First day at work: a survival guide – 4 tips on how to comfortably walk into a new job
Stepping into a new job is always stressful, especially when you need to fit in as quickly as possible and get started on tasks. We tell you what to look for, so as not to regret the choice and be “in its place.
Step one: reconnaissance
The first day of work is not the first contact with the employer. You should take the opportunity to talk before you go on the job to learn more about the company. Then you won’t feel like you’re starting from scratch on your first day, either. Try to talk through as much as you can at the interview. Ask for a description of the work environment, clarify the formal requirements.
Do not hesitate to ask about small things, from the dress code to attitudes towards smoking breaks. But, of course, not in the first place: if you ask about a cafe near the office instead of the tasks right away, it is unlikely that the future employer will appreciate the prioritization.
When the offer is almost a done deal, it’s time to voice individual requests. For example, you live in the suburbs and are unlikely to make it to the office downtown by 8. And is it really necessary? Discuss whether you can be accommodated, and weigh whether you’re willing to sacrifice your comfort if you refuse. This is especially true if you have several interesting proposals: it is important to discuss the nuances beforehand, to make the right choice, to avoid unpleasant surprises, not to waste your own and other people’s time. As a result, there will be fewer deceived expectations on both sides.
By getting more information at the start, you increase your chances of adapting easily. The company, for its part, will see the interest and have more peace of mind knowing that you won’t suddenly disappear.
Step Two: Get your bearings on the ground
The main tactic on the first day in a new place is to watch and listen. First, you need to delve into the job descriptions. In a small startup you can hardly expect them to be 100% informative, rather they will be streamlined formulations of professional standards, which do not reflect what you will have to work with in reality. Large companies have the opposite: instructions describe everything from “A” to “Z,” but even they do not provide answers to all questions.
Usually, newcomers are assigned mentors, be they supervisors, experienced colleagues, HR specialists, or representatives of a special adaptation department. They will get you up to speed, explain, and help with general questions. Here you should stick to the principle of “if you don’t understand, ask,” because no one can get into your head. But do not take too much time from your colleagues – the employer is still counting on your autonomy.
Next, pay attention to how the formal rules relate to the informal rules, study the internal schedule. Do they go for a smoke break? Do they eat lunch together or separately? Do they bring their own food or go to a cafe? Do they banter or are they completely focused on the task at hand? Is it “you” and by appointment with the boss, or do they talk freely?
In addition to everyday life, “ideological” nuances can also play a role. For example, in the team it is customary to have informal get-togethers after work – are you ready to give up a couple of hours of personal time to “fit in” with your colleagues? Or foul comments are in fashion, and for you it is nonsense – is it worth reconstructing, to pass for his, or to defend their principles and remain a black sheep? It happens that the company is dominated by the “cult of the ruble”: the desire to earn more at any cost. Or labor fanaticism reigns: overwork and all-out labor exploits in the name of the “common cause” are welcomed. How does this appeal to you? Evaluate whether it is critical to comply with the unspoken etiquette in general. Perhaps it is enough to cope with the duties.
Step Three: Don’t wait for “full immersion.”
Most likely, the first days, weeks, or even months at a new company will be spent in training mode. Formally, it may be reduced to studying the welcome-pack leaflet or an introductory lecture from a mentor. But in reality, it is unlikely that you will be immediately accepted as a fully functional unit: both manager and colleagues will take over some of the tasks for now and include time in their schedule to answer your questions and monitor how you are doing.
We set aside two weeks for training, so that the newcomer gets to know the product and our business model, and communicates with representatives of each division. The results are followed by a qualification exam. At the same time, we collect feedback: we ask what the employee likes, what difficulties he encounters, what he would do differently. At the same time mentor daily discusses with the mentee what he did right and what he did wrong. This scheme is followed by testers, support engineers, and salespeople. The developers have a little different: the main exam – testing, then the principle of “do not know how to talk, but how to do everything” applies – we wait for the results without long discussions.
If you are not specifically recruited, do not expect everyone to see your potential and talent right away. And when you get a simple task on probation, don’t be disappointed: no, they don’t doubt you, it’s just that there are such tasks, too, and it’s important for someone to do them. With us, development novices get a slice of small, strictly applied tasks that they need to solve in the best possible way in the allotted time. So do not underestimate small tasks: business takes them just as seriously as big projects.
It is clear that the “light” mode will not last forever. Sooner or later the demands to you will grow, especially if the company has invested time and effort in your training. It’s good if the workload increases gradually. If you feel that you have understood and would like to start more complicated tasks, and the management “buksut” – the initiative is welcome. The main thing is not to overdo it and do not try to take on more, just to make a good impression. The rule is the same: the better you get at the start, the fewer mistakes you make later.
Step Four: Be yourself
Do not try by all means to please everyone. As a rule, the company is interested in the candidate as much as he is interested in the new job (especially if we are talking about rare specialists). That is why it is possible to behave naturally.
You don’t want to start from scratch and adjust to new rules, crossing out all your previous experience. Experience is what makes a candidate, so even if you are used to solving tasks differently than the company is used to, the employer may appreciate a fresh perspective. The main thing is to know the measure and not to reinvent the wheel where it is not necessary. Perhaps your “innovative” ideas here are already past their sell-by date. Or maybe there are technological, legal or other constraints that make it impossible to “make things easier”.
No revelations or great reforms are expected from you, because the company was working successfully before you came, it employs qualified specialists, and professionals in their field are at the helm. So taking an overly critical look and looking for weaknesses in business processes from day one is a failing tactic. Instead of an audit, weigh whether the local way of doing things is right for you. And from this point of view, it’s often the daily office routine, not the workflow design, that’s more important.
It is better not to build air castles in advance, the real state of affairs in the company probably does not coincide with your ideas. The company may surprise you, even if it is not at all Google with a million “pluses” for employees. But if in fact you are rather uncomfortable, it is better to discuss it with your boss in time, clarify the situation, and if no one is ready for compromise – say goodbye.
HR-people used to be genuinely surprised when seemingly motivated and seemingly suitable candidates turned around and left after a couple of days. Now the rhetoric is changing: the candidate has as much right to decide whether to stay in the ranks as companies have to decide whether to keep the candidate after the internship. When newcomers come in with this attitude, they are less stressed to get into the workplace.
How to adjust in a new job
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Adjusting to a new job is not an easy task, whether your choice of a new job was made voluntarily or based on circumstance. Soon you’ll meet new people, a new job, and a new place. In the meantime, there are several steps you can take to make your transition smoother.
Picture your first day in your mind in a positive way. Think of all the strengths you have. Tell yourself that you will feel happy in your new job and that your coworkers will enjoy working with you.
On the first day come to work on time or even a little earlier. Find out in advance when, where and who you will need to meet. Make sure you will be met when you arrive.
- Save the phone number of the person who will escort you inside. Remember other special instructions as well.
- Be polite and patient when meeting with the receptionist and security staff. They can put you in touch with the right people and show you the way.
Make friends with the administrative staff . Go into human resources, security, and your supervisor and get to know everyone you need to get to work. Ask questions if you have any.
- Complete all necessary paperwork as soon as possible. Remember that applications for insurance, pension, and other privileges may have to be submitted within a certain time frame after employment in order to be granted. If you are unsure of the procedure, rules, and deadlines, ask your coworkers.
- Provide identification, if necessary. You may need to show a copy of your passport, social security number, or other government document for inclusion in your personnel file.
- Try to remember your colleagues’ names as much as possible. Introduce yourself and ask a few simple questions to start the conversation. First, find out who has what responsibilities and who works in the position for how long.
- Ask who to contact with your questions. If you have a problem, approach someone you’ve already met and ask who can answer your question.
- If you have to share a workspace or supplies with someone on your staff, ask about what it’s for and how to keep track of it all. Keeping things clean and tidy will make a good impression.
- Furnish your workspace in your own way. If you use your phone a lot, put it in close reach. If you are right-handed, leave space on the desk on the right side in case you have to write something. Adjust your work surface to suit you.
- Adjust the height of your chair. Ask if there are any special guidelines for you.
- Clean up, especially if the space was previously occupied by another employee. On the first day, linger after work for this purpose, if necessary. People eat lunch and sneeze and cough on your desk, and you better prevent contracting a viral infection during the second work week.
- If the workspace has been given to you in a mess, clean it all up.
- Wipe your desk with wet wipes. Wet wipes or a special detergent will come in handy. Don’t forget to clean your computer mouse, mousepad, computer keyboard, chair armrests and door handles – all of these things have often been touched by others.
- Gather or request all office and other supplies needed for work.
- As you go along, continue the process of organizing your belongings and materials. You will probably only understand how to name certain documents once you have begun to consistently carry out your duties.
Arm yourself with a personal computer, accounts, and set your passwords. The information technology or information systems department should be able to help you. Follow their advice and guidance. Don’t be lazy to ask for help to set up a printer, for example.
Set up voicemail and learn how to check messages you receive and send new ones. Set your password.
- Ask a lot of questions at first. Your coworkers will understand that you are settling into a new place and trying to actively fit into the work process.
- Set goals for yourself and formulate your objectives. Do this together with your supervisor. Perhaps you will figure out your responsibilities yourself, or he/she will tell you what needs to be done, though both are more likely to happen. Tasks may change as the work progresses, but it is important to get involved right away.
- Listen carefully to the instructions and advice that others will give you.
- Take notes. Take a notebook or a business calendar and be sure to write down information that comes in. When someone instructs you to go somewhere or meet someone, make a note of it. This will help you not to forget anything and will be an indication of your efforts.
- In your own words, retell the instructions you received. This will help ensure that you understand the task correctly and do not forget the instructions. Start like this: “To check. You want me to. “
Examine the building or other room in which you will be working. Where is the printer? Where is the restroom? Where is the fire exit? The cafeteria? If there is a detailed room map hanging in the building, take a good look at it.
Communicate with your supervisor . Even if it’s not your favorite thing to do, talking to your boss will help you see if you’re on the right track. Don’t forget that you can ask questions, provide reports (verbal or written) and ask for feedback and recommendations.
Hop in and get to work. If you’re having trouble or don’t really know where to start, just get to work. Guidance and advice can help, but the best way to figure out your new responsibilities is to get to work.