Before I launched Resume Deli I’d always found the first few weeks/months at a new job to be stress-free. I know that’s not every new employee’s experience but I figured, how much could I possibly screw up in the first few weeks? So long as I paid close attention, behaved professionally and gave 100%, I could only do more good than harm. In most new job settings, expectations tend only to grow as time progresses. The first few weeks are supposed to allow a greenhorn some free time to smooth out the knots.
Yet, in the most competitive companies and environments, expectations are that you start off racing out of the gate. Mind you, that’s racing. Not trampling.
Here’s five ways to rev your engine early on while also earning the respect of peers, managers and execs:
- Don’t be a hero. Yes, you and your fresh pair of eyes may be able to see inconsistent habits and quixotic strategies more readily than those more entrenched in the organization. But try to restrain yourself, at least at the beginning. Don’t point out or attempt to solve all of the organizational glitches at once. You may think that’s proving your value, but as a team member you’re more likely to find yourself stepping on several sets of proud toes. You should first try to ask more questions and do more listening before you start spewing your five-point design to revitalize the company.
- Don’t take on a range of responsibilities that clearly are not yours. Don’t come in super-early or stay super-late during the first few weeks. This will only prove a sure-fire way to make your colleagues (and maybe even your boss) look lazy, bad or stupid.
- Do what you say you will do. Honor your commitments, meet your deadlines and give it your all—particularly when your work impacts the work and reputation of others.
- Give credit, but not in a patronizing way. If you are congratulated for a job well done, say thank you, but then point out the others who may have contributed to the success of the project or task—and do it in a way that’s honest and courteous.
- Try to participate in some non-work-related activities. Does your company hold a holiday party? Is there a group volunteering at a shelter over the weekend? Going bowling after work? You don’t have to do everything, but try to do something that shows your support (particularly if your boss or a company exec is behind the activity.)
Remember that you’re working with others and that (to the best of your knowledge) you’re on a team of like-minded players all out to attain the same goal. Your associates certainly want you to feel comfortable amongst them, so you should reciprocate their camaraderie. Don’t try to be a robot or a hero. Be a good co-worker, instead.