The First Few Months of a New Job

Starting a new job can be stressful and you may begin to doubt yourself. Did I make the right move? Will my co-workers like me? Do I have the skills? How will I fit?

But a move to a new job does not have to be filled with apprehension. Here are a few things that will help you make a smooth job change.

1. Ask for regular feedback from your boss. Find out how you’re doing and ask for suggestions on how you can improve. You will be better off if you deal with problems early before they become a (bad) habit.

2. Introduce yourself to everybody. And learn your co-workers’ names quickly. If you’ve forgotten someone’s name, simply say, “I’m sorry but I’ve forgotten your name.”

3. Learn the behavioural norms of the office. You are the one who is expected to conform to these behaviours, not the other way around. Most workplaces have a number of unwritten rules like: If you take the last cup of coffee, make a fresh pot. Don’t take other people’s food from the fridge. And if you caused the paper jam in the printer, fix it.

4. Come to work early, stay late, and don’t call in sick. It’s important to demonstrate good work ethic and that you are not a “clock watcher.”

5. Ask good questions and listen more than you talk. Adopt an attitude that you know almost nothing even if you were brought in to make a change. And ask for help when you need it. You are not expected to know everything from the start. If you don’t understand instructions from your boss, ask for clarification.

6. Think about how you dress. This might be a good time to revamp your wardrobe so you dress according to the company norm.

7. Sort out the office politics. But don’t align yourself with any one group. Instead stay above the fray and build your own social network by associating with many groups and networks across the entire organization. You can build these relationships by inviting your co-workers to lunch or coffee to find out about their jobs and get to know them personally.

8. Don’t give unsolicited advice. Remember, at this point, you are the new kid on the block. A little humility goes a long way. If they want your advice, they will ask for it. And while you’re at it, avoid comparing your old employer to your new one. This never goes over well.

9. Don’t boast about your background or past accomplishments. It was fine to do this in the interview – that’s what you should do. But your co-workers will not be impressed. Don’t start this relationship off on a bad foot.

10. Be respectful of the person you are replacing. Regardless of why the previous person left (fired, retired, quit), you should never speak unkindly about that person, nor let others around you do so.