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10 Things You Can Do to Make Your First Week on the Job Successful

10 Things You Can Do to Make Your First Week on the Job Successful

Adjusting to a new job is always an intimidating task. During your first week, you find yourself in foreign territory, as you are unfamiliar with your new company, its employees and the nuances of the office environment. In order to help you adapt to your new job more quickly, consider the following first-week tips.

1. Make Introductions a Priority

The old cliché regarding the importance of first impressions is relevant when it comes to your first week on the job. To make a positive impression and make your presence known during your first week on the job, be sure to make an effort to introduce yourself to people in the office. This is especially important for people who you will be working directly with on a daily basis.

2. Pay Attention to Office Etiquette

Every office is a unique environment complete with different personalities, policies and unspoken rules that dictate how it functions on a daily basis. While these intangibles might not appear in your job description, they are important elements to learn to help you transition from “the new guy” to a seasoned vet in your respective office. Everything from which fridge to keep your lunch in, to who makes the coffee are little details that will help you to adjust to office life. Keep your eyes and ears open and see how other employees handle situations so you can adapt more quickly.

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3. Find a Mentor

In addition to paying attention to general office etiquette, seeking out an experienced employee is a great way to help you catch on to office life more quickly. Find someone who knows the ropes around the office and has been there a while. Veteran employees who know how to deal with everyday challenges around the office can help you with initial concerns like where to find office supplies and whom to contact if you have a problem.

4. Get Familiar With the Neighborhood

If your new job required you to relocate, then it is likely that you are in unfamiliar territory. Taking the time to explore your new environment and learn where things are will make life much easier for you. This includes planning your route to work ahead of time and locating important establishments such as pharmacies, restaurants and grocery stores.

Planning your route to work ahead of time is especially important for your first day on the job. No one wants to show up late for their first day, and figuring out your transportation plans ahead of time will help prevent that.

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5. Seek Out Your Boss

Making an effort to sit down with your boss during your first week on the job is important, as it has multiple benefits. In particular, finding out what is expected of you right away and further down the road will give you a clear picture of what to focus on at work. Also, this will give you an idea as to how you will be evaluated by your boss and let you know what performance indicators are most important for gauging your progress.

6. Get Yourself in Work Mode

laptop and coffee

    If you are fresh out of college or entering your new job after a period of occupational limbo, then you should make an effort to adapt to your new schedule ahead of time. While getting a good night’s sleep the night before your first day is important, one night isn’t enough time to adjust to a new sleep schedule. Rather than shocking your system, spend the two weeks leading up to your first day going to bed at a reasonable hour and waking up as if you were going to work. This will make surviving that first week much easier.

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    7. Pack a Lunch

    Bringing your lunch with you the first few days will ensure that you are prepared for any surprises in terms of your lunch schedule. Whether you have a small window for lunch or need that time to catch up on back work, a bagged lunch is a safe bet if all else fails.

    8. Ask Questions

    Although it might be your first impulse to shy away from asking questions, it is an important first step when learning a new job. Being upfront about confusion will keep you from letting small mistakes and misunderstandings turn into greater blunders. Taking notes is a good idea, as it will save you the trouble of asking the same question twice.

    9. Establish Your New Position on Social Media

    Updating your job title and connecting with new co-workers will solidify your connection with your new job in the digital space. You should also follow and connect with your company’s social accounts if you haven’t already. You’ll likely earn yourself more followers just by associating yourself with your new organization, which could be great for you if you plan on integrating social media marketing into your personal accounts later.

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    10. Lend a Hand

    As a new employee, it is unlikely that you will be handed a significant workload right away. Rather than sitting around the office wasting time, offer to help those around you who appear to be swamped. If they decline, at least you’ve made an effort and a good impression. If they allow you to help, consider it a learning opportunity and a chance to gain an ally in the office.

    The first week at a new job is a confusing and stressful time for everyone. To help the early stages of your new gig go as smoothly as possible, make it a point to consider the aforementioned tips.

    Featured photo credit: thumbs up by Sarah Reid via flickr.com

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    Courtney Gordner

    Courtney is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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