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 you might be super-nervous and having flashbacks of your first day at school, praying this time you won’t need a change of underwear. Whatever you’re feeling, here are some practical tips to help you successfully ease into your new job and thrive!
1) Know your role inside and out
When starting a new job, it is crucial you gain a clear understanding of your role and how it fits into the company. Sit with your 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. How does it help the company achieve its overall goals? Which departments and individuals will you be working closely with? Who depends on you? Who do you need to get to know? Understanding as much as you can about your new job will allow you to make 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 many meetings as you can. Learn about the different departments, what they do, how they work and interact with the other departments. Find out who’s who and what areas they cover. This will help you make a smooth and effective start in your new job.
3) What can you do for the company?
Going in with the attitude of “What can I do for the company?” and not “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 not be up for promotion any time soon. Go the extra mile, work outside the boundaries of your job description (with the permission of your boss) and focus on being a team player. You’ll get the thumbs up from all sides 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 a human being than the next person. Be respectful of everyone. Offer help where you can. Build relationships with everyone – from the doorman to the Managing Director. Make friends and build a support network. Trust me, you will need it. Knowing who you can to turn to for advice or information will help you deal with almost any situation work throws at you.
If someone treats you with disrespect, hold your head high, be the better person and still treat them with respect. Now I’m not saying you should bring them their favourite pumpkin-spiced soya latte every morning. Simply be civil and respectful. Over time, people will admire you for it.
5) Find someone to model or a mentor
Proximity is power. Who you spend time with is who you become. If you want to be successful, you need to hang around with successful people. People who have higher standards than yours.
If you used the interview opportunity correctly, you should have already picked a boss that will be a good mentor for you. However, if you end up with a distinctly average boss, or the boss you picked leaves, then look out for other inspirational and successful people in the company. The ones that truly support, motivate and encourage the growth and development of everyone in the company. Watch how they interact with others. How they treat people. How they motivate their teams. How they deal with conflict. How they problem-solve. Then model them. Really want to succeed? Take it a step 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 in my new job at a previous company, my boss hadn’t arrived yet so the CFO decided to brief me on my role. I was to support him and the CEO. He said if any of the other Directors tried to give me work, I was to push back. They would try to take advantage of me and I was not to let them use me. As he was the CFO, I trusted his judgement and I pushed back as advised. HUGE mistake. As it turned out, he had issues 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 a negative influence in the company.
As the Directors saw it, I had picked the wrong side. It took me about a year to fix some of those relationships. One actually never recovered at all. Work in the first year was very hard, and sometimes pretty lonely. So get your advice from multiple sources, especially from your actual boss.
7) Stay away from gossip
Gossiping is considered unprofessional, disrespectful and childish by most companies. People who gossip will unlikely make any progress up the corporate ladder. Remember, who you hang around with is who you become. Hang around with the gossipers and you too will stay at the bottom of the ladder. If someone approaches you with gossip, politely change the subject and make sure whatever they have told you ends with you.
8) Be fearless
Most of the time, it is not our abilities that hinder our success but our fear. Fear of failure and what that could mean. The fact is there 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 means is that something didn’t work and a change of strategy is required. Appreciate that life is just a series of experiences that we are meant to learn from. Take note of whatever feedback is given, learn the lesson and implement the appropriate change. It’s that simple. If you need help, ask for it. You are not God. You do not know it all. And you are not 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 our fears 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 time tackling problems of their own, let alone yours. Ease their pain by doing 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 the first 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 is better 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 your first day at work wearing a tiger costume. I mean introduce yourself to people. Get involved in as many projects as you can. Help people where you can. Express your ideas in meetings. Tell your boss what you achieved that day/week/month. Do this and you will quickly be noticed as a potential talent. The flip-side of this, of course, is people will be more likely to see you “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 to quickly 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 see yourself as one too.
11) Avoid burn out!
I’ve seen it many times. People are so focused on making a great first impression in their new job they forget to look after themselves. They work all hours of the day, don’t sleep or rest, live off caffeine and sugar for energy, don’t exercise and then after 3 months they burn out. They are so exhausted that even a $5000 cheque wouldn’t get them out of bed. This is not good. Not only will you feel ill but your boss and other leaders in the company will start to question why 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 in your new job, but in life too.
For further information on how to take your career to the next level, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.