Hands have been shaken on your job offer (most likely by email) and arrangements have been set. Now it’s time for the job to begin. Perhaps you feel yourself transported back to the first day of elementary school as you put on your smartest work clothes and head off into the unknown. But whatever you’re feeling, there are a number of things you can do to set yourself up for success during your first few weeks at your new firm. Let’s consider this key initial period.
Jun 16, 2020
Introduce yourself to everyone
Your life is going to be much more comfortable at your new firm if you know who everyone is – both by helping your work to go smoothly, and in making your day-to-day living easier. And now is the time to make those introductions. In the first couple of weeks, you’re ‘the new person’ and introducing yourself is completely expected and viewed as a friendly gesture. Don’t allow the moment to pass without having put names to as many faces as possible across the organization.
Get to know your own team
As well as introducing yourself across the firm, get to know your team in-depth. You won’t be heavily judged on your work output during your first few weeks, so take advantage of this by taking some time to chat to your colleagues, go for lunch, or doing whatever you need to do to integrate into the team.
It’s worth remembering that not every firm has a particularly friendly or sociable culture – but that doesn’t mean you should simply fall straight into those patterns. I remember starting a new job and being disconcerted to find that people there didn’t say hello or goodbye to each other – in the morning they arrived at their desk, logged on and started working, and then at the end of the day they simply got up and left. In such circumstances, it’s easy to feel weird being the only one saying a cheery “Hi”. But people are likely to appreciate it and were probably subconsciously waiting for someone else to change the atmosphere.
In other words, don’t be intimidated by any less-than-friendly vibes – stick to your own path and stay upbeat, and others will likely join you.
Ask a lot of questions
Now is the time for you to be absorbing as much information as possible about your new firm and role. During your first weeks, it’s completely reasonable that you don’t know how things are run. But if you don’t ask about that issue that’s confusing you now, then it’ll be much harder further down the road. You might feel silly asking in a few months’ time as you’ll be giving away that you didn’t know what to do throughout that whole period. Essentially, the earlier you resolve problems by addressing them, the better.
Value your fresh perspective
Coming to a new company is a good time to see what you can learn from what it does well, but also what it does badly. Perhaps the practices, technology, and processes you’re used to are much more efficient.
Of course, your first day on the job might not be the perfect time to denounce everything about your new employer. But take a mental note of your experiences. After a considerable time in a place, we naturally start absorbing the behavior of those around us, and it’s easy to slip into the same habits that troubled you at first. Don’t allow that to happen, and remember that one of the advantages to the firm of recruiting new staff is to receive their fresh perspective. Your external viewpoint is likely to be valued.
Being new doesn’t last forever – soon you’ll be one of the old hands. Make the most of your first few weeks in the job, and in no time you’ll be ready to shake the hand of some fresh-faced rookie waiting in reception on their own first day. At the very least, you’ll be able to tell them you know how they feel!