Surviving The First Weeks Of Employment

Being the new kid on the block is both exciting and nerve-wracking. You are entering an unfamiliar territory filled with new opportunities, but also riddled with pitfalls for those who are unprepared. Whether you are someone just moving to a new company or a fresh graduate landing his first job, surviving the first weeks of employment is a chore.

Here are a few tips on surviving your first few weeks in your new job:

1. Understand the company. Understanding the company entails familiarizing yourself with the products and/ or services it provides, regardless of your role in the company — whether you are someone working directly with the products in your operation, or someone far behind the scenes from finance. You are now a representative of the company wherever you go and you must always know how to explain what your office does. In knowing the company, you also get to identify how your tasks contribute to the operations in your office.

2. Wear your friendliest smile. I understand that making friends in an unfamiliar environment is challenging, especially for introverts who are used to working by themselves. However, consider making friends as a requirement if you want to have a smooth entry as a new employee. Get to know at least your colleagues working nearest to you.

It is also a good idea to prepare to repetitively introduce yourself to different people. I knew some people who even memorized their introductions to save them from the trouble of having to think of things you want to say about yourself constantly. Just be sure to introduce yourself normally, like a friendly person would do, and not like a pompous employee touting all his achievements since high school.

3. Get to know the establishments near your building. If you are new to the place of your company, getting to know your surroundings is always a good idea. Remembering where the closest convenience stores are, as well as drugstores is a must. In cities where there are bus stops, get to know which bus stops where so you don’t get lost. If getting to the nearest restaurant takes a lot of time, then perhaps you can buy your lunch on the way to your office in the morning, or you can prepare it yourself.

Knowing your surroundings will not affect your performance in the office, but it surely will save you time in performing your personal matters in the middle of the day.

4. Learn the company policies. Getting a new job is like getting a gadget that you are unfamiliar with. You can pretty much wing it and try to figure things out along the way, encountering some errors, and discovering what you can and can’t do with it, or you can be the boring and read the manual. However, the difference here is in getting a new gadget, you can reset it if you make a mistake, or reformat it in the worst case, but in getting a new job, making a mistake can be detrimental to your career. The company manual is there to guide everyone what they can, should, and can’t do in the performance of their tasks.

Knowing also the small things such as where you are allowed to drink your coffee, or how much you can decorate your workspace (or even just your desktop wallpaper). Even though you are a new employee, make sure that you do not violate company policies. Never use your ignorance of these policies as excuse, as it is your job to inquire about and follow them.

5. Be willing to try new things. A new job is not just a new opportunity for professional growth, but also for personal growth. You will meet new people, be subject to new set of rules, new leadership style, and perhaps even a new working schedule. Be adventurous enough to accept and adapt to them. By trying out new things, you not only get to meet other people, but also learn about yourself and discover new things that you never knew you would like. It might not hurt if you join your colleagues in their lunch out even for just a few times. If the budget can accommodate it, then why not join them regularly? Be willing to try new things just as how you were willing to immerse yourself in your new job.

It is true that, unfairly or not, first impressions last. Your reputation is quickly established which may determine whether management puts you in the fast track or in a dead-end job. While people are willing to grant a certain amount of forgiveness for newbies, this leniency is often short-lived. Knowing this, it is all the more important to know the right moves if you are just starting out in a company.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin, C-4, Sunday, May 7, 2017. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.