking completely sure of yourself. In order to emanate power you must learn to take up space – without looking like a street thug, of course – avoid nervous movement, speak more slowly and loud enough, and keep the right amount of eye contact and so on. It takes practice, but you can get a hang of it within a month or two.
Read Books on Business, Manners and Conflict Resolution
There is a sort of meta-job component to any line of work – it’s the ability to navigate business waters, find polite ways to say “no” or persuade people, knowing how to efficiently resolve office conflicts in your favor, and so on. These are the type of skills that you pick up after a few years of working in an office environment, but there are tons of great books out there that can help you get a better understanding of how to climb your way up the corporate ladder.
I’d suggest reading up on business books, as well as books on dealing with problematic people at work, some of the best examples being “The Ape in the Corner Office: How to Make Friends, Win Fights, and Work Smarter by Understanding Human Nature” by Richard Conniff and “ConCom: Conflict Communication A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication” by Rory Miller.
Apart from that, a good book on manners like “The Etiquette Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners” by Jodi R. R. Smith will help you get through all the formalities of business lunches and polite conversations.
Create a Work Journal to Keep Track of Your Tasks
Now, before you say anything, this doesn’t mean that you should walk around with a clipboard and jot down everything that happens during the day. You can simply note the tame and date when you’ve started a project or were assigned a certain task, the time and date you completed it, a few instructions that the boss or your teammates gave you and so on.
Not only will this help you stay on track with all the little tasks around the office, but it will also allow you to cover your back in case of a dispute, as you’ll be able to clearly show just how much work you’ve done, and what you’ve been told to do. People will just think that you are a bit of a perfectionist and won’t really give it a second thought, but it will help you a lot on the long run.
This is by no means a be all end all list of things you can do, nor are any of the rules set in stone, but these few useful suggestions will help you leave a good impression and adapt to your new workplace in record time. Have a little bit of patience, mind your manners and try to raise through the ranks as a good team member who knows the rules.
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